I was originally on my way for Research and Dinner (abbreviation : R&D) around the Sabang vicinity until I stumbled upon this fresh, quite nice looking, but somehow pitiful eatery (because nobody’s visiting) with many potentials. Just a few meters from there, Abuba Steak proudly but shabbily welcomed the patrons of their not-so-special-but-big-and-cheap steaks and had a full house I assumed.
I was actually dilemmatic between having steak or an all-you-can-eat at Paregu, but since I felt that Alibaba’s worth the try, I decided to dine there instead. I also felt that they may actually offer a good dinner! It was an honest thinking since they seem to be serious about the business no matter how few the patrons at that time.
So I entered the place with good feeling and found out that it’s a vast place, quite nicely decorated and air cons breeze to be found everywhere. A very stark contrast with Abuba, not to mention about the customers. Several friends of mine even said that most of the time, Alibaba is lacking in the amount of customer, used to open (now closed) a place once a upon a time in Kelapa Gading, and now from what I see, they’re persistently and somewhat recklessly open a frontal war with only Abuba just a few inches from them. Jeez.. They’re either a kamikaze of the steak world or they don’t have even a slightest idea about who they’re facing here!
Alibaba seems to be in desperate need to match the number of patronage with Abuba. You can see from the massive amount of chairs and sofas here, plus they got two-storey building. Take a look at the menu next. You’ll see the pricing of their dishes are quite at the same level with Abuba but they equipped themselves with more variety, they bought an expensive coffee machine for various coffee drinks, they got milk shakes and juices as well.
The most interesting part would be the dishes. Three types of beef (local, NZ, Australia), you can pick the degree of cooking for the steak (unlike Abuba), and the slight difference in price for local beef and NZ. With the margin of IDR 5,000 (roughly US$ 0.50), you’d better pick the NZ beef. I didn’t ask how fresh it is and knowing also that local beef has good quality these days, I bluntly picked the NZ beef. I dunno whether they were leading the customers to pick NZ, but I assume that they do run an honest business and of course it was a wise pick nonetheless since I suppose that the serving would be roughly between 150-200 grammes and with such a small margin, it’s best to pick the NZ.
Next thing I like about Alibaba is that they serve the steak on a hotplate. Feels like just the way it’s supposed to be, right? I don’t actually need a very big portion, but I need the steak served this way sometimes. Ah, almost forgot that I picked Sirloin NZ (IDR 50,000) and my girlfriend a Tenderloin NZ (IDR 55,000). The drinks? If you want something not too pricey but still good, I’d recommend the Iced Lemon Tea (IDR 7,000). It’s good, you can really feel the lemon. Well, you know, sometimes you just only feel only the mist but here, it was thicker. I do hope that they can sustain this. I might be tempted for the coffee next time since they got the huge machine. I hope the barista can manage it as well.
The meat by the way was good. It was juicy and accompanied with veggies and kitchen cut potatoes, which was a good thing since I hate supermarket french fries. As for the sauce, mine’s a bit disappointing. The black pepper sauce was not ‘pepperish’ at all and it was a bit bland to be honest. I thank the good meat by the way but eating sirloin seemed to be too much for my age (I haven’t reached 30 by the way), but when I tasted my girlfriend’s tenderloin meat with mushroom sauce, it was much much better. So you’d best pick the best of the best from this kind of place.
That time, besides us, the only patrons were another couple like us and a family of three kids after we finished our dinner. I had felt that from the beginning that this place needs to be ‘saved’ and they have proven their seriousness (with understandable flaws though) that they serve better steak (in this case Abuba). I did agree but they need to work on something more here. First of all, probably their name and design (it’s really similar with Abuba), so they better figure out something more original. Next would be the steak. It’s not perfect but it’s much better than their ‘counterpart’, so it’d be good to work on a cutting edge competitive advantage there since Alibaba seems to be targeting many customers to come (you can see that from the enormous amount of chairs you can find once inside).
Well, as much as I like about business plan, I feel that I might not be too adequate to put up more detailed opinions on it. Rest assured, Alibaba, you have a bright future but you haven’t secured it yet. I wish you the best then.
ALIBABA STEAK & IGA BAKAR
Jl. KH. Wahid Hasyim No. 112, Jakarta
RSVP : 021 – 3143501/3143469
Dishes and Drinks: Beef Steak, T-Bone Steak, Grilled Ribs, Pasta, Coffee, Milk Shake, Smoothies
Recommended Dishes: NZ Tenderloin Steak (Mushroom Sauce)
Reservation: Not needed
Operating Hours: TBA (assume normal operation hours)
Methods of Payment: Cash, Debit Cards, Credit Cards
1. PRICE (6/10)
Tenderloin and sirloin steak ranging from 45,000 to 80,000. A considerate price for Jakartans but not from visiting customers beside Jakarta.
For two people the total would range around IDR 115,000 to 150,000.
2. INTERIOR (6/10)
Too ambitious but not too shabby. Alibaba can always reshape again and become more attractive. Still, it’s relaxing with TVs and soft concert music DVD playing.
3. SERVICE (7/10)
Very helpful and the steak came fast (around 10 mins only, partly because we’re the only patrons).
4. TASTE (6/10)
Had much better steak but if you seek this market segment, Alibaba have done his homework for now.
5. OVERALL (6.25/10)
Has many potentials but don’t sleep to long, Alibaba.
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