TGA Milestone: Concerns, Thoughts, and Side Jobs

Hello, my dear readers. I’d like to announce few things regarding my blog. You see, it’s been a while since I last posted something but there are some reasons behind that.

First of all, I’m now really into my new blog which actually hasn’t been yet published on a grand opening scale but you can actually read it a bit in:
>> http://daytripswashbuckler.wordpress.com
or here
>> http://travelpod.com/members/pokamamil

It’s quite a time consuming process and it’s not quite finished yet but you’re very welcomed to visit the sites.

Secondly, I received several concerns about my judgment for every places that I visited especially regarding to the scores. It’s only my thought, but I’m actually considering to drop the scoring since it’s a bit misleading.

Why’s that?

It’s actually because of my nature. I have actually introduced myself and my characters all over my writings but it seems that when it comes to scoring, people still think that either I gave the score too low or they’re discouraged by my scores. Well, the place and the food may be decent for most people, but perhaps I was a bit harsh in judging and that’s making people scared to come to the place. So it’s still a thought, but I’m considering it seriously.

And finally, I wish to also change a bit about the way I’m wrapping my writings. I might add more information there, such as for instance, Recommended Menu or Credit Card Availability or something like that. Plus I’ll improve my posts with links for things I deem necessary.

Perhaps that’s it for now, so please wait for my next posts and of course, I shall return with an improved version and definitely, still harsh as ever.

Thanks!

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QuikSkoop™: Menega Café

What’s one of the best things you can do in Bali? Relate this to my blog, my specialty, then it’s gonna be to spend a great time watching the sunset eating the frutti di mare in Jimbaran, Bali! So we spend one afternoon going there, turning right after the main road to find the so-called seafood restaurants corner just behind the Four Seasons Hotel, Jimbaran. Park your car there and pick the place you wanna eat. My friends who had visited the place earlier recommended the Menega Cafe right away. So the next part was to select the food.

Fresh from the sea and from an unpolluted sea, that’s what seafood lovers expect of right? Anyway, as if anybody cares as long as it’s tasty! So among all lovely creatures offered, we (7 of us) chose 0.5 kgs of king prawns, 0.8 kgs of squids, 1.5 kgs of shellfishes, and 1.2 kgs of yellow crazy fish (darn.. I forgot the Indonesian word for it). Well, since it was still around 4 PM, we instructed them to serve the dishes around 5 PM.

We played around the beach, got our feet drenched a bit, took many photographs, and spent a good time since it’s our first time together in Bali. It was our first day and we gonna move from beaches to beaches but that was one quite memorable. Meanwhile it’s closing to 5 PM yet there’s no sign of sunset at all! It was still bright and we should’ve asked them to serve it around 6 PM.

Fried Squids
Grilled Shellfishes
Kangkung Plecing
Grilled King Prawns
Grilled Yellow Crazy Fish

Since we haven’t had our lunch, we tucked in greedily and said ‘Sunset? Whatever!’. Haha.. We had all of them grilled leaving only the squids fried. The dishes decorated beautifully and made us almost spilled the saliva to the ground. We’re also given several plates of kangkung plecing, a traditional Lombok dish (popularized by Balinese) made of kangkong or water spinach dipped in a special Indonesian sambal terasi or chilis mixed up with shrimp paste, served fresh.

The best part was the shellfish, grilled with greasy butter that made them appears very intriguing and it was heavenly! The fish was good also, they divided it into two horizontal parts and removed the bones completely. The grilled prawns were also delicious! But unfortunately, the fried calamaris were not that good, so it was up to me to finish it. LOL. Anyway, I recommend you to make it all grilled if you happen to visit the place.

You can see the busyness of every restaurant there after 5 PM. They brought out the tables, chairs, plates, and every other dining utensils. The customers came out around before the sunset up until night, so that’s indeed the best time to dine there and certainly not in the afternoon though they open like all day long.

Forgot the damage done to our wallet, it need to be mention everywhere actually. So, for 7 of us plus the drinks, the totals were IDR 339,500! That’s quite cheap though many places offer the same level or even more delicious seafood, but Menega certainly offers you better. The beach view, the sunset, the beautiful dishes, the smoke gets in your eyes (they grill and fill the air with smokes!) but not to forget, the romance in the air. ^^

LOCATION:

Jl. Four Seasons Hotel Muaya Beach, Jimbaran – Bali

WEBSITE:

http://www.menega.com/cafe

Restaurant Review: Waraku

Kaminabe Wazen

I need to remind you that this Waraku is not the same as Pasta de Waraku though they’re products of a certain company from Singapore and available for franchise. Pasta de Waraku franchise right was bought by Ismaya Group, but for this Waraku I have no idea. Well, it’s as if that important and already too many ‘Waraku’ words mentioned so it gets annoying. But however, this new installment in Grand Indonesia seemed to be interesting since they have the same attractions in front of the joint similar with Pasta de Waraku, attractive and colorful foods made out of wax I suppose. We browsed the menu first and they got almost everything from Japanese dishes! Including some of those I haven’t seen before. After further deliberations, we decided to try it out.

Once inside, it’s not really Japanese anymore. Well, Pasta de Waraku was not that Japanese style interior restaurant also but much cozier. I don’t really like this place, it’s too open (I prefer a warm atmosphere no matter how busy the place is) and I can’t get myself along with the place. I got this so-called chemistry between me and the place. It’s different if it’s a hawker, but if you own a permanent place and you got like the whole money in the world then make it so! Make the food genre you offer get along with your place. It’s like nowadays KFC, I hate the place and I hate the fact that they promote newbie bands with their annoying music and it disturbs you a lot while you’re eating there. I know it’s only a fast food chain, but those facts really bother me a lot and I prefer to take my meals back home.

Whan an extensive menu they had there! So I was looking for a somewhat rare dish that not every Japanese restaurant in Jakarta can offer. For instance, it’s rare to find kamameshi or an unagi yanagawa dishes and certainly not in the famous joints like Sushi Tei or Sushi Groove!

Gyu Kaminabe

Since ma cherie wanted a bowl of ramen, therefore I suggested her a strange variant of it, Ishiyaki Chige Ramen (IDR 49,800). Whilst I, took a serious interest about this new wonder for me, a kaminabe dish. Kaminabe is one from many nabemono dishes, a soup with many ingredients from meat, seafood, and veggies in a hotpot usually made from cast iron or clay. But this kaminabe is different, instead from a cast iron or clay, it’s made up from a paper! You can also pick from 3 kinds of broth. It was wafuu, chige, and miso. I chose chige and the waitress said it was made from beef broth.

Straight to the taste, this kaminabe was surprisingly good and has the ability to keep the food warm and even hot at some stage! It’s lit up with fire until it extinguishes itself eventually. I picked the Kaminabe Wazen (IDR 88,000), using the meat and veggies only but you can pick the seafood version if you want to. This set comes with tempura and sashimi so I can taste a glimpse of the other dishes. Well, next time I’d pick the kaminabe only since the rest was just so-so. While my partner’s ramen was quite good at first with the squids and the egg helping the taste of the spicy chige broth, but the taste declines as time goes by and she even tucked in on my dish instead. I’m not putting the picture of this ramen also since it resembles Indomie with egg a lot! Haha..

Well, it’s a good place to try many dishes of Japanese cuisine in the same place, but I didn’t feel like at home no matter how Japanese the dishes might be. I also particularly feel that the kitchen wasn’t ran by a Japanese chef though I haven’t got any clue though for this ‘accusation’. Anyway, it’s a decent place for beginners and for those who haven’t tried a kaminabe like me for instance. As for the rest, I pronounce.. Average.

The Judgment (based on scale of 10 score plus the comments):

1. PRICE (5/10)

Calculation Method

GT = (Principle Price + (Principle Price x Service Tax)) x Restaurant Tax

– Service Tax = 5% (Decent service)

– Grand Total = IDR 181,010 (2 people)

2. INTERIOR (5/10)

No matter how casual the theme, it’s just too bland to see..

3. SERVICE (5/10)

Quite helpful, though one of them had said that using Debit Card was accepted but turned out that it’s not allowed. What the!

4. TASTE (5/10)

The kaminabe was great, but the ramen did not meet my standard. I assume the rest might be doomed for that also.

5. OVERALL (5/10)

Additional Information:

Location :

  • Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall, Jakarta
  • Taman Anggrek Mall, Jakarta
  • Pondok Indah Mall, Jakarta
  • Many other outlets around the world

Website : http://www.waraku.com.sg/

Restaurant Review: Pizza e Birra

Running out of ideas for lunch in Central Jakarta, we went (again) to Plaza Indonesia for more options. We were thinking about Pepper Lunch again or perhaps trying the all new Food Kulture, but then she gave the idea for either Japanese or Italian lunch. So we set aside Food Kulture for now and as we had browsed the menu and gotten interested in it, we picked Pizza e Birra. The place turned out to be one of the famous joints owned by Ismaya Group, a very prominent group that owns Social House, Puro, Blowfish, Dragonfly, Pasta de Waraku, Sushi Groove, etc.

The design of the place was like a secret dining place in an abandoned building because you can see the walls decorated with windows shut by planks and indeed you can see planks at almost everywhere. The bar itself was dominated with planks. But as you walk further in, the atmosphere getting much calmer because it gets secluded somehow from passerbys in front of the joint and they got sofas too with the exceptional view to Thamrin Street.

The waiters/waitresses were also well-behaved and helpful. I figure that Ismaya Group always held their high standards above all. You can judge it easily from the looks of their website. Very neat and colorful. Plus if you’re coming to the venues (I had visited Social House, Pasta de Waraku, and Sushi Groove earlier) and you’ll see the similarities they have. It’s what I called the whole package. Starting from the plates, the tissues, the uniforms, and everything was planned and designed as one. It feels like they’re creating the whole new trademark with this. No doubt they really do serious business and will one day expand overseas.

Okay, that’s from the packaging. How about the most important issue from all? The food itself! So that time was the lunchtime, we’re very fond of Italian, and since it’s named Pizza e Birra, then everything’s matched well. We picked one from the special menu for that time and it was the Pizza Meat Heaven Large Size (IDR 69,000).

Pizza Meat Heaven Large Size

I was thinking to also add a pasta dish but since it’s gonna be too heavy for both of us, adding an appetizer instead seem to be nice that time. I saw the chili con carne dishes for the appetizer and I instantly wanted it at once since I really had been wanting to taste it since I played The Sims 2. Haha.. chili con carne was another Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine. You can simply call it a beef stew but in a more Mexican way with those chilis and beans. Should be delicious! Among the selections, I picked Blue Cheese Royale Chili con Carne (IDR 39,000).

Blue Cheese Royale Chili con Carne

For the drinks, no beers of course though they say that Pizza and Beer were a match made in heaven. We chose instead the coffee and the big size iced lemon tea. Those were Southern Ice Lemon Tea (IDR 18,000) and Iced Irish Cream Cappuccino (IDR 33,000).

Iced Irish Cream Cappuccino

The chili con carne arrived first. They added the french fries in it though originally they add tortilla with it. One might say that it’s a chili, chips, and cheese but using the melted blue cheese on it and you know what, it a truly heavenly magnificently tasty dish. Forgive the obsessive hyperbolic grammar, but it was indeed delicious! It’s even good enough as a proper main dish. You just can’t stop digging it. It was rich, thick, sinful, and of course, succulent! You gotta try this one though I honestly believe the blue cheese really help a lot with the taste. So I’d recommend you to pick the one I had.

Southern Iced Lemon Tea

As for the pizza, it was surprisingly average. Well, anybody would’ve been very familiar with pizza and the toppings I had was beef in many forms like the ones they named Meat Lovers in Pizza Hut. Even so, we always put the olive oil and parmesan in any Italian dishes we had no matter how bland or tasty they were. Aside from pizza, they also provide pasta, calzone, panini, and dessert pizza. That would be a good alternative for me next time actually since the pizza wasn’t that special.

Overall, to conclude this fairly friendly post from me, Pizza e Birra was a decent place to be visited. The price was quite friendly and the taste was quite decent. Clearly, the chili con carne saved the day and the coffee yet the lemon tea were also good but since they put the name PIZZA e BIRRA, supposedly the pizza should be good right? They need to improve in this or else in my next visit, rage will rule the day.

The Judgment (based on scale of 10 score plus the comments):

1. PRICE (5/10)

Calculation Method

GT = (Principle Price + (Principle Price x Service Tax)) x Restaurant Tax

– Service Tax = 5% (Lucky the service was good)

– Grand Total = IDR 183,645 (2 people)

2. INTERIOR (6.5/10)

Not really my style though comfy enough.

3. SERVICE (6.5/10)

It was good and they’re knowledgeable about the menu which was very helpful.

4. TASTE (5.5/10)

Too bad the pizza was so-so but the chili con carne was amazing!

5. OVERALL (5.875/10)

You should instead change into Chili con Carne e Birra if you can’t improve the taste.

Additional Information:

Location : Plaza Indonesia Extension, 5th Fl., Unit E-22

Other locations are also available now (updates TBA)

Website : http://www.ismayagroup.com/pizzaebirra/

Kahvehane: Kopi Lay

Early morning in Bandung has always been cool and nice, but we bid our time until the sun shone up a bit and off we go to the place at around 8 AM. I’ve been dying to have a good kopitiam style breakfast in Bandung and from what it seem, Kopi Lay seem to resemble Kopitiam Oey in some way. It was just a hunch and a correct one of course! Exactly what to expect from an aficionado in gastronomy like me right?

Here’s the story. When we arrived, the place was quite huge. Resided in a renovated old colonial Dutch house, Kopi Lay coexists together with Sagoo Kitchen. The difference between those two was perhaps Kopi Lay specializes only as kopitiam style dining like Ya Kun Kaya Toastwich or Kopitiam Oey from what I said before, while Sagoo Kitchen provides the mixtures of Indonesian and Chinese culinary heritage dishes.

I shall review Sagoo Kitchen later since it opens at 10 AM so I haven’t had the chance to try it out. Judging from the pricelist though, it’s not that friendly since it was cheaper back then in Kopitiam Oey and for God sake, this place is in Bandung!! So you can actually make it cheaper. Just because you’re nearby the famous Cafe Bali of Bandung and Suis Butcher so you can continue this insolence! Well.. well.. I haven’t reviewed it yet but these prejudices (from an aficionado) have already marred their reputations. So beware, if you can’t make me satisfy in other parts, I’ll be sure to make you suffer.

Okay, the menu in Kopi Lay wasn’t that particularly extensive. They only provide coffee, tea, toasts, and buns. That’s it! It’s actually okay if you can understand what a kopitiam is and the price tag they put on the dishes, so if you got any objection about it since you got used of having big dish of rice for your breakfast, hey.. that’s your loss. Whatever..

Kopi C

The price ranging from IDR 10,000 to IDR 15,000. I chose the Toast Smoked Beef Telor (IDR 14,900) plus Kopi C (IDR 14,900). Kopi C was actually coffee with evaporated milk and it was quite good. As for the toast, the bread was good, it was thick but mild, however seemed to me that the eggs were made with MSG. That’s a mistake because naturally eggs can become the taste enhancer and adding the MSG will only ruin it plus the fact that they also provide chili sauce. That’s a bit shame.

Toast Smoked Beef Telor

By the way, my mom picked only Teh Tarik Lay (IDR 13,900) since she had her breakfast earlier. The making process seemed right but they failed miserably in creating the right composition and taste. My mom didn’t like it and I had to agree. It was a bit bland with too much ice in it. Well, the bright side was that my coffee was just fine and they got good internet connection there. The place was also quite nicely designed. I shall explore this more and put an end should any insolence occurs.

Teh Tarik Lay

Location : LL R.E Martadinata /Riau St. (After Suis Butcher and just before Cafe Bali), Bandung

Other locations are also available now (updates TBA)

The exciting gastronomic escapades of a foodie journo!

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