Sushi Tei

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After having lunch in Washoku Sato, which is hardly an uplifting experience, I am starting to wonder about traditional sushi, the one with simplicity, elegance, and technique. Instead of random mayo and scattered grilled salmon. At the same time, I also begin to realize that it is really hard to find traditional sushi in Jakarta, Indonesia. The city is filled with Western-Japanese fusion restaurants that look (and taste) awesome, but can’t hold a candle against real sushi. Lowering my expectation a bit, I come to Sushi Tei.

Sushi Tei is probably the most popular or affordable, high-sushi-restaurant in town. Combining great service (unlike Union), fusion Japanese-Western menu, and classic conveyor belt sushi bar, Sushi Tei instantly steals my heart and becomes one of my most favorite Japanese restaurants. What I love most about Sushi Tei is their abilities to add just a little western touch to their traditional Japanese sushi and create a lovely balance from those two, a task that looks simple, but proves too hard for other so-called fusion restaurants.

Stepping into the restaurant during lunch break means having your name written in their never-ending waiting list. Fortunately, my sister and I are able to score two seats right at the end of the ‘bar’. We quickly decide not to order from their two gigantic elegant menus (one for dessert) and just take everything we need from the bar. Our waitress just smiles and nods her head in understanding. Continue reading

Union

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I remember vividly how crazy people become when someone mentioned ‘red velvet’ two years ago. Yes, the cake used to be a symbol of Jakarta’s trendiness, urbanism, and exotic unexplainable taste (back then cream cheese was just a strange material to use).

Among many cafes that offered red velvet, Union rose above them easily and claimed the title of ‘Best Red Velvet in Town’. And it’s not an empty talk; they indeed have the best red velvet in town. Their cakes are wonderfully made with delicious cream cheese, bitter rum and crunchy sweet peanuts. It’s just one of the most wonderful red velvets I’ve ever eaten.

Now, I am sitting in this small wooden table with my friends, staring at this poor white paper, as tablecloth and wondering where the hell are those good memories? Continue reading

Washoku Sato

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In order to be successful a restaurant needs to have two aspects; a good place (means location) and a good food. Usually, there is only one dominant aspect between the two, but that’s more than enough to create enough hype for a short period of time and figure something out. Washoku Sato doesn’t have any of those.

Located inside Central Park Mall in West Jakarta, right besides one of the hippest bakeries in town, Tous Les Jours. Washoku has to suffer being ignored by hungry bakery lovers and deal with bad lighting and fake sakura (cherry blossom) tree. To make things even worse, Sushi Tei is right one level below the restaurant, creating perfect disguise and even more ignorance from customers.

To be honest, I didn’t realize Washoku exists either, I usually walk right to Starbucks or Tous Les Jours or it’s eternal nemesis, Sushi Tei. Today, I am suddenly feeling awkward force forcing me to turn around and face giant transparent kitchen with chefs hanging out and cutting sushi. My curiosity is taking over me and before I know it, my sister and I are already sitting with giant menu books in our hands. Continue reading

Pizza é Birra

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I dreamed about eating a huge plate of pizza last night. It tasted like Pizza Margherita with bold red tomato sauce as base, melting buffalo cheese (!) and some kind of olive leaves, but  they tasted really fresh, sweet, and kinda like meat instead of leaves for some strange reasons. The dough was sticky, crispy, thin, chewy, gummy, and danced in my mouth like crazy Vegas showgirls. I woke up in my bed literally panting for relieve. That’s why I abandon my food schedule and show up in front of Pizza é Birra, one of the hippest pizzerias in the city.

É Birra has been sparking controversies among food writers, bloggers, and even basic food lovers. Some call it a ‘total disappointment’, both in presentation and taste (my sister is one of them). Others claim é Birra has given a tad of fresh air in boring Indonesia’s pizza world, which is dominated by two giant franchises; Pizza Hut and Dominos. I, for one, don’t give a single shit and keep on daydreaming about thin chewy dough and buffalo cheese. 

Calling é Birra beautiful is an understatement, the restaurant is a pure definition of modern urban interior. Standing proudly in the middle of giant fish pond in form of white modern gazebo, é Birra craves for anyone’s attention. Half of the gazebo is used for Kitchennete, a spanish-western-asian fusion restaurant specializing in dessert bar (we are going to talk about  that later). Even though relying on outdoor beauty, é Birra also provides indoor section with crazy flag decoration from all over the world, World Cup screening in flat screen TV, and warm romantic lights.  Continue reading

Bakerzin

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A few years ago, some 5 stars hotels introduced ‘high-tea tradition’ to Indonesia. In an instance, the new trend become viral. People want to taste, enjoy, and become a part of this high-tea tradition. Now, not only hotels, restaurants and cafes finally join the crowd and present their own versions of high tea time. Sometimes, it’s a hit. Most of the time, it’s a total miss for me.

I like to think that high-tea is an upgrade, more expensive version of regular tea-time. And just like regular tea-time, the quality of the cakes are only good when the tea is on par. More like a balance between the soothing, almost bitter aroma of the tea with the sweetness of the cakes. Most of those restaurants fail in delivering this balance, which results in messy pile of expensive hyper-sweet cakes and super-bitter tea.

Bakerzin surprisingly exceeds my expectations and deliver not only good tea and cakes, but also service, ambience, and price. Originated from Singapore, Bakerzin makes it’s own fortune by selling highly recommended shortcake and macaroons. Just like Nanny’s Pavillon, it begins to add some heavy foods, from pasta to grilled chickens, on it’s menu with carefulness and high quality controls. In short amount of time Bakerzin has been exceeding its competitors easily and gaining more fans all over the city. Knowing this fact, I happily stroll into one of it’s cozy cafes with my friend.  Continue reading

Nanny’s Pavillon

When you are not in a good mood, one thing that you should do is go to Nanny’s Pavillon and order their special blueberry cheese pancake with soothing cream cheese, crushed blueberries and thick rolled pancakes. But, being in a good mood after seeing Maleficent on the theater, I am willing to try something out of the pancake-box and order their relatively new menus, which are unsurprisingly not nearly as good as their pancakes.

Nanny’s has been around for years now, serving good pancakes and notable desserts. A few months ago, they decided to expand Nanny’s menu with some classic Italian dishes including baked rice, lasagna, grilled salmons and of course new selection of pancakes. It’s only natural for a franchise to gain as much profit as they can, while they’re still on the game. But Nanny’s needs to evaluate wether they’re capable of delivering the dishes or not. 

I start my lunch with Nanny’s new Salmon Baked Rice after seeing a guy with his two daughters at the next table ordering the same thing and they truly look satisfied with it. My sister on the other hand, choose to follow her heart and order Hubert Salmon Paquet.  Continue reading