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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Semarang Part 1

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I can’t believe I am sitting in The Tavern, part-bar part-restaurant and ultimately exclusive during New Year’s week in Semarang. Yes, Semarang, one of the sleepiest cities in Indonesia and possibly the world. Semarang’s popularity has faded into quick stop for backpacker heading to Jogjakarta, widely popular for Borobudur temple, and another relaxing spot for truck drivers carrying fresh fruits to Jakarta. Unlike Bandung with its trendy cafes and Paris van Java reputation, Semarang doesn’t have that kind of popularity or charms.

Yet here I am, sipping down my light beer while watching the city lights up with amazing sunset and Merbabu (or Merapi?) mountains as background, my brother (who is a college student and real Semarang-ster) asks for Carbonara Pizza and another round of lemon-infused beers. A single thought come up in my mind; maybe Semarang is not that bad!

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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

Quick Review – Popolamama

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As holiday season is approaching its undeniable ending, hanging out together with my friends proved to be more difficult than usual. I have to accept that I am going to have a solo lunch today at this new restaurant called Popolamama. What a shame, I know. To my surprise, not many people have heard about this new Japanese Italian fusion restaurant before. Opening up first in Grand Indonesia, Central Jakarta, Popolamama quickly gained some of the city’s most influential food writers attention and in the blink of an eye, it has opened another branch in West Jakarta, which is also the one I visit for my first ever solo lunch. A risky yet brave business move… 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

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