Bakerzin Revisited

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A few months ago I came to Bakerzin to taste their infamous macaroons. While I did have a great time in there, one slice of plain strawberry cake at the end of the meal kind of ruined the whole experience. That’s not a reason for me not to come back though, especially with my sister paying this time.

Sunday might not the best time to have a brunch since all of the good tables were already taken, but we managed to score a seat right beside the window, which means better Instagram pictures for me. Our waiters were the same cheerful man that instantly offered us real menu books this time. I will stop here and give a quick compliment to whoever designed Bakerzin’s menu books. Good job, man! Everything is in the right place with the right font and beautiful photos, without being overly decorative to the level of chaotic collages of ice creams and steaks. Kitchenette needs to learn a thing or two from Bakerzin in this particular area.

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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

Koultoura

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I just heard crazy rumour that Apple spends zero amounts for advertising. It looks like good management people from the company sends free stuffs to production houses to use in their movies as much as they need. Hmm, zero budget, huh? That reminds me of one cafe that does the exact thing; Koultoura, a relatively new trendy cafe in West Jakarta area.

Unlike other restaurants or cafe, which try to attract attention by giant opening parties and strange promos, Koultoura simply takes over the Instagram and start posting delicious pictures of Italian pasta, green tea latte, and Chicken Gordon Blue. You know how many likes you can get with #foodporn. Just a few months after that, the cafe becomes huge. People come and go taking pictures like crazy and join their photo competition in order to get free cappuccino. Famous food bloggers giving reviews for Koultoura (mostly positive, though I have read some bitter experiences). In short, the cafe owes its delirium success to Instagram. Zero advertising budgets!

However, along with those new-found popularities, huge responsibility also handed to Koultoura. Now, people critically observe the foods, the atmosphere, and the service. Every single thing is an issue. The pressure is higher than ever, just like Apple. The question is; can Koultoura lives up to our expectations? Like usual, I come down there with a few friends myself to find the answer. Continue reading

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

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