All posts by Rian Farisa

Rian Farisa stars himself in a flick about how a culinary correspondent living a life full of adventures as if he will live forever. At the end of the day, he lives to retell the chronicles of his swashbuckling daring gastronomic adventures like a bard singing his tales of beautiful faraway lands. Since gastronomy consists of complex aspects and that is where his passion lies, he decided to unravel how businessmen, hawkers and luxurious restaurants alike, serve their dishes for the patrons. Whether they only serve for the advantages in taste or only the surroundings or whether they really throw anything for the sake of customer's satisfaction, he shall be solely the only one who can tell and in the name of this noble profession, justice shall be done!
Shangri-La Jakarta - High Tea Time 1

Classic High Tea Time at Shangri-La Jakarta

ONGOING. Promotion started from March 2014.
Available only from 3pm – 5pm
Price: IDR 185,000/set

Lobby Lounge, Shangri-La Hotel Jakarta
Jalan Jend. Sudirman Kav. 1, Jakarta – Indonesia


It appears that the trend of enjoying high tea time like the nobility of old have been going on for several years now in Indonesia but many may haven’t found the art or the excitement of enjoying it.

However that’s not the case when you’re in the Lobby Lounge of Shangri-La Jakarta. My time of enjoying it was during a quiet weekend where I ultimately found serenity upon the usually-busy halls of the hotel. It was a bright afternoon and through the enormous windows, one can witness the sublime greenery from the poolside and the hotel’s garden.

Shangri-La Jakarta - High Tea Time 3

While at that, a tower of delicacies from savory to sweet, accompanied the iced coffee float that I chose and my wife’s cup of tea. I may have to admit that tea time for me may not be something that’s too strict and with me wearing the formal attire, but I love taking it casually and over pleasantries between friends or families.

That is also why Shangri-La Jakarta specifically promotes a set menu that completes the needs of any of its Lobby Lounge visitors. The set consists of finger food of different elements from cold, hot, and sweet. I particularly enjoyed lemongrass marinated chicken lollies, the tempura, and the sublime scones with cream and marmalade.

Shangri-La Jakarta - High Tea Time 2

I will not dare to say that the rest was not equally good but all of them was, as a matter of fact! Let’s see, well, there was the chocolate layered cake, crème brulee, dill & yuzu marinated prawns, beef and enoki teriyaki rolls, and even I love the mini burgers made from filet mignon.

For a price IDR 185,000++ per set, it was a really worth-it experience. It’s practically great for two and do please complement such excellence with good drinks, and as I said earlier, experience it upon a comfy sofa overlooking the garden view of the hotel on one fine sunny afternoon.

To tell you the truth, that is an experience that I want to emulate as well back home, but if only I can have the scones and the tea from Shangri-La Jakarta for that. Oh well…

Cold Mezzeh

Authentic Lebanese Fare at Mandarin Oriental Jakarta

Promotion lasts only for 14-19 April 2014
Cinnamon, Mandarin Oriental Jakarta
Jalan M.H. Thamrin, Jakarta – Indonesia


Levantine cuisine has always been the only one thing that intrigues me most when it comes to Middle Eastern fares. I believe that the region is a melting pot between the Arabian and Turkish cuisines and one of the representation of that came from Lebanon, naturally.

Mandarin Oriental Jakarta, for the second time, promotes the specific Lebanese cuisine led by a native chef who happens to be the CDC of Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, Mr Raymond Abou Rjeily.

Chef Raymond Abou Rjeily
Chef Raymond Abou Rjeily

For me personally, this is a Ramadhan festivity that came a bit earlier this year and I am grateful for it. Not only that I finally managed to explore one new uncharted territory, but to also completely sample all the dishes available that day.

When it comes to Lebanese cuisine, one can see so many influences there like the mezzeh from the core of Middle Eastern countries cuisine, the sweet desserts of Turkish, the authentic Levantine hummus, and even the lemon chicken as influenced by North African’s tajine.

Pita bread and cold mezzeh
Pita bread and cold mezzeh

Of course, the cold mezzeh (cold appetizers), or some say meze, comes first. Chef Raymond served us three types of bread – the plain pita, one with cheese, and one with the herbs. All the five kinds of mezzeh suited my appetite for my lunch that day.

I particularly enjoyed so much Chef Raymond’s interpretation of baba ghanoush that adds fresh pomegranates into it to make it even more delicious and crunchy in texture!

Four other mezzehs are the safsouf (couscous and chickpea salad), labneh bil khear (dry yogurt), hummus, and shamandar mahrous (beetroot puree). Additionally, Chef Raymond also prepares fatoush salad and shawarma stations – all fresh and intriguing!

Arabic rice, couscous, and skewers
Arabic rice, couscous, and skewers

The main dishes are not to be missed as well, especially with so many options of chicken and lamb skewers like shish tawouk (chicken breast marinated with garlic and cumin), kafta antabli (grilled minced lamb skewer), and the kebab. Top that on an Arabic rice filled with peanuts like walnut, pine nuts, pistachio, and almond. Sublime!

When compared with other southern countries, Lebanese cuisine provides milder taste but still, it uses a wide range of spices and ingredients. However, it matches a lot the Turkish way when it comes to sweet desserts.

Chicken shawarma
Chicken shawarma

Traditional desserts like umm ali (Middle Eastern-style of bread and butter pudding) and baklava are among the best you can try. I can actually bear with the sweetness now or was Chef Raymond reduce it a bit? I couldn’t care less but it was really nice after all!

So, be sure to catch up with the promotion as it will only lasts until 19th of April. Chart the Lebanon into your culinary map like I did, guys!

What Chef Eats: Michael Whyag (The Foodie Magazine, Mar 2014)

Others may choose expensive restaurants or decadent desserts as their guilty pleasures, but for Michael Whyag – a self-made chef with hotel and restaurant background, it’s all about a simple treat his mom made for him many years ago.

Michael Whyag
Michael Whyag

As somebody who finally realized the joy of cooking not from a young age, Michael Whyag became a student of many cuisines from local to Russian, especially during his hotel days back in Bali. Since making the most of his time with studying has always been his strong suit, his relatively short trip to France was made worthwhile by taking several short courses at Le Cordon Bleu.

As much as he admired how the French pride themselves with details and standardization of the cuisine, he bursts passionately with colorful details when he talks about Indonesian cuisine. Clearly, his love for local cuisine is what that energizes him, especially with current role as general manager and chef for a reputable Indonesian restaurant in a well-known Jakarta shopping mall.

Even though he has studied different cuisines and even the gastronomic aspects that circle around food in general, it all goes back to basics if you ask Chef Michael about his guilty pleasures. We found out that Mike is a big fan of anything related to tofu!

“I have been a picky eater even since I was a kid and my mom decided to cook me mashed tofu for some reason. Since then, it has become a life long love affair with tofu,” he confessed.

That night, he treated himself after a hard day’s work with an easy treat of sauteed tofu and bean sprouts with slices of tomatoes and plenty of chilies. This particular dish itself is a traditional recipe that goes well with warm rice and is something that you can find in many homes and warteg (Indonesian-style diner) across the country.

“So, name anything you can do with tofu and I will surely eat it,” said Mike challengingly. So, despite his demanding daily schedule involving how to manage the restaurant well and his current project to renew the menu, apparently there’s always a time out for a quick bite of his personal indulgence.


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE March 2014 edition

Download it for free here:

Photos by: Dennie Benedict

Fresco - Restaurant

Quikskoop™: Fresco

Despite the rainy season, you cannot ask for a better afternoon to spend at Fresco by the iconic poolside of Hilton Bandung. That was the excitement I enjoyed so much during my weekend stay there. Lunch was the perfect time to enjoy both the blue skies of Bandung and the relaxed atmosphere there.

Then the rain came and the tranquil pool starts to make the familiar sound we often hear as the rain drops falls down on it. It was a sublime moment of ease but since I’m in a feisty mood on the contrary, all I need next is simply a great food and great company. Truthfully, we had both of it abundantly that day.

Fresco - Pool

Lately Bandung may not feel as cool as it was decades ago but still, its charm dazzles people from around the world and my Jakartans friends there.  So over cold drinks on this rainy season, I chose a plate filled with wonderful grilled Australian wagyu with sauteed spring vegetables with dauphinoise potato and mind you that despite a strong French persona found on this dish, I chose the traditional black pepper sauce to accompany it since the sauce has always been my personal indulgence.

Fresco - Drinks

My friends feasted over other wonderful choices such as the spaghetti alle vongole, king prawn linguine, pepperoni pizza, risotto arborio, and the surprisingly delicious pan seared sea bass with baby bok choy and clam chowder as the only Asian representative there.

Grilled Australian wagyu and spring vegetables with dauphinoise potato
Grilled Australian wagyu and spring vegetables with dauphinoise potato

My steak was thoroughly enjoyable and somehow reminded me with the previous pindang iga I had enjoyed a day before, right inside the kitchen of Hilton. After all, I am practically an avid meat eater and within the past few months I cannot resist the temptations of steak, partly perhaps because of all those beef articles I wrote for Foodie back in March issue.

Cheese cake fritters with vanilla ice cream and banana flambe
Cheese cake fritters with vanilla ice cream and banana flambe

The dessert was also splendid as I indulged my ‘cheesy’ tooth with Fresco’s cheese cake fritters served with vanilla ice cream and banana flambe. The rest of the gang served themselves with a good looking tiramisu and the indisputably delectable chocolate fondant. As much as I want the fondant again after a successful dessert back at the kitchen on the previous day, I decided to try something new and it did work well suitably to my liking.

Fresco - Kitchen

We had been treated well. Period. The hospitality and the food brought the best of our good time there but parting time has always been tough. Although that in truth I never had enough with Bandung and its charms, it’s time to leave for Jakarta again but Fresco gave the last memorable to touch to make it easier for me leaving this beautiful city behind.


Some menu are suitable for vegetarians

Hilton Bandung, Jalan HOS Cokroaminoto no. 41-43, Bandung - Indonesia

Opening hours:
Everyday, 5 pm – 10 pm (Mon-Thu), 5 pm – 12 am (Fri), 10 am – 12 am (Sat), 10 am – 10 pm (Sun)

RSVP: +62.21.8606.8888


Facebook: Hilton Bandung

Twitter: @HiltonBandung

Spend: IDR 150,000 – IDR 300,000 / person

The Foodie Magazine - Sana Sini 2

Foodie’s List: Sana Sini Restaurant (The Foodie Magazine, Mar 2014)

After an exhaustive renovation, the Pullman Jakarta Indonesia has unveiled their all-day dining restaurant and has plenty of pleasant surprises behind the new design. Care to travel inside with us?

You will marvel upon seeing the new Sana Sini Restaurant of Pullman Jakarta Indonesia for the first time. Part of an extensive renovation the hotel undertook two years ago, including all of the public spaces, guest rooms and ballroom. The hotel lobby itself is presented and has plenty of attractions around it such as Le Chocolat chocolate lounge and Kemixtri Gastro Bar. All of that is complemented by an all-day dining restaurant tucked in the corner with an intriguing vibe that draws the attention of its patrons.

I was actually wondering why at first the hotel did not plan to specialty restaurant like many hotels around, but instead the hotel opted to combine four micro restaurants that serve Indonesian, Mediterranean, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines inside a single entity and that’s why the name Sana Sini came up perfectly.

The Foodie Magazine - Sana Sini 3

Sana Sini means ‘Here and There’ and that’s actually the mission set for anybody who comes into this restaurant. Patrons, I believe, will enjoy their time here walking around the world in search for good food and Sana Sini has so many surprises. The four micro restaurants are all represented with open kitchens and each is elaborately designed with unique distinctions even to the point where the seating areas and plates are also custom designed.

The open kitchen concept is also adopted by Sana Sini and applied to all the micro restaurants there. Occasionally you will stumble upon the chefs of each turf preparing the dishes and are open for any kind of request from the customers. Quoting Stephane Duguet Lesvignes, the Director of F&B of Pullman Jakarta Indonesia, ‘With people watching, it becomes a constant reminder for the chefs to keep up the high standard.’

The Foodie Magazine - Sana Sini 1

The establishment has been well known for its Japanese heritage for generations and Philippe Le Bourhis as the General Manager of the hotel confidently assured that the legacy lives on and that Japanese cuisine becomes the pride at Sana Sini Restaurant also. With a modern touch, the Japanese section becomes attractive with colors from rich sushi rolls and the traditional sashimi selections.

The Foodie Magazine - Sana Sini 5

In the Chinese section, I was particularly in awe with the quality of both the roast duck and the char siu chicken, each in harmony with the sweet hoi sin sauce. While in the Mediterranean area, I witnessed so many delightful choices that everyone would be tempted to do several rounds here.

The Foodie Magazine - Sana Sini 4

Ultimately, one must not miss the satays from the Indonesian counter and selection of sambal to complement the rice dish that you can assemble personally there. Afterwards, head to the dessert section for the homemade ice cream and cakes presented in front of an open bakery or perhaps just the assortment of cheeses with dried fruits, if you are in a Continental mood.

Sana Sini was designed with full deliberation on every angle and successfully created a restaurant with an open atmosphere but also provided some privacy for the customers who need it. The restaurant has several semi-private parts with intimate booths and sofas within a warm and stylish environment. In the end, it’s an intricate design that successfully marries the needs of customers alongside a myriad of dishes available all day. Thus, to travel around the world at Sana Sini becomes a must-try for simply everyone.


Halal-friendly (to confirm)
Suitable for vegetarians

Pullman Jakarta Indonesia, Jalan M.H. Thamrin 59, Jakarta – Indonesia
Telp: +62.21.3192.1111

Sana Sini Pullman
Twitter: @SanaSiniPullman

Opening hours: Everyday, all-day dining


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE March 2014 edition

Download it for free here:

Photos by: Dennie Benedict