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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Kitchenette

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Christmas is right around the corner and it is no surprise my friends and I decided to celebrate it a little bit earlier with nice dinner at Kitchenette. Located in the middle of giant artificial park complete with small pond to give the restaurant a Zen-like atmosphere, Kitchenette is just fabulous. It is a perfect Gourmet restaurant for youngsters. The atmosphere is chic without overused acoustic music or overly loud electro beats that are just too much, even for 18-year-old smartphone-wielding group of teens.

I instantly fall in love with crystal clear rooftops with plastic plants hanging around, providing good lighting for my Instagram feed or/and my blog. It can be a little bit hot during the day though, so be careful with timing. The back of the restaurant is not bad, even though its quite gloomy with small yellowish lamps as the only source of lighting and 3 giant window panes providing good, but limited, natural lighting.

After deciding where we want to seat (at the back of the restaurant, near the kitchen), the staffs hand us three pieces of brown cartons which turn out to be menu ‘books’. Each carton has elegant typography describing Kitchenette’s signature dishes, but they show no clear pictures whatsoever. We end up stumbling around, trying to guess what the dish looks like. Even though it is not a really big deal, it can be quite annoying sometimes. I think it is time to change into a real menu books, Kitchenette!

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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

Jun Njan

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I can summarize Jakarta’s culinary landscape in two words: Western and Cafe. In the past few years, Jakarta has become the new home for international coffee outlets, brewing tons of caffeine and dominating local magazines with their newest creations. Along with the rise of coffee makers, Western foods are also slowly gaining back their popularities. Mostly because they offer not only glorious melting cheese and smoking beef pastries, but also trendy places with plenty of natural lightings for selfie lovers.

The competition is getting harder day-by-day, and it seems the favor is not in authentic traditional family restaurant like Jun Njan. Jun Njan is more than an old player in Jakarta’s culinary world. Established in 1950s, the restaurant has been serving seafood dishes with classic Chinese touches for at least two generations. Unfortunately, just like many other historical restaurant, it suffers from globalization and trend changes. Though local customers are still ready to order at any time, the younger ones go right across the street ordering coffee to go and beef lasagna. The question that lingers in everyone’s head is; is there really no place at all for restaurants like Jun Njan? 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