Category Archives: Surabaya

Quikskoop™: Bakerzin (Farrago Indonesia & Plaza Indonesia – Nov 1, 2013)


Merasakan sejumput kesenangan tatkala menikmati berbagai sajian dessert segar dan menggoda di saat sinar matahari tengah terik-teriknya adalah dambaan siapapun di Jakarta. Satu kunjungan saya ke Bakerzin saat itu menjawab apa yang saya cari, bahkan apa yang saya lewatkan selama ini. Berlokasi di bagian ekstensi Plaza Indonesia, Bakerzin tampil berdampingan dengan restoran-restoran terpilih lainnya di mall tersebut.

Warm Melted Chocolate
Warm Melted Chocolate

Bakerzin sendiri terkenal sebagai restoran dengan pilihan menu yang ekstensif namun dengan sentuhan halus keahlian memasak seorang pastry chef dengan nama Daniel Tay asal Singapura sebagai sang kreatornya. Buku menu tebalnya yang berisikan foto-foto makanan yang menggiurkan saya tapaki halaman demi halaman hingga mencapai bagian dessert. Siang itu saya melayangkan pilihan pada Warm Melted Chocolate yang selalu menjadi kesukaan pribadi dan keluarga saya.

Bayangkan saja sebongkah kue coklat yang terlihat kokoh, namun tatkala kita membelah kue tersebut maka mengalirlah coklat kental dari dalam sebagai faktor wow yang tidak mungkin ditolak siapapun! Tidak hanya itu, sang kue coklat tersebut ditemani juga dengan es krim vanilla manis dan orange confit di bawahnya untuk member rasa segar. Selebihnya, saus berry dan buah-buahannya mengelilingi bintang utama dessert tersebut.

Blue Passion Macaron
Blue Passion Macaron
Lavender Italian Soda
Lavender Italian Soda

Sebagai pendampingnya, minuman segar khas racikan Bakerzin tampil dengan cantiknya. Siang itu tersaji di meja saya dua jenis minuman yang menggunakan berbagai bahan eksotis sebagai formulanya.

Pertama adalah Blue Passion Macaron Drink yang berisikan sirup blue curacao, lemon, soda, dan dihiasi blue curacao macaron yang ternyata sangat lezat! Sebagai seseorang yang sebetulnya bukan penggemar macaron, ternyata formula dari Bakerzin begitu cocok dengan saya. Tekstur yang terdapat pada macaron terasa sangat tepat dan aplikasi rasa blue curacao ternyata menjadi varian menarik di antara belasan yang tersedia di Bakerzin. Sebagai penutup, saya juga mencicipi satu gelas Italian Soda yang berisikan sirup lavender yang begitu unik dan wangi dan diiringi rasa lime yang melengkapi kesegaran yang saya cari siang itu. How refreshing!

Bakerzin (PI) - Main Counter




Some menu are suitable for vegetarians

Address & RSVP:
Singapore, Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, and Medan

Opening hours:
Everyday, mall opening hours


Spend: IDR 75,000 – IDR 150,000 / person

Staycation: Sheraton Surabaya Hotel & Towers – Surabaya, Indonesia (Starwood)

Surabaya oh Surabaya…

Thou art far and yet visiting you is indeed a rare chance for me. The funny thing is that most of the time, everybody can be sure about when to visit Bali, but that’s not the case for the rest of Indonesia. Even so, my visit last time to the city was a big jaw drop as not only Surabaya is probably the most well taken care provincial capital in the whole country but the city has so many things to explore!

It all started with a long journey from Jakarta by car for the whole 24 hours and a night stay at a youth hostel on the suburbs of Surabaya first. After me and the whole family finished our original mission to attend a wedding of relatives there, we spent another night at another hotel first before finally seeing Sheraton Surabaya on a one fine Sunday morning.

Sheraton Surabaya - Lobby

The positioning of the hotel is golden but proved elusive as one may easily came across without knowing that it’s actually there. For first timer like me who came to Surabaya, you really need to see the hotel quick  on the left side after turning left to Jalan Embong Malang from Jalan Basuki Rahmat. The problem is that when you’re coming from Jalan Tunjungan from the north side and turn right to Jalan Embong Malang, you have to cut through the traffic immediately because you gonna have to detour again quite far just to go back here if you miss it.

However that Sunday, it wasn’t meant to be easy for us. The combination of long weekend, a fully-booked hotel, and adjoining famous shopping mall made it hard for me just to find a single parking space for the car. The main entrance was jammed and all the valet parking staffs were occupied. It was unfortunate that Sheraton Surabaya couldn’t manage to assign extra effort for this part as the welcoming party of every guest, no matter how small, has always been very important.

For example, a smile from the greeter, a helpful bell boy, and that feeling when you know that everything has been taken care of are all so essential. Even my visit several years ago to one of the busiest business hotel in Singapore was very indulging. There’s always someone to open your car door, to ask whether you required an assistance with your luggage, and somebody who led me to the receptionist desk were without doubt what we all need from a five-star hotel no matter how busy the circumstances in the front entrance and the lobby. It was unfortunate but I do hope that from this, they will see to it immediately. On a lighter note though, the boss of the parking valet staffs was still very helpful in the end and eventually my car was taken care of well.

Sheraton Surabaya - Club Room Sheraton Surabaya - Executive Suite Living Room

From there, it’s pretty much a fast lane. A swift and precise service from the reception, the helpful bell boy was there, and a neat room kicked in. I was actually hoping for a different atmosphere of the room such as the one I had back in Sheraton Bandung but then I realize that the one in Surabaya was of a different character. They did manage to renovate the interiors like 5 years ago and that’s still considered as quite recent. Somehow, I found the older version felt warmer and more traditional while the newer version, which I stayed in, was a bit awkward. It wasn’t felt old but not necessarily modern.

Sheraton Surabaya - Guest Bathroom

But anyway, I had exactly all what I need from a room. Spacious, a highly comfortable bed, sufficient internet connection, and commendable cleanliness. However, even though the room has undergone a renovation, I still found that Sheraton Surabaya still clings with the old design for the bathroom, especially that nowadays many hotels have already adapted the rain shower but not here. Also, this may be small but also important, I found that every television in the rooms all over the hotel cannot be tilted at all, but I bet Sheraton Surabaya has its own reason for that. Even so, I’d love to have my television adjustable from every angle and direction that I want.

Sheraton Surabaya - Kafe Bromo Entrance Sheraton Surabaya - Kafe Bromo All Day Dining

The breakfast next day was a satisfactory. It was a full-house at Kafe Bromo but the breakfast spread was decent and replenished every time, although the variations may be quite conservative. We were seated on the porch, overlooking the swimming pool, and it was actually a good experience. Surabaya in the morning during my three nights spent there were quite pleasant with its relatively cool air and Sheraton Surabaya provided a good atmosphere around the restaurant to make it more comfortable for the patrons.

Sheraton Surabaya - Club Lounge Sheraton Surabaya - Swimming Pool

Afterwards, a short tour around the premise was filled with curiosity and satisfaction. Sheraton Surabaya is a vast hotel and well-equipped with almost everything from a specialty restaurant aside from the all-dining, great recreational/sports facilities, and nearby to almost anywhere good around Surabaya. I had my share of lontong balap for dinner and it was just nearby. Just across the street, you’d find the legendary rawon setan or you could choose to enjoy the shopping mall if you’re too lazy to scour this beautiful city around. As for me, I was hoping to extend my stay here but then again, we were off schedule and had to return back to Jakarta immediately.

Sheraton Surabaya - Gym

To sum it all up, my one night stay here was a good one and everything was up to my expectation, except the arrival problems I mentioned earlier. Also, I didn’t have the chance to taste the food at Lung Yuan , Sheraton Surabaya’s Chinese restaurant, due to the tight schedule but there’s always a next time for this city. Also, another thing that I won’t miss should I again visit Sheraton is to experience the tennis court and the jogging track around it. Or even perhaps the Pakuwon’s golf course for a change of view? Well, I’ll just have to find out next time!



Jl. Embong Malang 25-31, Surabaya – Indonesia
T: +62.31.546.8000



Images courtesy of Sheraton Surabaya Hotel & Towers

Quikskoop™: Nasi Empal Pengampon

Nasi Empal
Nasi Empal

If it wasn’t for my two foodie friends recommendations, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea for my dinner that evening. Well, I had my share of good crispy empal back at Rumah Makan Ria for lunch and I liked it a lot! So then I was thinking, why not having it again for dinner? And off we went for Nasi Empal Pengampon!

Looking for Jalan Pengampon may be a bit tricky since there are two one way roads on the left and right side of the river that runs through Surabaya, yet each time there’s an intersection the name of the street changes. Anyway, just maintain your trust to the infamous GPS and you’ll have this big city inside your tiny hands.

Nasi Empal Pengampon is located inside an alley not far from the main road and it kinda reminds me of Mr Asui back at Pangkal Pinang of Bangka Island during my trip earlier this year. It’s pretty much the same genre which is Chinese cuisine  but much to my surprise, Nasi Empal Pengampon serves non-halal food. I can’t really say much since I brought the whole family who happens to be quite strict with this rule but luckily, one of the staffs in his own initiative ensured us that only the rice dishes (nasi empal, nasi babat, nasi empal babat, and probably the bubur ayam as well) are safe and halal.

So it’s basically a nasi rames or rice with sides and definitely, it’s the empal that stars the whole show. Empal or gepuk in Sundanese is basically available everywhere from hawkers to five-star Indonesian restaurants but to find a place that boasts its finesse in making it, well it’s a must try anywhere. Made from beef of particular part in the thigh, the meat undergoes ‘severe beating’ and soaked in reduction of its own juice with many other herbs, delicious gula jawa, and finally the coconut milk. Lastly, you fry the meat and shred it horizontally. There you have it, empal suwir or shredded empal in Anglaise. But to note, the steps I told you earlier may vary in several sequences or differ in ingredients but nonetheless the result is the same, a tender yet sweet beef with a hint of crispiness and deep flavor.

At Nasi Empal Pengampon, the rice and empal are combined with sautéed vegetables, potato chips, cucumbers, and a very spicy sambal. It’s all very fulfilling and quite satisfying taste-wise, but I bet you gonna have your seconds! To note again, other Chinese style dishes are non-halal so you gotta be careful or just simply pick the safe rice dishes. Give it a try then!


NON HALAL (except the rice dishes)

Must eat: Nasi empal, nasi empal babat, bubur ayam

Price: IDR 12,000 (nasi empal)


Jalan Pengampon  – Surabaya, East Java – Indonesia

Jalan Dewi Sartika 7B – Batu, East Java – Indonesia

Opening hours: TBA

Quikskoop™: Lontong Balap Pak Gendut

Lontong Balap Pak Gendut - PrepSurabaya oh Surabaya. My second time and I fell for the city. It’s a prime example for  big cities in Indonesia with friendlier traffic, excellent road marks, good city lighting, with relatively clean city and river (at this point Bandung and Jakarta are currently a joke). Not to mention of course, plenty of good eats and being one of them is clearly, the amazing and traditional Lontong Balap!

What I thought as something familiar to Jakarta’s ‘ketoprak’ and West Java’s ‘kupat tahu’ was very much different as lontong balap offers a new perspective in rice cake genre, apart from the inseparable companions of tahu (fried bean curd) and tauge (bean sprouts). Literally means ‘racing rice cake’ derived from its history where the original sellers were racing against one another until the finish post at a certain historic market in Surabaya for reasons I’m still looking for, but what matters is all the immense flavors it presents.

Lontong Balap
Lontong Balap

Lontong balap is soupy, a symbolic difference than its comrades back in the western part of Java that use peanut sauce, and tastes quite sweet with a hint of savory owing from the beef broth. But first of all, huge chunks of rice cakes are placed in order with the bean curds and (a lot) of bean sprouts first. Other interesting addition is the use of crushed lentho – a mixture of cowpeas and other herbs made into balls and fried, which tasted quite unique – almost as if I’m having a fried potato fritters (prekedel kentang) that my auntie often made back home.

Lastly, all of these beautiful mess are soaked in the soup, topped with bawang goreng (fried shallots) and the indispensable sambal petis (with a mixture of shrimp fermentation) to give the friendly spicy kick. Add this rustic beauty with a bunch of clam satay, also a local delicacy that tastes sweet and gives an extra feel of the sea to the already seemingly simple, but rich in flavor dish!

Sate Kerang
Sate Kerang

As why I particularly picked Lontong Balap Pak Gendut (literally translated as ‘Mr Fatty Racing Rice Cake’)?

It’s one of Surabaya’s finest and I was lucky to be their last patron of the day, otherwise I don’t know when I’ll be able to taste this slice of heaven again. Missing it already!!


Must eat: Lontong Balap and Sate Kerang

Price: IDR 10,000

Address: Jalan Kranggan – Surabaya, East Java – Indonesia

Opening hours: 9.30 am – 9.30 pm

FCK™: Fish & Co. (Hang Out Jakarta, April 2012)

Fish & Co. tentu bukan nama yang asing lagi di Jakarta dan Surabaya. Bisa jadi karena kehadirannya, semua orang kini sudah mengenal baik istilah ‘fish and chips’. Setelah pemunculannya selama sekian tahun, HOJ kini mencari tahu bagaimanakah konsistensi dari franchise brand asal Singapura ini.

Pertemuan pertama saya dengan Fish and Co. terjadi beberapa tahun silam di salah satu outlet-nya di Pacific Place. Tentunya menu waktu itu belum seberagam seperti sekarang ini tapi tetap yang harus dipesan adalah hidangan fish and chips yang paling tradisional. Rasanya saat itu tentu begitu memesona dan apalagi di kala lapar pasti porsi sebesar itu dapat dihabiskan hingga licin tandas.  Tapi bagaimanakah dengan Fish and Co. yang sekarang?

Ternyata teori pribadi saya bahwa lidah adalah ‘pengkhianat terbesar’ dalam seumur hidup seorang manusia memang benar adanya but rest assured, tentu bukan karena bahwa Fish and Co. mengalami kemerosotan rasa apalagi kualitas. Justru ini terjadi lidah manusia umunya seiring berjalannya waktu kian ‘terasah’ dan untuk pecinta makanan, sudah sangat alami untuk menuntut sebuah rasa yang lebih menantang atau bahkan kompleks.

New York Fish & Chips

Kali ini yang dipesan tentunya sama tapi fish and chips di Fish and Co. sudah terdiri dari beberapa varian yang disesuaikan dengan karakteristik berdasarkan negara. Perbedaannya lebih terdapat pada isian ikan tersebut yang menggunakan jenis keju yang berbeda, tapi tentu default-nya berada pada pilihan New York Fish & Chips yang menggunakan isi keju parmesan pada ikannya yang dibalut tepung renyah serta disiram dengan saus lemon butter. To make it even more colorful, pendampingnya kali ini kita bisa memilih antara french fries, mashed potato, atau paella.

Tapi untuk sekaligus menjajal ‘semua’ yang dimiliki oleh Fish and Co., pilihan yang paling bijak tentunya adalah seafood platter dimana terdapat tambahan ikan, grilled squids with ‘black’ spices dan udang dalam satu hidangan sekaligus. Selain itu serunya juga adalah berkesempatan mencicipi paella yang digabungkan juga dengan kentang goreng.

So it’s the verdict time then. Secara keseluruhan semua menu yang tersedia kini semakin beragam dan menarik, selain juga Fish and Co. senang bermain-main pada eksperimen bumbu dan rempah dari berbagai negara. Meskipun secara pelayanan masih menunjukkan pengetahuan baik tetapi mereka tidak ingat untuk memberitahukan sejak awal apa-apa saja menu yang saat itu tidak tersedia.

Seafood Platter for 1

Sebagai contoh ikan halibut tidak tersedia dengan alasan pasokannya sedang mengalami kesulitan. Meskipun bila diperhatikan sebetulnya para pengunjung rata-rata bermain aman dengan memesan fish and chips yang paling standar ketimbang memesan kepiting atau ikan salmon yang harganya terlalu menjulang. Tentu ini bukan menjadi alasan untuk tidak menginformasikan tentang availability produk pada hari tersebut.

Secara rasa sendiri sebetulnya tidak terlalu banyak kejutan dan bersaing ketat dengan pemain lainnya seperti Manhattan Fish Market namun tentu yang didapatkan juga rasanya tidak mengecewakan. Sehingga tidak heran Fish and Co. mampu bertahan sekian lama karena selalu saja ada pengunjung yang ingin big treat or something nostalgic, like me for instance. Dengan budaya menikmati fish and chips dalam takaran ukuran, variasi, dan kualitas seperti yang ditawarkan Fish and Co. ternyata masih cukup langka di Jakarta, bukan tidak mungkin usaha ini akan bertahan sangat lama dan selalu menjadi favorit untuk semua orang.



Halal-friendly (not yet certified)
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address: Various locations in Jakarta and Surabaya
Opening Hours: Mall opening hours
Delivery: N/A
Facebook: FishnCoINDO
Twitter: @FishnCoINDO
Spend: Around IDR 200,000 – IDR 250,000 for two


-Featured in HANG OUT JAKARTA April 2012 edition-

Pictures courtesy of Fish & Co. Indonesia