Restaurant Review: Maxi’s

Maxi's - Facade

Memories oh memories.. Yes I did have romantic encounters here years ago and a visit to Maxi’s has always been whimsical ever since. My intention to write about it was strong ever since as it has been one of my few favorites since the dawn era of my culinary escapades. This is the account of my last visit.

Maxi’s is simply beautiful. Your way in by car would be a fascinating short trip to witness the awesomeness of the whole environment – a beautiful colonial house in the middle probably from art deco era, a huge garden on the left side used for wedding ceremonies, and trees all over the place. It’s Bandung, it’s leafy, and Maxi’s has been renowned as a restaurant that serves great food. What more can you ask?

I have ventured through some of its steak dishes – refined and cooked well. Much to my surprise though that the price now becomes more expensive. Anyway, with a vast selection of steak, Italian pasta, and some Oriental dishes, Maxi’s has been a powerful contender for Bandung’s rarity in good upscale restaurants.

Bandung as we know it is a city for students with supposedly lower prices for food compared with Jakarta. Now that the access with Jakarta has been opened wide since 2005 and that democracy fails to provide steady price, even the hawkers of Bandung had to put a hefty price on their dishes. I remember that during my bachelor time a few years ago, an average spending of IDR 25,000 was still considered a special treat. But now right when I see the price tags at Maxi’s, that kind of spending would only get you a good deal of appetizer only.

Filletto di Pesce a la Romana
Filletto di Pesce a la Romana

Anyway, Maxi’s still manages to deliver the best taste as I can remember even though last time it took like forever to take the food out of the kitchen. I had my usual treat of filletto di pesce a la Romana or a dory fillet coated with cheese and broiled egg served with butter sauce, pickled vegetables, and potatoes. Even though the presentation may not be much but after all, it’s the taste that matters. The silky rich dory coated with the elegance of cheese and broiled egg was indeed satisfying and rich as credit also goes for the buttery sauce. To balance it all, Maxi’s put a well-julienned pickled carrots to give a nice sour taste. Very satisfying!

Filetto a la Maxi's
Filetto a la Maxi’s

My wife on the other hand tried Maxi’s signature beef dish namely filletto a la Maxi’s that consists of a double decked medium-well local tenderloin filled in-between with spinach and topped with gratinated mozzarella. The presentation was quite illustrious as it resembles a green garden of vegetables such as glazed carrots, broccoli, potatoes, parsley, and the good old mushroom sauce. The tenderness of the meat was commendable and the degree of meat temperature was exactly as ordered. The taste was quite complex as she had to handle different types of ingredients but it was another satisfying journey for us.

The cons of my visit that time were the amount of flies at the outdoor dining area and the staffs did nothing about it or the restaurant to invest the insect exterminator thing for this matter. Also, they should also put the no smoking sign at indoor dining area as I still found some heartless customers doing it without bothering what other people think. The serving time took forever even though it was almost lunch time. I found that Maxi’s has become quite ambitious with their long opening hours but even for two dishes only, it took like around more than half an hour. The good thing was the dishes tasted good and came in at the right temperature.

Maxi's - Garden View

At this point I don’t really know whether Maxi’s has raised the bar of excellence or not since I found that only the quality of the dishes that’s still consistent but they appear not to really bother about the rest. As restaurants now grow rapidly in quality, variety, and their social media skills, Maxi’s appears rather out-of-date or perhaps still confident as the old guard Western cuisine in Bandung. We shall see where Maxi’s would be at a few years from now but I do hope solemnly that they will survive the battle and came out as the victor. After all, Maxi’s has always been sentimental for me.

———-

MAXI’S

Halal-friendly (no pork, local beef available, but wine may be used for sauce on some dishes)

Some menu suitable for vegetarians

Address: Jln. Gunung Agung no. 8 – Bandung, West Java – Indonesia

Opening Hours: Daily, 7 am – 11 pm

RSVP: +62.22.2032.666

Website: http://maxisresto.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/maxisrestobandung

Atmosphere: One of the finest and rarest in Bandung. A complete package of refined old colonial house with a beautiful garden. Quite unfortunate they keep flies as pet.

Ambiance: Should have been peaceful with a good lounge song. Nope, instead they picked strange tunes of rock music for this kind of atmosphere. Well anyway, it’s basically conversational if it wasn’t for the music.

Service: Actually good but serving time was a bit shabby last time.

Pricing: Around IDR 150,000 – IDR 250,000 for two

A Mini Guide to Bandung’s Culinary Perks (Jakpost Travel – January 29, 2013)

A Mini Guide to Bandung’s Culinary Perks

http://www.jakpost.travel/news/a-mini-guide-to-bandungs-culinary-perks-PR1eIzxvyMD6n4E0.html

—–

Bandung is known by many as a city of culinary adventure, with hawkers to fancy restaurants on offer to the gastronomic tourist. The Jakarta Post Travel presents a mini guide of four categories each with two options. Coupled with our previous article on eight classic Bandung dishes, our selection will surely help make your trip there delicious.

—–

Best for fine restaurants:

JUBILARE

Jubilare - Lobby

Jubilare - Rack of Lamb

The newly-established Jubilare quickly settled itself among the scant fine-dining options in the city. Here, you can enjoy an array of mouthwatering European cuisines presented by Chef Bambang, who previous cooked up a storm at the Amanjiwo resort.

The Jubilare Set Menu, pumpkin ginger soup, gigantic ravioli with salmon filling, rack of lamb and a beautiful chocolate soufflé, is a fine example of Bambang’s skills.

The restaurant, which emphasizes the use of home grown vegetables in its dishes, is indeed a new force to be reckoned with in Bandung!

Location: Jl. Karangsari no. 14
Ph: +62.22.955.555.86
Opening Hours: Tue – Sun (11 am – 11 pm), closed on Monday
Price:
Jubilee Set Menu (IDR 300,000): Pumpkin Ginger Soup, Rack of Lamb, Ravioli di Salmone, Chocolate Soufflé
Happy Set Menu (IDR 110,000): Smoked Chicken Salad, Char Grilled Snapper Fillet, Sliced Fruit

MAXI’S

Maxi's - Filetto a la Maxi's

This restaurant is housed in a beautiful colonial building that hails from the Dutch colonial era. Its beauty is further enhanced by a sizable garden fit for royal parties as well as its neighborhood, which is an area in Northern Bandung filled with old colonial retreats.

Maxi’s best dish is Filletto a la Maxi’s: A double decked beef tenderloin with spinach gratin, accompanied by broccoli, glazed carrots, buttered potato with parsley and red wine sauce. Other notable dishes not to be missed are the mushroom on beef —Emmenthaler style, poached salmon jubilee, the pronto beef parmigiana or the classic steaks that are some of the city’s best.

Location: Jl. Gunung Agung no. 8
Ph: +62.22.2032.666
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (7 am – 11 pm)
Website: http://maxisresto.com
Price:
Filletto a la Maxi’s = IDR 68,000 (local beef)
Filletto di Pesce a la Romana (dory fillet coated with broiled egg, cheese, and butter sauce, with pickled vegetables and potato with parsley) = IDR 62,000

—–

Best for Sundanese cuisine

MA’ UNEH

Ma Uneh - Babat Goreng & Haremis

The recipes of the late Ma’ Uneh’s amazing Sundanese cuisine have been preserved for decades by her family and flourished the family business.

Ma’Uneh began modestly in the ’60s with a rather simple menu. Over time, more dishes have been developed and nowadays dishes such as karedok (mixture of vegetables with peanut sauce), fried beef lungs, steamed salted eggs, jengkol (a type of bean with meaty taste and pungent smell) stew as well as more than 30 other dishes are available.

Several dishes use unique ingredients, such as ikan impun — a certain type of freshwater fish only found locally— and haremis (clams) a rarity in Sundanese cuisine.

Location:
Jl. Terasana no. 132
Jl. DR. Setia Budhi no. 159
Jl. LL. RE. Martadinata (Jl. Riau) no. 157
Price:
Haremis (clams) = IDR 15,000
Babat (fried beef tripe) = IDR 13,000
Paru Goreng (fried beef lungs) = IDR 13,000
Gepuk (fried beef with a rich taste of coconut and spices) = IDR 13,000
Karedok (mixture of raw vegetables with peanut sauce) = IDR 12,000

KAMPUNG DAUN CULTURE GALLERY & CAFE

Kampung Daun - Sop Iga Bakar

Undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Bandung, Kampung Daun was established with the mission to astonish its visitors and it has succeeded.

Designed ambitiously to resemble a traditional village encircled by trees, flowers and foliage in-between towering cliffs, Kampung Daun maintains its fresh look and remains salubrious all year round. The staff enchants diners with their swift yet polite service even though work for them can be challenging, especially with the uphill jaunts to deliver delicacies to the huts that serve as dining rooms.

The restaurant’s food, which comprises mostly of dishes of Sundanese origin, combines with a wonderful dining ambience. We recommend the signature oxtail soup, grilled beef ribs with soup and the grilled rice with eels and minced meat. Traditional Sundanese dishes such as banana leaf wrapped rice with fried chicken, tofu, sautéed vegetables, karedok and any gourami fish dishes are worth a try.

Location: Jl. Sersan Bajuri KM 4.7
Ph: +62.22.2787.915
Website: http://kampungdaun.net/
Price:
Tahu Isi Pedas (fried spicy tofu filled with vegetables) = IDR 10,500
Gurame Goreng (fried gourami fish) = IDR 85,000
Sop Iga Bakar (grilled beef ribs with soup) = IDR 62,500
Tumis Genjer (sautéed water cress) = IDR 17,500

—–

Best for local specialties

MIE KOCOK MANG DADENG

Mie Kocok Dadeng - Mie Kocok

Mang Dadeng is famous for its mie kocok, a native delicacy from West Java. Although this dish can be commonly found in hawkers all over the city, this house recipe is so popular that the name “mie kocok” is synonymous with this establishment.

Usually, it is a soup-based noodle dish with beef meatballs companions, but the house mie kocok instead uses beef tendons, bone marrow and bean sprouts. In addition, Mang Dadeng also serves sop kaki, which also uses beef tendons suitably combined with rice.

Location: Jl. Banteng no. 67
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun (9 am – 9 pm)
Price:
Mie kocok (noodles with soup and tendons) = IDR 18,000
Half portion of mie kocok spesial (noodles with soup, tendons, and bone marrow) = IDR 15,000

ES DURIAN KANTIN SAKINAH

Es Durian Sakinah - Es Buah dan Duren

Savor durian, the king of fruits — like a king — the old Kantin Sakinah way as its es durian is quite a legendary choice for dessert. For years, this humble hawker has treated people with durian cravings by serving the fruit alongside plenty of quirky combinations such as palm sugar, coconut milk, condensed milk or chocolate sprinkles.

It can also be combined with freshly sliced fruit such as watermelon, mango or avocado, not to mention, a plethora of condiments on offer.

Now that is what I call an enticing dessert!

Location: Jl. Tubagus Ismail I no. 6
Price:
Es Durian with grated cheese, condensed milk, and chocolate sprinkles = IDR 18,000
Es Campur (mixed sliced fruits with condensed milk and durian) = IDR 10,000 

—–

Best to hang out

KOPI SELASAR (at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space)

Selasar Sunaryo - Kopi Selasar

Looking for a serene place fit for contemplation, enlightening discussions, good coffee and great artworks? Kopi Selasar at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space has it all!

Kopi Selasar is part of a particularly beautiful art space owned by artist Mr Sunaryo, located in a valley with Bandung’s majestic green hills as the backdrop. The place itself is a feast for the eyes.

The baristas delight in making experimental coffee concoctions involve unusual ingredients. Try the adventurous cheese cake cappuccino or other coffee drinks mixed with a variety of ingredients such as  spices, nuts, yogurt, mascarpone cheese, crème de cacao, crème de menthe, Bailey’s and many more.

Be creative with your choice, after all it is an art space.

Location: Jl. Bukit Pakar Timur no. 100
Ph: +62.22.250.7939
Website: http://selasarsunaryo.com
Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs (10 am – 5 pm), Fri – Sun (10 am – 10 pm)
Price:
Cheese Cake Cappuccino (espresso, cream cheese, yogurt, cookies, coffee ice cream with whipped cream) = IDR 32,000
Ginger Lemongrass Tea (ginger and lemongrass tea served with lime) = IDR 15,000
Potato Chicken Balls infused with cheese and spiced French fries = IDR 25,000

ROEMAH KOPI

Roemah Kopi - Moon Light & Moon River

Being an early pioneer of indie coffee shops, Roemah Kopi has been enjoying its legendary stature for around a decade.

During your first visit you might find that the place feels more like the owner’s residence rather than a café. On further inspection its serious backyard expansion might increase its capacity but also continues the homely ambience.

Let the gentle winds from Bandung’s rolling hills soothe you while you lay back and sip your drink with your loved ones.

Roemah Kopi is also famous for its coffee blended drinks, such as; Voice of Nature (coffee, avocado, vanilla ice cream), King of Coffee (coffee, rum, melted chocolate) and Sound of Garden (ice blended coffee of chocolate, mocha, or vanilla flavor)

Location: Jl. Terusan Ranca Kendal no. 9
Ph: +62.22.251.2613
Price:
Moon River (Coffee caramel, vanilla ice cream, with whipped cream) = IDR 24,000
Moonlight (Coffee, fresh milk, chocolate ice cream, mocha) = IDR 22,000

—–

Featured in Jakpost Travel (January 29, 2012)

Pictures courtesy of Rian Farisa (The Gastronomy Aficionado)

Quikskoop™: Mie Kocok Mang Dadeng

Mie Kocok
Mie Kocok

Mie Kocok has been quite known as one of Bandung’s traditional dishes, but many probably prefer their usual take on noodles dish only with bakso or chicken feet. So what’s the real difference with this particular dish? Let’s give a fresh look on one of Bandung’s best, Mie Kocok Mang Dadeng.

Renowned for its delicious mie kocok for some decades, Mie Kocok Mang Dadeng has always been my primary choice aside from the one at Jalan Karapitan or Jalan Sunda. I love those juicy beef tendons, the luscious bone marrow, the crispiness of the bean sprouts, and how rich the soup is. Yes, those are the main differences with the usual mie bakso we often encounter everywhere. Additionally for the noodles, mie kocok uses the fettuccine-like type and you should complement it all with a good white kerupuk. Delizioso!

Mie Kocok Dadeng - Bean Sprouts

Imagine the use of beef leg bones for the broth, making the soup somehow greasier, in a good way, and possess a deliciously unique taste. Sometimes I even asked for additional bakso or meatballs just to make it more fulfilling and closer to the one we usually consume. What I haven’t really tried at Mang Dadeng until this day is the sop kaki. Pretty much using the same parts of the cattle but you’re having it all with the good old warm rice.

Overall, there’s no real difference between one restaurant and another in terms of composition of the dish so basically it’s pretty much the same anywhere. What different are probably the strength of the broth, the serving of the dish, and the price. Pricewise, it’s not too steep compared with for example, a complete set of bakmi which involves dumplings and meatballs. However it’s a good, different ride on our usual noodles dish and your visit to Bandung is not complete without this part taken into account of your culinary trip.

Mie Kocok Dadeng - Facade

—–

Must eat: Mie kocok spesial (noodles with soup, tendons, and bone marrow)

Price: IDR 15,000 – IDR 20,000

Address: 

Jalan Banteng no. 67 – Bandung, West Java – Indonesia

Jalan Cilaki no. 43 – Bandung, West Java – Indonesia

Opening hours: Everyday, hours TBA

Quikskoop™: Es Durian (Kantin Sakinah)

Es Buah dan Durian
Es Buah dan Durian

For many years Kantin Sakinah has been known for a place to seek one of the finest, most indulging dessert ever, es durian. Now that the real Kantin Sakinah no longer exists, the legend goes on and apparently this particular hawker who helped to raise the legendary stature for the canteen has moved to another place still on the same street. Upon my visit though, I can only see it as a shadow of its former self.

That day was a hot afternoon and my long ride down from Kampung Daun after lunch had been quite exhausting. Actually I drove a car but it’d be lovely to find a good place to cool down and enjoy a good, stone cold dessert! I had to thank a friend of mine who reminded me about Kantin Sakinah and immediately it became my target practice for another adventure!

Well, truth be told, I’m not an avid fan of durian. The King of Fruit has some health issues and people really have an issue about it when it comes to cravings, especially during the real season of durian bangkok – the best of its kind. A medical practitioner who I trust tells me that God creates different fruit for different season for a good reason, but human nowadays just can’t seem to get enough of certain fruits only harvested once or twice a year. Then we created any kind of agricultural innovations to get these fruits come out more often but the result for health may not be good. I heard some cases that when people combine the fruits from the wrong season with the current ones, then the result may be hazardous if consumed excessively. Well, that requires further research and fact-finding. For me, it’s about consuming it normally and naturally. It’ll be well from there.

Anyway, in Es Durian (Kantin Sakinah)’s case, the durian is available all the time and since I rarely eat the fruit, one treat or two should be okay for now. What surprised me was that the serving of es durian (durian served cold) here has many unlikely combinations. There’s one combined with condensed milk and grated cheddar cheese, avocado and coconut, plain, coconut milk and sugar, and many more.

Es Durian
Es Durian

For a starter, I decided to order the most ‘polluted’ one – es durian with condensed milk, grated cheese and chocolate sprinkles. It was quite nice as the durian was always pleasant, served cold which was wonderful, and the combination of the condiments were good. Certainly one didn’t overpower the others. It was simply pleasant, unlike the excessively seasoned instant noodles or toasts back at Madtari on Dago.

But the best one for me was actually not all about durian but it’s about the good mixture of sliced fruits, condiments, and topped with a luscious piece of The King. The sliced fruits were of good chemistry between mango, watermelon, avocado, and coconut with condiments such as condensed milk, grass jelly, and sago pearls – very refreshing, nutritious but also indulging.

I spoke a bit later with the attendant and found out that the once-so-famous stall has seen its heyday. What once good businesses of three branches have now diminished and what remains is this one only. The hawkers’ center where it resided now is actually quite pleasant and clean but that time, which was around 1 or 2 pm, I didn’t see all that camaraderie again where people queue a long line just to get these wonderful desserts.

Hopefully, everything will be well again in the future as I will be quite shocked if one day they decided to just quit. Let’s see where it goes from now but one thing for sure, I will be coming back from time to time there. Not too often, but a prudent, healthy dose of durian will do me good anytime of the year!

—–

Must eat: Es durian of any kind

Price: IDR 10,000

Address: Jalan Tubagus Ismail I no. 6 (inside a small hawkers center)

Opening hours: Everyday, morning to evening

Il Signor Visionario, Mario Batali (Dreams, Vol III / Issue 4 – 2013)

Mario Batali
Mario Batali

An accomplished chef, a proud New Yorker and a passionate foodie, celebrity chef Mario Batali shared with us his epicurean dreams like a true Italian signore.

He started his culinary career from scratch, Mario Batali paved his way brilliantly to the top.  He began as a dishwasher then moving up to become a kitchen assistant back in England under Marco Pierre White’s leadership. He then moved to France to further hone his craft, until he was confident enough to move back to the US, and become sous chef for Four Seasons hotels. His love for cooking was inspired by his beloved grandmother, who instilled in him since his youth, a love for Italian cuisine. In search for the truest form of the cuisine, he then decided to cast away his career in the US just to become an apprentice again in a very small town in Italy. There, he committed himself to learn the cuisine in its simplest form – honest and traditional.

His move proved to be strategic. After some time learning the true Italian way of cooking, he returned to finally open his flagship restaurant ‘Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca’ in New York. Babbo received many accolades and he rose to prominence in an instant with his Italian wizardry. Since then, together with his faithful business partner Joe Bastianich, popularly known as the harsh US MasterChef judge, they solidified their style of Italian cuisine with many notable openings in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.

It’s a fast ride down the highway for Mario from then on. Not only did he become known as chef or restaurateur, he also became a media personality, starring in many TV shows, documentaries, and even featured in a movie and a computer game.

Despite some controversies throughout his career, one can sense right away from his immense confidence and knowledge, his natural abilities of public speaking, and his quick wits that attract everyone to him. Not to mention of course, his eccentric style of wearing shorts and kitchen clogs anywhere he goes! He’s simply the star of the show anywhere.

I was lucky enough to be able to converse with him a bit with during his visit for Jakarta Culinary Festival 2012.  He spoke a mile a minute and we covered so many topics in a short period of time.  Asking him about what he and his fellow New Yorkers are eating now: ‘The food of Southeast Asia is exactly that!’, he exclaimed after explaining that lately Asian cuisine drives New Yorkers into frenzy for its sharp flavors and authenticity. ‘People no longer want to spend four hours in their uncomfortable business clothes eating good food but paying too much’, said Mario specifically noting the waning age of super fancy fine-dining restaurants and on the other side admired how Asians in West nowadays successfully reinterpreting their cuisines and gaining immense popularity.

That is precisely what he had prophesied since the very beginning. His vision to introduce the traditional Italian food has now become so in line with the current trends. At this age, everybody wants it simple and affordable but still delicious, everybody wants the camaraderie but they’re also not hesitant to share the fun even to strangers. With this, the West sets its eyes on Asia and that’s also why Mario decided to expand his business overseas, and have set their targets on Singapore and Hong Kong.

“The Amalfi coast. The food, the people, the accessibility, and the water are just perfect. I just like being on a boat, I like eating linguine with clams, and I like eating scampi.’’ – Mario Batali

My trip recent trip to Marina Bay Sands alongside fellow journalists to visit his first restaurant in Asia was a pleasant one. The Osteria and Pizzeria Mozza presented us with dishes equal to what Mario had been conceptualizing so far – hearty, sumptuous, and rustic. The fried potatoes with ceci and herbs was a fine introduction – simple, crisp, and rich, meanwhile another creative opener comprised of Little Gem lettuce, Gorgonzola cheese, red onions and dates was just irresistible. The main dishes were of course, pizza! The Pizzeria Mozza’s head chef Ms Karla Mendoza devised us with probably the best ever margherita pizza ever and a delicious mushroom pizza. To end the lovely lunch, the classic cannoli di ricotta was really fulfilling.

During that lunch, we were bounded in a friendly, warm atmosphere as if we’re all old friends but in truth we might not be able to see each other again everyday even when we’re back in Jakarta. The beautiful dishes simply glued us all!

Mario Batalia - Pizzeria Mozza

Business-wise, the reason behind Mario’s existence in Asia was because a guy named Zack Allen, his visionary culinary director, whom his wisdom and greatness are followed by Mario without question. While Hong Kong and Singapore are among the most conducive cities in Asia to start a business especially for Americans, Mario admitted that his recent visit to Jakarta was also an enlightening experience to one day seek the possibility of introducing himself deeper here.

During the session, we were also talking about his dream culinary destination. ‘I like places that not too many Americans have been where the food is traditional, thoughtful, and speak of the soil that it grows from’, he said. But much to his surprise, his first time in Jakarta was colored by an important experience of savoring Indonesian cuisine in a way that’s complicated, complex, and poetic, which was very much different than the one he had tasted back home.

He further described his dream culinary destination, ‘For me I’m not as necessarily interested in visiting three-star Michelin restaurants. I’m more interested in spending three weeks in Bhutan and tasting the local food and seeing the way people appreciate and approach their sensibility and spirituality in everything that they do. That for me is more interesting’.

The way he described his favorite culinary destination was also no less poetic. He simply answered, ‘The Amalfi coast. The food, the people, the accessibility, and the water are just perfect. I just like being on a boat, I like eating linguine with clams, and I like eating scampi. But anyway, I’d be very happy to go back to Hong Kong any day and now, Jakarta’.

Me & MB

———-

Pictures courtesy of Dreams Media and Mario Batali

Featured in Dreams magazine – Cravings Edition, January – February 2013