Union Deli

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Knowing one’s weakness is the key to gain victory. That is the absolute rule of war… and restaurant business.

Union has been strolling around everyone’s face in the culinary business by claiming the crown for best bakery in Jakarta; the jewel is undoubtedly their glorious Red Velvet Cake. However, they still fall behind to the likes of Collete and Lola in terms of money-making. Why? The reason is simple; they don’t have enough stores.

Union had 2 notable spaces and the most famous out of the two is located in Central Jakarta, in a mall called Plaza Senayan (the other one is in most western part of the city, which no one really cares). A great place to meet expatriates, desperate rich housewives who are looking for fun with their frenemies, and a bunch of teens seeking the next hip place to hang out (I shamelessly get into this third category). Still, it is not the best place to sell cakes.

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Sumoboo

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Sumo Boo is exploding like a small sized nuke these past few months. I don’t know whether its because shaved ice based dessert is so popular these days or Sumo Boo’s signature dog shaped ice cream that’s just so Instagram worthy. Whatever it is, the line outside its newly opened cafe in Taman Anggrek Mall is simply crazy, noisy, and very sensitive. A timid looking waitress is trying to calm the costumers in a futile effort while kids running around with their nannies attracting several raised eyebrows.

I squeeze into the line and say my name out loud to the waitress, she looks down and politely say I need to wait for a few minutes. When I ask her how many people left before my turn, she looks up apologizingly and says nine more people. Nine! I brace myself for 30 boring minutes staring at lucky people in their small seats enjoying shaved ice and something like a hotdog.

Fortunately, my stare strategy works. People quickly come and go, acknowledging the impatient line waiting for their seats like a bunch of hungry ogres in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. Before I know it, the waitress calls my name in panic and point at small seat near the entrance. Not the best seat in the house, but this is not the right time to complain about anything. 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