Kahvehane: Bakoel Koffie

While the research continues, I’ve been spending more than a year visiting local delights in Jakarta. Of course I never missed the opportunity to try new coffee bars. One of those opportunities was this Bakoel Koffie. They have opened several branches around Jakarta. Two of the branches I visited were the one in Cikini and this one in Senopati.

The weather that time was perfect. A rainy night! So I arrived at the place. Designed like a contemporary style art gallery but the interesting thing was that they integrated the art gallery with a coffee bar on the main hall and a sushi bar (Sushi Underground) in the visible basement right on the front of the premise. Intriguing! The paintings kept the wall filled, but the furniture were lacking in number so there’s still some blank spots unused. They could make it more homey, perhaps in time, but the terrace outside is a good spot for afternoon or night coffee, though I don’t really recommend it. It’s Jakarta and it’s humid even at night.

Anyway, I’ve always been fascinated by coffee. Even I wrote a thesis about coffee back then and I took my time researching one of prominent local coffee bars in Bandung. Local players have always been the subjects of my comparison study. Each has its own distinction, of course, which happens to be very comprehensive. For me, the most important aspects of a coffee bar is not all about serving coffee beverages, but also the ability to create good beverage by selecting and mixing coffee beans with other ingredients and condiments alongside with the rest, such as the design of the place, the seats, the food, and many things else. That’s probably the gastronomy aspect from a coffee bar.

Kopi Tubruk & Tiramisu Cheese Cake

I’ve been scouting for years to find the place that could blend those things perfectly and still I found none up until now, but the search must go on of course. Well.. at the very least, I’m proud with the local players and admire their effort to do so. It’s still a bit hard comparing the locals against the international class franchise like the Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and many others. Thanks to the heavy grip of globalization and it’s because they have standardized themselves so heavily in taste, they have a very active R&D, plus the control everything from the source up until the end products. Not to mention their experience. However, the locals also cannot be underestimated. Nowadays they have also become serious contenders, they learn from this fierce competition, and they got the advantage, cheaper price!

So it happened during one rainy night. I actually had visited other outlets of Bakoel Koffie previously, but found out that this one’s a bit different. Perhaps this place used to be an art gallery, but they left some paintings inside. There’s also this space downstairs, used to be a garage I guess, but still vacant and also an empty room upstairs. Well, it’s not really separated and blocked by a wall yet it’s not a long walk downstairs or upstairs. The design was a contemporary one, separated by glass, and very visible. They also have this balcony outside. Very very spacious I must say and unique because such premise can open a coffee bar, a sushi bar, and an art gallery at the same time. Cool!

Now for the coffee time! Their method of serving the coffee was just like in Starbucks or Coffee Bean, but the difference was that they delivered the coffee to the customer’s table. In Cikini branch however, the waitresses came over to us and everything ended like in common restaurants. So there’s not much fun in here, just a usual order and deliver thing. But speed is of the essence of course, they got to brew the coffee good and fast. So after a short while, here they come. Oh anyway, forgot to mention it, I ordered the Ice Coffee Float (IDR 28,000) and my friend wanted a Large Cappuccino (IDR 24,000) with extra Hazelnut Flavour (IDR 4,000). Well, comparing to the other com padres of local Jakarta coffee bars, Bakoel Koffie actually offers an extensive line of coffee beverages menu but it’s still no surprise that the taste was not that special. And comparing it to the other local competitors, still couldn’t meet my expectations.

Making quality conversations! This is the right place to do so! Well, for teenagers or anybody who don’t like to talk serious thing, you can always do the board games or talking trash and gossiping. But when you elevate things to higher level, then talking serious thing or be creative about something, then a coffee bar would become the right place to stay. Somehow I found it interesting and intriguing seeing people drinking alone, reading, or using their notebooks. I figure that typical nowadays lifestyle is like this, not to mention the growing individualism. But this is also a place where people now can create or produce something in mobile, communicating with people digitally, and conducting business globally. How fast life could evolve! I mean, we didn’t think such things can be made possible though we had dreamed of it right? Though it evolved from 1800s in Europe, but we gotta admit that since that time Europe has been able to produce many talents. Who might possibly know that brilliant musician like Mozart or famous philosopher like Nietzsche used to hang around their local coffee bar a lot? Thank the Turks for making coffee bean available in Europe.

The Judgment (based on scale of 10 score plus the comments):

1. PRICE (7/10)

– Calculation Method (Popular Method)

GT = After Service Tax Principle Price x Restaurant Tax

– Service Tax = 5%

– Grand Total = IDR 64,680 (just fine)

2. INTERIOR (7/10)

Bakoel Koffie everywhere applies different interior, but this one’s coolly designed though there are some empty spaces left untouched making the place somehow cold..

3. SERVICE (5/10)

Just fine.

4. TASTE (6/10)

Not the best tasting coffee for local coffee bars I’ve ever drank. Plenty rooms for improvements though. Local coffee bars should aim for the world, not only locally.

5. OVERALL (6.25/10)

Bakoel Koffie should try to devise something that would show their differences with others. Show your trademark from now on to the world. Improve more and don’t stop.

Additional Information:

Location : Jalan Cikini Raya no. 25, Jakarta – Indonesia

Restaurant Review: Y&Y [CLOSED]

Arguments to decide where we should eat at the state when our stomachs growling equals bad idea. It happened when me and my friends strolling around the vast Grand Indonesia newly opened theme stories (The Crossroads of The World). Several stories between Blitzmegaplex and the shopping mall are designated for entertainment and food zones. Several tenants have filled the space, but they seem to be separated with each other so we have to walk to and fro while arguing where we should eat. I came up with the idea for The Grand Duck King, but they seemed to be discouraged by the menu pictures. Well, I’ll save it for another occasion then. Anyway, long story short, we arrived in a bright place that goes with the name Y&Y.

Judging from the outside, this place was bright and shiny and the interior was quite neat actually and by the time we got inside, it’s actually quite comfortable. The white theme and the bright texture somehow deliver a pristine atmosphere. I must say I’m quite impressed, plus the installed “camouflaged” ceiling fans. That’s neat! You gotta see by yourself.

After observing the menu, Y&Y seemed to be a fusion genre kind of restaurant. Well, they provided dishes from appetizer to dessert, but all has the Japanese touch in it. The price seemed to be reasonable but I doubt that it’ll bring me satisfaction. They also promoted the Wagyu (Japanese superior quality beef) in the menu. Tempting, but I suppose, to be really satisfied with Wagyu, you need to visit either a true Japanese restaurant or a steakhouse. That would probably more suitable, but in terms of price, I warrant, you’re gonna think twice. Haha.. OK then. I happened to see this intriguing dish there. It’s a fusion pasta! After some deliberate consideration, I chose the Thyme & Parsley Escargot & Asparagus Fettuccine (IDR35,000). Seems like a good bargain. My friends seemed to be intrigued too and they picked with the Beetroot Fettuccine With Mix Mushrooms (IDR 35,000). Nowadays, we create pasta out of vegetables such as spinach, carrot, and even beetroot. So that makes pasta even more colorful. You know, it’s like when I was a kid, my mom used to told me that I’m not supposed to eat too much candy bars especially the colorful ones. She said that it’s not good for health because they put this artificial color on it. Notably like Yellow 5 and 6 in Pringles Cheese, well… not to also mention the MSG — our favorite thing from snacks! Anyway, this kind of thing really makes me a bit phobic when I’m facing colorful foods. A bit exaggeration, but after a while I realized that this is a pasta! So I assume there’s no need for me to worry.

Thyme & Parsley Pasta with Escargot & Asparagus

Well, in terms of taste, strangely decent! I mean it’s an odd mixture between asparagus and escargot (if they really put escargots in it) over pasta. The pasta itself was probably aglio e olio type (garlic and olive oil). I added parmesan to enhance the taste, but the original taste I must say was quite OK. Too bad they didn’t provide the life of Italian cuisine for the customers, it’s the olive oil. I took a turn to taste my friends’ dishes which happened to be the same. But this one turns to be a bit more exotic than mine. But mine’s definitely better in taste. So, the fettuccine itself was purple colored.. well you know.. the beetroot color, mixed with Japanese mushrooms like enoki and shiitake. Add more parmesan for more life. Enough for my insatiable appetite I suppose.

On another occasion (my second visit), the rice bowls were the theme of the day. Those were the Red Duck Curry Rice (IDR 45,000) and Mix Fishes/Sashimi Rice (IDR 48,000). I found these two were not enough to even satisfy my stomach, not to mention my judgment too. The duck one was quite OK but the ingredients were a bit imbalance. Well the veggies were dominating the taste instead of the duck but at least the sauce was able to balance it a bit. Uniquely served in stone bowl like when we used to live in the Stone Age. Haha… Meanwhile, my dish was the sashimi rice and served in clay pot bowl. Gotta be careful there. The whole idea was to have a clay pot rice with sashimi, but eventually as the rice got mixed with all, the sashimi were not raw anymore. So it’s more like the Pepper Lunch dishes where you semi-cook everything in your dish according to your preference. Anyway, they too provide this special sauce which definitely helps a lot! Cause the taste was really just so so. Still wasn’t good enough to meet my demands.

Mix Mushrooms Beetroot Pasta

So in the end, I conclude that actually this restaurant serves decent dishes but since most are fusion genre dishes, some of which may be total disasters! But gotta admit that the rest probably okay. The pricing is OK considering the Japanese ingredients for the fusion dishes. Not too pricey but definitely you can pick better place. I’ve seen better days in enjoying Japanese cuisine but combining it with Western doesn’t always work. Play safe here, lads!

The Judgment (based on scale of 10 score plus the comments):

1. PRICE (6/10)

– Calculation Method

GT = After Tax Principle Price x Service Tax

– Service Tax = 5%.

– Grand Total = IDR 190,575 (First visit, three people); IDR 136,290 (Second visit, 2 people)

2. INTERIOR (7/10)

Coolly designed! Although dominated by white color, but still gives the calming atmosphere. I love the camo ceiling fans!

3. SERVICE (5/10)

Just fine. Too bad they don’t provide olive oil, but at least they got parmesan (unlike the stingy Pizza Hut!)

4. TASTE (6/10)

Quite decent, but you should still play safe and pick the right dish according to your intuition. The pasta dishes are recommended.

5. OVERALL (6/10)

Probably okay for the first couple visits, but soon you’ll get bored. Worth a single try.

Additional Information:

Location :

Y&Y Steak
Pacific Place, 4th Fl #4-65
Jakarta 12190
(021) 5797-3137

Y&Y Nasi+
Pacific Place, 4th Fl #4-72
Jakarta 12190
(021) 5797-3127

Grand Indonesia, West Mall- 3A, Entertainment District 1 #23
Jakarta
(021) 2358-0825

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Restaurant Review: Cali Deli

What is the remedy after a hard day’s work? For me, definitely a good dinner! But actually, as a substitute, I can choose a good conversation over a cup of coffee or… ehem… probably with light dinner or good snacks. Haha.. Well, that’s originally what I had expected. When it comes to this rare occasion (since we rarely go out after work especially in weekdays), me and 2 of my colleagues decided to try a new place for a change. Anywhere for coffee! Originally, we decided to visit Anomali in Senopati. But since the congestion always disturbing during after working hours down to the south of Jakarta, my colleague who happened to be the driver and the owner of the car we’re riding in (that’s a bargaining point for her to decide which way to go) suggested that we should seek another place around Menteng to avoid the mess. But to where? I mean I know a couple of places there though I haven’t had a chance to visit it that time like the Bakoel Koffie or Cafe au Lait or Lara Djonggrang or anything else, instead of that she suggested that another place as recommended by her friend.

So the place was Cali Deli in Jl. Surabaya, Menteng. We were led astray for a while thanks to her ‘good’ sense of direction but well… I have nothing to object since I didn’t know the way around there either. So the place seemed nice from outside judging from the lighting and the outdoor concept. They also put seats inside the cafe, but it appears to be more comfy outside. They do have the sofa but it was occupied so we were seated in a standard small table, not too comfy and most of all, plenty of mosquitoes and the dampness that made it uncomfortable.

Mushroom Soup

Well, to the menu then! Ah so, Cali Deli is well.. a sandwich deli with the touch of Vietnamese flavor. Exactly at that time I recalled that some of my friends from another department used to order sandwich delivery and from this Cali Deli! Well, honestly, the delivery never came and they were left famished that lunch. So then I need to be prudent! I ordered the Tuna Egg Sandwich (IDR 33,000) and left my colleagues to pick probably the best (that’s what the waitress recommended), the Combo Sandwich (IDR 43,000) and Turkey Sandwich (IDR 43,000). Here’s the tip, guys. If you’re being cautious, pick the most familiar one or take an example from an austere guy like me especially when you meet a place as dubious as this, pick the one with the safe toppings. Tuna and egg have always been the best couple in sandwiches because they blended perfectly. So people, get yourself acquainted more with sandwich coz it’s gonna lame if you pick rice every time you got hungry.

Ah, my friend also ordered a Mushroom Soup (IDR 30,000) for appetizer. Jeez! IDR 30,000 for a mere soup! That ought to be special. Plus since we originally intended to have a cup of coffee, well we ordered Iced Coffee Caramel (IDR 28,000). A word of advice for you. If you’re not a huge fan of coffee or if you prefer a sweetened one, pick the one with caramel. That would be safer. As for me that time, my policy was to play safe but at least I was willing to spend! Unlike nonsense people who keep asking and wanted the world to revolve for them but still don’t want to spend. Such hypocrisy won’t get you anywhere to explore the depths of culinary experience! Well if not because they failed to deliver it to my next door department friends, they won’t receive this kind of treatment from me.

Iced Caramel Coffee

Then along came the soup. Oh the bowl made out of bread! Probably that’s what made it a bit pricey. But I mean, still, it’s only a small loaf of bread for God sake and it’s overpriced! If it’s worth around IDR 15,000 then it would still be acceptable. Probably it was made pricey with the concept that the customers’ stomach would be full with only a single soup. So why not make it expensive and then when they got full, nobody wants to try the goddamn sandwich anymore or vice versa. Hello! What are you trying to sell then?! A soup has always been an appetizer everywhere, so why not make it more compact and acceptable in terms of pricing and taste so that the customers would gladly continue for the main dish. The sandwich!! Jeez.. You’re ripping off everyone by doing this way. And by the way, the soup was just so so in the end. It’s not special indeed for a IDR 30,000 soup!

Tuna Egg Sandwich

Now we can move to the sandwich. I had high hopes that this one would be special but then again it was not! Well, so my sandwich was okay. My prudence proved to be the better part of the day, but the Turkey and the Combo sandwiches were terrible! First, they have different dressing. They put this minced carrots, cucumbers, onions, and strong coriander leaves that ruined the flavor to be honest. I asked them to bring me at least a mayonnaise or mustard to save the day. You know what they said?? They said, “Sorry we don’t have any mayo or mustard here”.

*&(&^%&T%*&*&(&^%&T%*&$&#(*$&!! –> Hell!!! Gimme a break. You mean, you open this Deli, claiming that you specialize in sandwiches (a food originally from the West and commonly served with mayo or mustard) and you’re telling me that you don’t provide these?! Even original Japanese restaurants provide chili or tomato ketchup!!! Okay that’s it! Even at least the coffee wasn’t so bad but definitely not special! I need to stop right now so I don’t have to humiliate them much longer! GRRRRRR!!!!! Let’s just wrap it up…

The Judgment (based on scale of 10 score plus the comments):

1. PRICE (2/10)

– Calculation Method

GT = After Tax Principle Price (Tax 10,5%??? What the?) x Service Tax

– Service Tax = 5%. Why the hell did they put 10,5% for the tax?? This gotta be a fraud!!!

– Grand Total = IDR 269,115 (BAH!!!!! For these craps!!)

2. INTERIOR (3/10)

It’s damp outside and it’s not even more comfortable inside! They simply didn’t do their best to design the place. At least if it’s hot outside, make the lighting more relaxing and more fans please!

3. SERVICE (5/10)

Less than satisfactory. The waitress even has to think what a mayo is when I asked her.

4. TASTE (3/10)

Crap soup, crap sandwiches, and average coffee! Miserable place!

5. OVERALL (3.5/10)

Too pricey for craps like these. I have said enough about this sad place. Still if you’re stubborn, then go ahead and try.

Location: Jalan Surabaya and several others in Jakarta – Indonesia

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