QuikSkoop™: Kunti

Looking for a traditional Japanese cuisine around Jalan Raya Legian? Then Kunti would probably the best answer you can get. Though may appear outdated, but still Kunti provides your expectation a decent fulfillment for your sushi cravings.

At times, we cannot simply ignore the urge of returning back to your original self about wanting to eat something you’re familiar with during your travels abroad or like me, I just simply want to try every new possibility. If it’s about Japanese, as far as my eyes can see, it’s a tricky question if you’re searching for it around Legian. While Kunti then serves as the ‘only’ option there, don’t fret or disheartened upon seeing its appearance.

Cold Soba

Though may appear traditional from its façade, upon entering it you will feel that the place is about to fall down soon. Rundown and a bit dark, lucky that the weather outside was fine that day, but Kunti provides two options of seating, the first on the left side of the restaurant would be the tatami side or on you right side upon entering would be the usual table.

Menu was badly designed as the pictures designated to assist the customers were somehow uninviting but at least, helpful. It’s a customary while in Bali to always have the assorted sushi set because I have been in love with butterfish since the first time I had it a few years ago at Ryoshi, Seminyak. Owing the hot day outside, my wife chose for a cold soba for her lunch.

I have to remark the shabby service done by a waitress there who happened to be not really knowledgeable about Japanese dishes and had to rely heavily upon a particular senior staff there who cheerfully answered all of our questions. The serving was also not good as they served the soba not cold enough though afterwards they added more ice after we requested for it. The sauce was particularly nice and fit well with the noodle. Finally, my wife seemed to enjoy it.

Sushi Set

The sushi set was also amazing. Though set at the same price with Jakarta, but I found it very fulfilling. With plenty of options, I simply jumped from one fish to another and slowly enjoying it. I would very much recommend you to try it whenever you happen to drop by here.

So surprisingly, even though Kunti appeared dilapidated, it still delivers a decent food though some areas still require improvements especially about the service and hopefully from its appearance. But to enter the open field battling the already-settled Ryoshi might probably prove too tough for them. Anyway, to have more options would still be beneficial for anyone and Kunti positions itself comfortably as one of those.

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KUNTI

Halal-friendly

Some menu suitable for vegetarians

Wi-fi unavailable

Address: Jl. Raya Legian no. 14, Kuta – Bali, Indonesia

Opening Hours: Daily, TBA for opening hours.

RSVP: +62.361.761.454

BB Pin: N/A

Email: N/A

Website: N/A

Facebook: N/A

Twitter: N/A

Atmosphere: May feel like old Japanese restaurant at night but more like a dilapidated or nearly abandoned place in the afternoon. They sure need to renovate.

Ambiance: Quiet, at times only the waiters and cooks talking.

Service: Concise but not necessarily knowledgeable.

Pricing: Around IDR 100,000 – IDR 150,000 for two.

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TGA Milestone: The Guy on TV

Dear my beloved readers,

Finally I decide to announce my new milestone of several achievements. Some of them are probably long due but I think that later is not always worse than sooner. So here goes.

Upon my career as blogger/journalist, I have found so many elements unpredictable and delighting at the same time. As you may notice, even from the beginning I have been always faithful to my passion, writing in this matter, and even at one point decided to resign from my full time job and to pursue this to the world’s end.

Fruitful is the right word to describe my state now. There are so many blessings, intangible or not, that have become the source of my mirth and joy. Through hardships and prayers, finally I set up a new milestone today.

It’s a day that marks my sixth month of becoming a full time blogger/writer/journalist and from here the new horizon feels like miles closer. After years of working with printing media and establishing good network with everyone, finally it’s almost my third time now to appear on TV.

The horizon never seen before from a blogger’s paradigm, a food blogger in this case, is what I called earlier as unpredictable yet delighting. It’s an open road from now on and for the sake of my love, my passion, and my dedication for you dear readers, I shall continue to contribute the best and strive to be better each and every day.

I hope this small post can become an inspiration for everyone, that the glory I have still sought is getting nearer and nearer within my grasp. So can you share the spoils unknown before, great stories unwritten before, and universe unexplored before. Shall we then?

PS: Sorry, I just recently watched Coriolanus and the wordings definitely affected by it. Haha.. 😀

Regards,

TGA – RF

http://rianfarisa.wordpress.com/

Kahvehane: Kopi Pot

I used to encounter Kopi Pot on our way scouring the Legian lane back in 2009 and for some reasons, we instead tried Poppies, its sister restaurant a few hundred meters down. Finally, the chance came at last a few months ago when we lodged in at 101 Legian. It’s nearby and still looking nice like it was a few years ago. Time for the truth then!

It didn’t take long for us to decide where to eat and we also really wanted to taste more of Balinese food and coffee while there. Judging by the name of the place, the coffee should be available or even, bountiful. So how’s the story then?

Once you stepped in, the place is just beautiful. Though kind of old school with the old furniture and sort, but the garden made it all look homey. Though the main street is directly in front of the cafe, but somehow it’s serene inside. It’s always busy in Bali or any part of Indonesia nowadays especially with the easy lease on motorcycles and cars. All of them jammed the small roads of Bali! Lucky that afternoon, the traffic was normal and the weather’s also perfect for dine-outs.

We were seated at the center of the cafe and soon terrorized with mosquitoes. So we had to move to a table close the pedestrian but very comfortable as it was nicely covered in greens. A good substitute as we no longer disturbed with mosquitoes and also some privacy from the rest of the guests. As for the menu, it’s a shame that they only serve a little of Indonesian dishes there and the coffee menu was also not that impressive. I found out later about Kopi Pot’s website and it is said that they’re specialized in cakes since 1990, a specialty not informed by the waiters/waitresses there.

Sate Lilit

My sate lilit worked nicely as it was beautifully prepared and tasted delicious. The satays were served on a small grill but in reality, they’re already grilled. The fish covered the lemongrass and that’s why they call it lilit (encircle). It was smoky, with hints of herbs, and in all very nicely made. My wife had tong seng kambing or the lamb stew with curry soup for her lunch and it was just satisfactory. The lamb cuts were bountiful much to our surprise but the soup taste was not that impressive. The meat, however, was tender enough and that probably the only good thing from the dish.

Tong Seng Kambing

How about an iced cappuccino for hot day in Bali? Sounds nice but in reality, the delivery was miserable. It’s very watery and the coffee tasted very thin. Clearly it didn’t live up the name of the cafe. The service was not bad but failed to deliver a maximal effort. For instance, they could have supervised the trainees well or simply tutor them to make suggestions, especially about the cakes or any suggestion about their signature dishes.

So, however nice the place is but it’s not a comeback for me. Instead I would opt for Poppies. There, the food may not be that brilliant but again, the place was nice, full of choices from the menu, and all with prime service. A contradictory with Kopi Pot.

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KOPI POT

Halal-friendly

Some menu suitable for vegetarians

Wi-fi available

Address: Jalan Legian no. 139 – Legian, Bali – Indonesia

Opening Hours: Daily, 8 am – midnight

RSVP: +62.361.752.614

BB Pin: N/A

Email: N/A

Website: http://poppiesbali.com/uk/uk-kopi-pot.html

Facebook: N/A

Twitter: N/A

Atmosphere: A beautiful garden terrace hotel but sometimes with mosquitoes bugging.

Ambiance: Relatively quite but thanks to the busyness of the street, it’s no longer like the 1990 when it first opened.

Service: Tried to be helpful but they assigned novices from tourism academy instead at times. Patience is a virtue.

Pricing: Around IDR 100,000 – IDR 150,000 for two

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Restaurant Review: Marutama Ramen (2012)

The second time rendezvous with Gading Food for food tasting was a delightful experience. This time, Marutama Ramen became the host at its earliest outlet at Sentral Senayan, just an inch from Plaza Senayan. Alongside my fellow food bloggers, it’s another monumental stepping stone of shaping our knowledge and to venture deeper into the savory world of ramen!

Jammed with invitations! That’s what really happens to me in Ramadhan this year. I remember that last year wasn’t like this and it’s a good sign. A good sign where hosts nowadays – restaurants and hotels alike – are more aware of publications by implementing intense cooperation with online-based parties, particularly us as food bloggers. Our presence, while not yet standardized, is a proof of passion – especially for the part-timers, a never-ending learning process, a productive society and an exciting forum full of food discussions! More and more people let themselves attracted with all the mouth-watering posts, enticing tweets, and alluring food pictures. The food bloggers in Indonesia, particularly Jakarta, have never been this solid before.

Ramen Marutama

Gading Food is one of those hosts that understand well about this advantage. The last session back at Fish and Co. at Plaza Indonesia was a success. Though as a name Fish and Co. would probably something that many Jakartans already familiar with but a solid refresh would be necessary once in a while. Again, it’s the role of the food bloggers that helps to promote again, to make the crowd remember how the fish tastes, and to update it all. While on the other hand, the benefit for the food bloggers would be from the publications – more creatively involved and higher productivity, or any other elements that will one day make them either as writers, photographers, restaurateurs, chefs, or anything. Wonderful prospects are coming and it’s getting more exciting as time goes by!

It’s ramen time!

So, enough chitchat about the bloggers and let’s just dig deeper about Marutama Ramen. The rendezvous point was at Sentral Senayan instead of Plaza Senayan. Why Sentral Senayan you might ask. Their representative, Ms. Juliwina explained that Marutama Ramen initial positioning was intended to cater office workers a.k.a Japanese expats. Sentral Senayan is a building with many Japanese tenants and as one of the owner/head chef of Marutama Ramen, Mr Tetsuya Kudo decided to simply start from there. After more than a year of success, Marutama Ramen now caters also for public and introducing their authentic ramen at malls all over Jakarta.

Half boiled seasoned egg

I gathered around with some of my closest food bloggers companions such as Selba, Aline, Inez, Sara, Julia, Dino, Ellyna, and the soon-to-be blogger Mia for an Iftar there. For the opener, Marutama Ramen presented us with assortments of chicken karaage, tamagoyaki/dashimaki, and a chicken gyoza. These alone really improved my appetite, especially the karaage that really hit the best part when served freshly fried.

Then came the signature ramen from Marutama. If you look at the price tag you might ask, ‘Why so expensive?’ People often ask such thing because we can easily achieve the desirable level of goodness even by eating good instant noodles or just buy one from your favorite hawkers.

The answer would be the soup!

Since Marutama Ramen in Indonesia doesn’t serve tonkotsu soup then only the chicken-based soup, or known as toripaitai, available but that doesn’t mean that the soup couldn’t reach the quality that Mr Kudo had wanted. Marutama uses 30 kgs of chicken bones for the soup and it’s only for serving 100 people. The process took five hours and Mr Kudo himself inspects personally to ensure the right taste. If it’s wrong then they have to create it again from zero even if that means the store closed until all ready! This is the perfection spirit or known as kaizen in Japanese, implemented in any field and it’s a vital thing for restaurant business. Thanks to my Japanese banking background so that I can understand a bit better on how the Japanese behaves for this sake.

Nabe

The result was surprising. I really enjoyed my time digging the cloudy, thick, and milky soup. It was very hearty and savory, but some people may find it too heavy. In the spirit of the original tonkotsu, that’s probably why the soup has to appear like that and that becomes the trademark of Marutama Ramen. No alternative soups provided such as shio, miso or shoyu, so you’d best prepare to get yourself ecstatic with the goodness of it.

The toppings were also quite straightforward and interesting. Aside from the delicious chicken chasiu, Marutama also uses aosa instead of the usual nori. Aosa is used because it’s basically neutral and won’t interfere with the taste of the soup, while nori as we know it, produced strong smell. Another Marutama’s specialty that becomes the topping is also the half-boiled seasoned egg. It appears like a real boiled egg from the facade but when you dig a bit inside, the yolk’s still running and all soft inside. It all culminated into a very formidable ramen with a distinctive style indeed!

Still a long way to go

Not stopping there, Marutama still presented us with more of their dishes. It was lucky that all of us were grown accustomed with surprises like these and our stomaches maintain to hold on until the very end. The next one was another featured dish at Marutama, the nabe. It’s a hot pot full of vegetables and meat but still using the toripaitai soup. The thickness of the soup, however, was reduced a bit with the presence of white radish. Even though that makes the nabe less heavy but it becomes suitable if paired with any assortments of vegetables and meat.

Before we finished with a dorayaki ice cream or ice cream in a pancake that resembles the snack that Doraemon really fond of, we savored also a small portion of zosui or the Japanese porridge. Marutama uses Japanese rice, eggs, and scallions and these ingredients are usually mixed with the remaining soup from the nabe. Although we have gone this far, but we still have a room for more because the zosui was just nice. A little bit savory and strong owing to the egg but the scallions neutralize it and it all became a good balance.

Dorayaki Ice Cream

While perhaps the toripaitai soup for the ramen may not be suitable for anyone, I was actually quite fond of it but so far I was still amazed with the one at Yamagoya Ramen. Truly, every ramen shop should have their specialties and in this case, the soup would be the true ammo for each store. What I really like from Marutama Raman are the fact that they serve halal food and serve it separately from the porky dorky side. It’s a shame that they could not get the certification but very understandable because ramen is a dish originally built from pork stuffs. It’s a good move nonetheless and thanks also to strict standardization from Mr Tetsuya Kudo as the Japanese owner. Now I can see that Marutama Ramen will always become one of my choices for good ramen in Jakarta.

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MARUTAMA RAMEN (INDONESIA)

Halal-friendly (soup made from chicken only but pork toppings are optionally available)

Some menu suitable for vegetarians

Wi-fi available

Address and RSVP:

  1. Sentral Senayan 1 Building, BF #10 BC – Jakarta, Indonesia – Ph: +62.21.572.4050
  2. eX Plaza Indonesia, 2nd floor #eX-20, Jl. MH Thamrin Kav 28 – 30 – Jakarta, Indonesia – Ph: +62.21.316.0705
  3. Jl. Pluit Putra Raya No. 15 A – Jakarta, Indonesia – Ph: +62.21.669.1199
  4. Puri Indah Mall, SF- 240 Lt. 2, Jl. Puri Agung Puri Indah – Jakarta, Indonesia – Ph: +62.21.582.3193
  5. Living World Alam Sutera, GF Unit 32 – Jakarta, Indonesia – Ph: +62.21.2923.9450

Opening Hours: Daily, mall opening hours

BB Pin: N/A

Email: N/A

Website: http://marutamaramen.com

Facebook: MarutamaRamen

Twitter: @MarutamaRamen

Pricing: Around IDR 100,000 – IDR 150,000 for two.

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Unsigned images are courtesy of Marutama Ramen (Gading Food)

Kahvehane: Noah’s Barn Coffeenery

‘Garuda Street? Are you serious?!’ And that’s exactly what I said to my coffee expert friend, Mr Daniel Kauranny, about the whereabouts of the latest, most serious coffee shop in Bandung. Long story short, I stumbled upon a beautiful place with fabulous people behind the bar. Instantly falling in love with it, I then quoted Cikopi, ‘Akhirnya kota Bandung punya cafe yang layak jadi kebanggaan urang salembur!’

You might wonder why Garuda Street becomes the highlight of my standfirst. Garuda Street is tucked away far from the entertainment zones of Bandung, notably like Dago or Riau Streets, and to find Noah’s Barn located on that particular street invites questions. Not only that, it’s also because of the fact that I found no other modern, minimalist F&B establishments other than this one heading to that direction (except the kamikaze Harris Hotel around Holis area). But the reason why will be known after I met the owners, Mr Henky ‘Hank’ Suhendro and Mr Guido Mariotti.

It’s already 9 pm and several customers were still around. I asked them first whether they don’t mind for a couple more of late customers. They said cheerfully that we’re more than welcomed even though usually the shop closes at 9 pm. After seated on their bar, of course the usual question arose, ‘How do you know about this place?’ Simply I said that I knew it from my friend, @danieldeka. Then interesting conversations about coffee overflowed all of a sudden.

Not forgetting my purpose there, I simply asked for a cup of double long black to be made from the monstrous Synesso Hydra. Guido made a long black and a hot cappuccino for me. As for my wife, an iced cappuccino. Still at a learning phase, I simply let Guido chose the beans for me and for that he picked Anomali’s Black Pearl. The result was devastatingly delicious. The long black tasted like a deus ex machine – all the goodness that came from beans combined with the coolest machine I’ve ever encountered. Guido stopped processing it manually at the 35th second and the result was a full body coffee that covers my taste buds wholly, quite strong, but with an acidic finish especially when you hit the bottom level of the cup.

As for the cappuccino, I felt that both of them were quite formidable but perhaps owing to the bean type and how Guido brewed it, I’d still prefer to have it black – more because of my personal preference. From now on, I learn more that if you want your coffee tastes like you want it then you have decide for it yourself and share it with the barista. While you’re at it, try to have it the classic way.

The cake acted nicely as the accompaniment of the coffee. I believe my wife had the double chocolate cake and she finished it all by herself without asking me to join! How outrageous! By the way, she liked it and that adds the score for Noah’s Barn.

Aside from the Hydra, Noah’s Barn also has their manual brew bar that consists of Kalita wave, syphon, French press, and the unique cold drip and woodneck. Now now, wait a second. The stories about these machinations will come next okay.

My last question for them was, ‘Why Garuda Street?’ Hank replied that it’s because the joint is owned by them. Hopefully there will be more to come around this area and Noah’s Barn should be proud be part of the transformation when the time comes. Then we parted way for now and promised to return again for more adventure. Hank told me to let them know when I will visit the place again so that they’ll prepare a cold drip coffee, which I’m looking forward so much!

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NOAH’S BARN COFFEENERY

Halal-friendly

Some menu suitable for vegetarians

Wi-fi available

Address: Jalan Laksamana Nurtanio (Garuda) no. 39, Bandung – Indonesia

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 9 am – 9 pm, Sun 12 pm – 9 pm

RSVP: N/A

BB Pin: N/A

Email: hi@noahsbarn.com

Website: http://noahsbarn.com

Facebook: noahsbarncoffee

Twitter: @noahsbarn

Atmosphere: A homey small cafe suitable for writing anytime of the day.

Ambiance: Conversational.

Service: You’ll be in good hands. The owners take care of you personally!

Pricing: Around IDR 30,000 – IDR 75,000 for two.

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