The 111-year-old Japanese beef bowl fast food chain from Japan, Yoshinoya, revives itself again in Indonesia and already made the plan for the second outlet in Jakarta. After its withdrawal when the Southeast Asia crisis strikes, Yoshinoya is indeed making a spectacular return. I have been visiting the outlet in Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall for several times last week and people still queuing for the beef bowl day and night, weekday and weekend!
The queue probably not as intimidating as those in Japan (when the ‘Beef Revival’ event or when they’re changing the beef into pork for good before the revival), but surely you gotta queue for at least 15 minutes before you can order you beef bowl.
You may wonder what’s so special about Yoshinoya. Well, here goes:
Judging from their original Japanese motto. ‘Umai, Yasui, Hayai’ (Tasty, Cheap, Fast). You’ll see the price tag for regular size of original beef or yakiniku beef bowl is around IDR 25,000. It’s already added with miso shiru or Japanese clear soup. Your choice.
For that price, Yoshinoya’s beef purely came from USA Beef 100% solid, using premium Japanese short-grain rice, and 111-year-old secret recipe.
Aside from the beef bowl, you can also try the combo set that consists of chicken teriyaki, vegetables, and original beef. Also the crispy chickens like KFC and free flow ocha.
Those made the beef bowl fantastically delicious thanks to the secret recipe and the premium ingredients. Especially for the yakiniku beef bowl since Indonesian tongue may be more familiar with the savory taste. As for the original beef, it’s actually good as well but perhaps not sharp enough for our senses. At any rate you should try the vegetables. It’s gonna remind you of Chinese capcay dish.
As for the Grand Indonesia outlet, I think that the place is not adequate or cozy enough for you to enjoy the dish more. The dishes are definitely without doubt tasty but some things from the restaurant itself that made it harder to digest.
First of all, it’s a very open restaurant and that makes it crowded with passersby and with the fountain show of Grand Indonesia especially also when there’s live music on the plaza there.
Next would be the seat order. I was impressed with how Pepper Lunch works on the efficiency of order, seating, and serving. The waiter would give you your table number first based on how many persons having the dine-in and then you can order, afterwards all you gotta do is to wait on your table. But not in Yoshinoya, first of all you gotta queue which is okay since it’s understandable, but after we order our dishes we need to wait on the counter first and bring our food by ourselves.
The most trivial from all is to find your table. Nobody to guide you and you gotta pace back and forth to find it because the dining area is separated into two by the cashier counters. Luckily, in one occasion or when the rush hour time, the native Japanese supervisor will be the one who’s doing the pace back and forth which I think is a waste of energy since they can actually make it more efficient by learning. At least they have assigned a waiter to write up what the queuing customers want in a small piece of paper so that when it’s their turn to come to the counter, they only have to hand it over. No more asking about this and that, no more thinking, just hand it over and wait for the dishes.
So we can actually wrap it up. Great food, cheap, but not that quick, and inefficient system of order, seatings, and don’t expect a warm or easy atmosphere. It’s a goddamn flea market there and this is like any other fast food chain around the world. Don’t expect too much about getting comfy or anything. You gotta do everything on your own. Lucky the food was great, the taste was very original, and definitely cheap for hearty Japanese dishes. Thanks for coming back, Yoshinoya. It was great, really!
Halal-friendly (not yet certified) Unsuitable for vegetarians
It’s been almost a year and a half since I raised this baby here. To be precise, it was since February 2009. But it was that one and a half year full of honesty and truth in my words and criticisms. I intend to continue it with integrity and deliver the truth for you only, my readers. Well, I guess that’s a bit like media propaganda wasn’t it?
Anyway, I decided to revamp my site a bit with new theme, a fresh look would do right? Not much changed really but still, a new face will do. Plus I think that readers can read my words much conveniently. The color of the background and the width really do help me reading it. I don’t know for you though but I sincerely hope that this helps. Also, I haven’t yet prepared for the new header and a new photo of my gravatar yet. These will come soon enough.
My targets for the next 10K hits? Aside from my everlasting effort to deliver the best for you in honesty and earnest criticisms? Well, I guess I wanted to promote more of my site and still developing my travel guide site at The Daytrip Swashbuckler consistently. This has proved to be a major task since I’m trying my best also to post here in good frequency. But anyway, a passion is still a passion, so I’ll make sure that I’ll stay on track and you’ll see the best from me.
I reached the 10K hit yesterday on June 28, 2010. It’s a very pleasant thing for me, not too surprising but I had hoped that I could see the counter hitting 10,000 hit by my own eyes but I must’ve missed a few hours. At any rate, I wish to thank you my visitors and my readers for this. I’m grateful for it and if it wasn’t for you, what would a culinary aficionado like me will do.
Being perhaps the second most advanced city in Indonesia for emerging modern culinary concepts, Bandung, as I said before in my Daisy’s Steak & Grill post, is a melting pot of ‘culinization‘. The latest trend in Jakarta and Bandung besides the fro-yo fever, which has now gradually subsided, would be the everlasting pancake madness. Most likely started from Pancious in Jakarta, Bandung recently also owns Nanny’s Pavillon which I have posted also before. Bandung now also introduces her ‘Nanny Wannabe’ (credit for a friend of mine) diners. Either they’re aligned with Pancious/Nanny’s Pavillon or not, the thing is Western style diner is now officially ravaging my country.
That morning, I was picking up my girlfriend at the train station and we were looking for a good place for breakfast. I had been thinking about several good local places but instead, I was suddenly remembered that we got this new diner in Progo St. and since it’s in my nature to try something new, therefore I decided to make a visit.
Giggle Box is the name, looks strikingly similar with Nanny’s Pavillon but somehow we felt more comfort, with a relaxing music and less crowd, also not to mention the Bandung chilly breeze upon a nice neighborhood like Progo St., it was indeed a pleasant morning for us.
Not to worry about the capacity. Despite the looks, Giggle Box also has seats on the second floor. You might be worry because in weekends especially at dinner time, this once silent and empty road will be full of cars. Mostly to Kopi Progo, but several competitors such as Toko Coklat, The Strudels, and this Giggle Box also join in and everybody seem to have their shares in one of those establishments.
Also, Giggle Box boasts itself with good variety of food and especially drinks in one single tier of cheap price. This price tier suitable for citizen of Bandung usually still around IDR 5,000 to IDR 10,000 for hawkers, but with a nice place and the commodities Giggle Box has to offer, they’re indeed still generous with the pricing. Ranging from around of IDR 10,000 to IDR 30,000 you can get almost everything you want from Western style food. Beverages? Even more considerate and you can pick from hot coffee, iced coffee, blended coffee, blended drinks with Rhum, soda based homamade drinks, Frappe, jelly drinks, juices, smoothies and so on.
Since the Western theme that seems to dominate the place, it would be a good idea to order any Western dishes that seem to be abundant here. From the starters to the mains, pasta, or there’s always choices for you who want local delicacies as well.
Beef Schnitzel (IDR 19,000) and Fish & Chips (IDR 25,000) were our picks for the breakfast. Drinks? Hot Caramel Latte (IDR 14,000) and Strawberry Smoothie (IDR 14,000) were the choices for the morning.
As the dishes came in, they did not really arise my interest. The size of the schnitzel and the fish may be adequate, which was good, but from those who accompanied them, that’s the real problem came. First of all, the supermarket French fries! No matter you say how good it is, but still, it’s only a frozen potatoes ready to be fried! I was even unsure about the freshness, the quality, and most likely fried without salt or any strengthening condiments.
Next would be the vegetables. It’s like Hoka Hoka Bento julienned carrots and cabbages added with mayo. It’s not special really and it works well if with HHB so-called Japanese dishes but not here. For the fish and chips maybe but for the schnitzel? Not a chance! They can actually use sauteed vegetables like in steakhouses. It’s easy and more decent. I guess with a pricing like this, even that shouldn’t be a problem.
So how are the fish and the schnitzel? In terms of size, very adequate especially the fish. Quite intimidating for a city like Bandung though if you compare it directly with Fish & Co., well.. it’s gonna be a joke. First of all, it was thin but luckily, the fish still in there. The schnitzel was okay too though my girlfriend said that the fish was better. At any rate, it’s still worth the try. Not a very satisfying breakfast for me but it was for my girlfriend.
The drinks were okay. The smoothie was made also out of yogurt so it tasted sour and fresh. Topped with ice cream to make it even better. I liked it and it was only for a bargain! The coffee was not bad either. The caramel can cover the weaknesses and it’s a prudent choice I know, however, it was a good ending from the so so dish.
Nevertheless, it was a cozy place. You have to experience the cool morning of Bandung there. Or is it possibly that you want to lounge a bit on the sofa or even spend a warm atmospheric dinner with your close friends and the teen society of Bandung? Elders and kids are also encouraged to be shared with this joyous time for families. From breakfast to brunch, or for lunch and dinner, or even for just a cup of coffee and Frappe, Giggle Box has the answer for it. Quite satisfactorily though, not up to my standard I’m a afraid.
Jl. Progo No. 33, Bandung
RSVP : TBA
New locations are also available now (updates TBA)
Dishes and Drinks: Pancake, Beef Schnitzel, Fish & Chips, Pasta, Coffee, Smoothies
Recommended Dishes: Won’t recommend anything for now.
Reservation: Recommended for dinner and especially on weekends
Operating Hours: TBA (assume normal operation hours)
Methods of Payment: Cash, Debit Cards, Credit Cards
1. PRICE (8/10)
Appetizers from IDR 9,000 to IDR 15,000. Main dishes from IDR 12,000 to IDR 40, 000. Beverages starting from IDR 7,000 to IDR 20,000.
For two people the total was IDR 84,000. Not too satisfied with the food but judging from the variety in food and beverages and still within the considerate price, it’s worth the try.
2. INTERIOR (6/10)
Not that impressive. But if you combine it with Bandung’s fresh breeze, the relaxed neighborhood, the semi open air concept although with benches and few sofas, nevertheless they do offer a nice place for afternoon coffee or breakfast.
3. SERVICE (6/10)
Not much to say about it. At least they’re quite helpful and knew what they’re doing.
4. TASTE (5/10)
Unimpressed with the food but perhaps you can challenge more from the drinks. The Strawberry Smoothie was good, the coffee was not bad, and you can explore more with the rest. As for the food, I wouldn’t recommend much but for commoners, surely they’ll be contented.
Kitchenetteis the newest envoy, the latest messenger to the open field from Ismaya Group. The most recent one accompanied with Mr. Curry. For several times I had been passing this new establishment and they seemed to gain reputation very swiftly and was indeed not short of customers. Not to mention also the fact that it’s located in Plaza Indonesia, a prominent mall in Central Jakarta. So if you don’t like crowds or waiting up in queue for too long for your seats, assume brunch time or early dinner time as the best time for taking a breath.
Though fate decided that I should come for early dinner but for Friday night! Famished, me and my colleagues had to queue though it’s still 5.30 PM. Meanwhile, I took a tour around the place and observe it a bit. Deriving from kitchen, Kitchenette means a small kitchen. You can see the small kitchen in the middle of the place, very transparent and seem small indeed but definitely a very decent place to work and serve dishes efficiently. Kitchenette is an open place with no walls to the outer world. Feels like European style cafe just across the street of Paris or Vienna, but you wouldn’t build something fancy like this in Jakarta because it’s too humid and hot. Except in Bandung or Bali perhaps where the air is still fresh and open door cafe like this can be very comfortable.
As for the design, Kitchenette is modern and has a warm atmosphere of uptown people, not always too classy but you can find socialites here. With a relaxing, not too dominating jazz or lounge ambient which keeps you from external disturbance but in a level where you can still hear you partner’s voice.
The waiting time was not that long anyway though I saw earlier that they serve plastic cups alongside a pile of lemons which I warrant that they made lemonades out of those but they didn’t offer us at all. I thought that perhaps they do that when the queue line is out of hand or when people coming for lunch or dinner rush, then they’ll definitely use lemonades to soothe them for a while.
So, we were seated at last. You might think that Kitchenette is a bit too small for such hustle and bustle but when I was seated, it’s actually a bit spacious. Afterwards, the waiter immediately handed us the menus and after we browsed it for awhile, he’s back again ready for everything and very patient indeed. We hadn’t yet concluded what we wanted for that night and keep asking the guy for the details of the dishes but he proved himself worthy and knowledgeable about it. He also gave us suggestions as a waiter should do of course. But he’s not without his flaws though. I had been interested more in galette and there’s actually discounted appetizers such as soup or salad to accompany it. I had asked him whether this kind of combination can also be done for other dishes besides galette. He said none beside galette, but from what I saw later actually, it can be combined and it’s on the menu for God sake.
Well, at any rate, galette for tonight would be good since it has been Kitchenette’s signature menu and specialty alongside the crêpe. Each of Ismaya Group restaurants has its own character. For instance, Mr. Curry definitely specializes in curry, Puro in Italian, Pasta de Waraku in fusion pasta, Social House for tapas and wine, and Kitchenette here for the crêperies. Two types available here, galette for the savory and crêpes for the sweet. Both of them were originated from France. That’s pretty obvious right? Galette is a thin, crispy pancake made out of wheat, usually garnished with savory ingredients such as cheese, meat, egg, etc. Whilst crêpe as we have known commonly, usually filled with sweet things like ice cream, melted chocolate, sometimes added with cheese, and can also be filled with savory ingredients. But here, in Kitchenette, both of them are differentiated.
The galettes are uniquely titled with French guy names and the crêpes with American country ladies names. Mine’s Antoine Ego galette (IDR 65,000) that consists of ham (pork or turkey), mozzarella cheese, and mushroom caviar with truffle oil. I took the appetizer package and picked Tabouleh Couscous (IDR 25,000 – only if combined). I’ve always wanted to taste couscous, a traditional Middle Eastern/North Africa dish made out of wheat and with certain method of cooking, you’ll see it more like grated parmesan cheese. For the combination menu, the meaty salads are excluded but the rest are available. The rest of my friends picked Arnaud galette (IDR 69,000) and this one consists of two mini beef hamburg, fried egg, Dijon mustard, Swiss cheese, and caramelized grilled onions. Then there’s also Pan fried John Dory fish fillet over sauteed garlic spinaches with Mediterranean sauce (IDR 59,000), The Maid’s nasi goreng with spicy seafood, fried egg, and chicken satay (IDR 49,000), and a more conservative friend of mine a.k.a on-a-diet friend picked a salad Iceberg wedge with roasted pears, walnuts, and Gorgonzola dressing (IDR 37,000, added with regular chicken IDR 10K and large chicken IDR 20K).
My pick was indeed the best. The salad may be a bit strange but it actually isn’t. In Indonesian dishes notably fried rice or martabak, usually accompanied by pickles and the sourness was quite similar. The salad consists of diced shallots, cucumbers, capsicums, carrots, and covered with couscous. I added the olive oil as usual. I was fond of it but if you wanted a safer salad, pick the one you usually like or just the soup. My Antoine Ego galette was nice. The cheese, turkey ham, and the mushroom caviar fit perfectly together bringing on the tenderness and they melt wonderfully inside my mouth. You might want to add pepper, olive oil, or even chili sauce for more spirit but I prefer the original taste. A bit of pepper and olive oil might do but not the chili sauce. My friend’s Arnaud galette was okay too. More meaty and full of proteins, but it’s not actually that special. In terms of balance, mine’s better though you may see it not too inviting but still, it’s the best pick of the night.
The John Dory fish dish was served hot and worked well also for the evening. The fish cuts were bountiful and the sauce worked well with the fishes and spinaches. Nice pick too. I didn’t taste much on the salad and the fried rice but it’s just too ordinary indeed for the fried rice. As for the salad, the Gorgonzola dressing did the trick and the uniquely fried pears tasted good said my friend. Not to forget the drinks, I picked the Classic Lemonade too and served per glass for IDR 25,000. It’s sour but very fresh, I like it a lot but they price-tagged it too expensive. Seriously! I watched a movie called Lemon Tree and there’s plenty of lemons and lemonades giveaway for free and seemed tasty! It should have been cheaper nonetheless no matter how absurd I correlate it with the story. LOL
It was a pleasant night but not for my friends, they seemed to think that Kitchenette was overrated since the food was not that special and the fact that they’re still hungry! Haha.. As for me, it was a very fulfilling dishes, too expensive, and judging that you can get crêpes for a bargain price in food stalls on malls plus the fact that galette is originally a traditional, peasant dish way back in France and it’s too expensive. To be honest, I have to agree my friends too that the food was not that extraordinary though my galette was good. So Kitchenette, no matter how magical your place is so you can attract so much customers but heed my warnings, improve thyself and prove that thou are worthy enough for my next visit. Wassalam..
KITCHENETTE RESTAURANT & CRÊPERIE
Plaza Indonesia Lantai 1 Blok E Unit 16
Jl. MH. Thamrin No. 28 – 30, Central Jakarta, Indonesia
Now locations are also available now (updates TBA)
Cheese Cake Factory (CCF) is a prominent cake shoppe and cafe in Jakarta. Opens already for almost a few years and available in several spots in Big Durian.
Specialized of course, in cheese cakes with many variants such as Blueberry Cheese Cake, Double Baked German Cheese Cake, or Mixed Fruit Cheese Cake; chocolate cakes like Chocolate Tart or Chocolate Truffle; then our local pride, Indonesian layer cakes, such as Lapis Legit Prune and Lapis Surabaya; ice cream cakes and not to forget the usual short cakes and the hampers.
As for the cafe and as you can see from the website, they serve many dishes especially Italian. They seem to serve home made ice cream too which quite tempting from what I see in the pictures. Well.. Still haven’t had this chance or interest to visit and enjoy a meal there actually. Since you see, mostly cake shoppes like CCF only attract people for takeaways or cake deliveries instead of dine-in. Perhaps this is a habitual issue. People in West or Japan seem to enjoy more of dining in for even only a shortcake and a cup of coffee. Climate thingy? That’s also a factor perhaps. In colder climate, people seem to fond of ‘warming’ themselves inside, whilst us here, prefer to just eat in a normal restaurant or bathe under the sun shine. Ah.. I’m getting absurd here. LOL
This cake that we had was meant for farewell party of one of my colleagues in the office. We decide to always order a big cake for such occasion. The girls picked this Mixed Fruit Cheese Cake for us. It’s the 20 cm x 20 cm size that cost IDR 185,000. It turns out that the size was not imposing enough for ‘barbarians’ like us though in the end there’s still several slices remained.
About how it looks? It looks nice with plenty of strawberries, kiwis, and oranges with a twist of granulated sugar. On the side, heavy creams decorated the cake and with a touch of butane torch to make the golden color (correct me if I’m wrong), twisting around and made it look like a frame of still life painting of fruits. Quite beautiful but seems too small for us, the hungry barbarians.
Unfortunately, once you dig in, it’s not that impressive. The cheese cake was too light comparing the one I had from Cizz. Even though small in size but it’s very fulfilling, cheap, and lots of variety. I don’t think that even CCF can match the taste of it. More successful perhaps, but to do a head-to-head for the cheese cake tasting? I’d definitely won’t give the credit for CCF. Nevertheless, I had two slices back then and it was not that bad actually but I can see indeed that my workmates were not that satisfied because previously we had good cakes for farewells and unfortunate for CCF, perhaps we won’t pick you again next time. Keep trying though.
Taste : 5/10
Price : 6/10
Result : CHEW IT IF YOU WANT TO.. 😐
Jl Tebet Barat Dalam Raya No. 23, Tebet – Jakarta Selatan 12810 Tel : (021) 835 4735 Fax : (021) 837 02169
Jl Barito Raya No. 2, Barito – Jakarta Selatan 12130
Tel : (021) 7392102 Fax : (021) 72795856
Jl Tomang Raya No. 41, Tomang – Jakarta Barat
Tel : (021) 56972777 Fax : (021) 56980669
Jl Cikini Raya No. 16, Cikini- Jakarta Pusat
Tel : (021) 3924141 Fax : (021) 3926785