Restaurant Review: Café Bali

It’s been like a decade since I last took a holiday in Bali. That time, among the towns they’d stay at, Kuta and Legian were those among people would speak of. I don’t know since when but lately Bali has added another town to attract people. They say that this town was designed for middle ups. So, you can find this town a little bit further to the north and it’s called Seminyak.

It was for the dinner time when we arrived at the vicinity. You can judge that Seminyak is somehow more classy by looking at the shops there. They seem to sell more expensive items. Not only apparel but other luxury items. So, my friends who had visited Bali months before recommended to park around the spot that offers many eateries around Laksamana Oberoi St. We parked the car and walked around the street looking for the most inviting restaurant. Personally, I’d love to try each one of them.

But on this case, we need to adjust to everyone’s wallet and among them all, Cafe Bali seemed to be the wisest choice back then. The exterior seemed neat, the menu was extensive, and most of all, the price was OK. Please don’t judge that a place might be nice because filled with foreigners because practically you see foreigners everywhere in Bali. So we took our seats and I did a bit walk around the cafe to see more.

The place was indeed nice, plays interesting music that attracts applauses from visitors which I found amusing, but has no air conditioners at all. Ceiling fans are everywhere but it’s a bit humid nonetheless. The heat actually can be negated because the atmosphere was warm and friendly, the waiters/waitresses were also very helpful and kind, and that make everything seemed perfect at that moment. If I happen to be the owner of Cafe Bali, I need to keep up the quality because Cafe Bali happened to be located around other fierce competitors. Well, Cafe Bali was able to make me content that time. That’s a good start.

Let’s go to our favorite section, shall we? The food! Cafe Bali provides a wide range of world food, notably the Western, Eastern, and Indonesian plus suitable for any occasions starting from breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a kind of cafe or restaurant that provides all.

The cons about such place is that there’s no specialty. Even though I still bother to ask about it to the waitress and she confidently answered that Cafe Bali excels at its Carpaccio. Now that I think of it, it’s a bit rare that a cafe provide such menu. There’s actually several carpaccio divided into the types and the weight. You can have like beef, tuna, or salmon in 150 grams or more.It’s with the beef that I had been quite familiar before but hadn’t had the chance to taste the real deal of it, so I decided to pick Beef Carpaccio 150 grams (IDR 40,000++).

Beef Carpaccio

Previously I was quite tempted to pick Tex-Mex Chicken (IDR 39,000++), but my friend had picked it first. My dear partner chose Cheese Ravioli (IDR 45,000++) based on my recommendation. I know very much about her appetite and she likes pasta a lot plus I gotta know about the taste too. The rest of my friends picked Hakao (IDR 28,000++) which was a bit expensive than the usual dimsum you may find but I tell you about it later, then somebody else picked Lasagna (IDR 45,000++), while the rest selected Tenderloin Steak (IDR 55,000++) and Mahi Mahi Fish (IDR 69,000++) for their dinner.

In an occasion like this where I eat altogether with many of my friends can be very beneficial because I can taste so many foods in only a single visit. My dish was surprisingly delicious. You just can’t imagine for the first time and other than sushi or salmon gravalax would see a dish like carpaccio where 150 grams of raw beef sliced thinly and decorated with cheese and salad with dipping sauce. Some people might not get too familiar with the taste but I liked it a lot. The salad may be so-so but the cheese and the meat worked in pairs beautifully. I need to try the specialty though carpaccio is usually served for appetizer. I say what the heck about that and just enjoy it and I did enjoy it very much. ^^

The other dishes turned out to be a satisfaction for me. The taste and the portion were great. I tried each one of them and that made me wish to return there again someday. The price was also very considerate as I said earlier and with these dishes, it was actually a surprise for me. Plus the fact that in Bali, restaurants or cafes don’t cheat the taxation. They added up the government tax and the service tax to the totals, unlike those shameless places anywhere that multiply it first by one tax, total it, then multiply it again with the other tax and the VAT can be quite high in the end. Even though, my friend said that USA is even worse. Apart from that you gonna need to give extra 15% tips or you might get sued because of not complying it. Jeez…

Ah about Cafe Bali again, it’s an incredibly worth remembering experience. The food, the music, the atmosphere, the service, the price, and everything else adds up to make it perfect. I wish to return again someday soon…. *daydreaming*

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

1. PRICE (6.5/10)

That’s what I love about Bali. No cheats on the taxation and here in Cafe Bali, everything is price tagged at a considerate price. It was only IDR 575,000 for 7 people dinner. Quite okay!

2. INTERIOR (7.5/10)

A very nice place! The atmosphere, the design, and the music make it very comfortable. No AC though, but that figures why they open all the windows and make it looks like an open air cafe.

3. SERVICE (7/10)

Very helpful and resourceful. What more can you ask?

4. TASTE (7/10)

Wonderful! As I have stated earlier. I wanna go there again!

5. OVERALL (7/10)

Keep up the good work!

Additional Information:

Location : Jl. Laksamana Oberoi, Seminyak, Bali.

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QuikSkoop™: Cizz

Who wouldn’t possibly love cheesecakes? It’s so tasty and thick that you’ll be satisfied with only a small piece of it. You got plenty of choices and you’ll want it all because they’re so colorful and inviting. You can get it all here at Cizz Cake! Has been famous for several years now though with only a little outlet in Bandung, Cizz also has expanded the business to Jakarta and you can have your cheesecakes now delivered to your hands.

When I said earlier about the choices, I really mean it. You can have like the standard cheesecake or the variants like Blueberry Cheesecake, Tiramisu Cheesecake, Chocolate Cheesecake, Blackcurrant Cheesecake, Baked Brownie Cheesecake, Blackforest Cheesecake, Mixed Fruit Cheesecake, Caramel Cheesecake, and many more. Many more! Can you believe that? They also provide bigger cakes for your special events.

Mixed Fruits Cheescake
Blackcurrant Cheesecake
Blueberry Cheesecake

I suppose most of them were price tagged at IDR 15,000 to IDR 20,000 per single cheese cake and it feels thick, you can really feel the cheese, and it blends really well so it might be enough for one cake at a time. With the superb taste at a low price, Cizz can be very competitive and very beneficial for consumers like us. I’d say, you need to try it. No, wait, you HAVE to try it!! Because I love it!

Visit http://www.cizzcake.com for graphic information about the cakes and the location. Enjoy!

Location : Jl. Laswi No. 1A (Just before Bumbu Desa Sundanese Restaurant), Bandung

Also featured in: Mahanagari

Restaurant Review: Chili’s

If it wasn’t because of Michael’s favorite place in the American TV serial The Office, I wouldn’t have any idea about this place existence other than the huge billboard right on the top of the old Sarinah Building shopping mall in Jakarta. There were numerous scenes taken place here in the serial so I figured that this place must be quite popular back there in USA. When we arrived there though, the place seemed to be quite old but it was neat and quite freezing so you’d best wear something warm. I don’t know why they don’t seem to make an attempt to expand it like other American brands you can find easily here.

My last visit took place some time ago, so I’m scraping through the remnants of my old memory. I’m planning to visit the place again soon in the near future because this very experience was very worth remembering! And I shall tell you why. In the menu, we can now finally recognize what theme this restaurant brings. Perhaps at some point you’d think that this place only serve steaks but that’s not all, Chili’s combines the Western cuisine notably American with Mexican. The most obvious place where the two cultures met can be seen around the states of Texas, New Mexico, and California. This fusion genre is famously called Tex-Mex cuisine that of course stands for Texan-Mexican. You can refresh your geography lessons back then to find out where they blend. LOL

Among all the unusual Tex-Mex dishes you may find there, I finally made up my mind to combine several perks in one dishes. Yes! It’s the Combo Fajitas (IDR 115,900). It’s expensive I know, but here you can try beef and chicken at one time. Seemed to be very tempting if you see the picture. On the other hand, my dear partner picked the more conservative dish which was called Margarita Chicken (IDR 63,900). The drinks were the same routine. You can spend less here to pick better food. That’s actually my policy. For example in Japanese restaurants, most of them currently serve ocha for free. I’d say let’s not waste such opportunity by buying more expensive drinks. Better to put your money in good use by trying the more exotic delicacies they may offer or something that normally you wouldn’t even bother to pick which of course undoubtedly because of the price, right? In Chili’s of course, I recommend you to enact the policy without thinking because this is no place where you would spend your time like everyday unlike Michael in The Office. Ah! Talking about economics and the buying power…

Combo Fajitas
Combo Fajitas

At last the dishes arrived. We had been famished and the very sight of the dishes were very heartwarming yet triggered the lust to dig in as quick as we can! My pick was indeed a beautiful one. Perhaps many of us here still not familiar with this dish. There were three separate vessels. The chicken and the beef were served upon a hot plate and dressed in onions and capsicum. Very inviting! The second vessel was closed and for my surprise (forgive my virginity in Tex-Mex cuisine), it was filled with huge layers of tortilla. Okay, then the last vessel was filled with the dressings. There are 4 elements here, the sour cream, shredded lettuces, the legendary guacamole, and pico de gallo. Questions? Hesitate to ask. Because I found them out by myself and I can assure you that this dish was heavenly! It’s like you’re making a sandwich. You fill the tortilla with the meat and dress it up in any style you want! That simple. It may be awkward to taste unfamiliar dressings with ingredients I mentioned earlier but you won’t argue with me if you have tried it! Extraordinary indeed!

Margarita Chicken

My partner’s dish nonetheless, was also a brilliant one. It may seem like an ordinary Western dish with a little bit of Mexican touch. The grilled chicken topped with lemon and shredded tomatoes, onions, and friends. Below the chicken you can find nachos-like thin sticks. Accompanied by sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes snowed with cream-like cheese or something which I forgot. The most brilliant part was actually not the chicken, but it’s the potato! I tell you what, I HAVE NEVER TASTE MASHED POTATOES SO TASTY BEFORE IN MY LIFE ASIDE THE ONE HERE IN CHILI’S!!!!! I gotta scream! It was superb and I can’t say more in this. It’s like you’re given wings to fly. Seriously foodies, you gotta try it!

The dish proved to be too much to handle for my partner, so I must warn you that you gotta be really hungry if you’re coming here because it’s gonna be an adventure you’d surely won’t forget. I figure that people abroad notably in USA must be thinking that this place was only an ordinary Tex-Mex restaurant, but for a first timer like me, I can’t even forget how wonderful it was to be there even it took place almost a year ago. My dear foodies, let’s try it again then! ^^

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

1. PRICE (3/10)

A total of IDR 270,039 for two. It’s too expensive though I know some ingredients might be imported, but still…

2. INTERIOR (5/10)

Way too outdated..

3. SERVICE (4/10)

There was no greeter and we have to call someone out for help. That’s no good.

4. TASTE (8/10)

Superb mashed potato! The rests were great too.

5. OVERALL (5/10)

I don’t know why Chili’s just not expanding themselves knowing that they’ve been here since the 80s. Perhaps you guys put it too expensive for Indonesians pocket.

Additional Information:

Location : Sarinah Building 2nd Fl. Jakarta, Indonesia

TGA Milestone: A New Header!

Ah at last I can install a cool new header that fits my blog well.  I can be pretty lame at designing things like these and my expectations by appointing somebody more qualified than me appears to be fruitful.

I really wanna thank Mamagala for her sincere effort to design this new header. Much love! ^^

Restaurant Review: Rosso (2009)

Sunday Brunch! That’s it! It’s time for the new level. Not just an ordinary all-you-can-eat buffet, but it’s an exclusively designed Sunday Brunch buffet with limited time and you gotta book yourself a seat first. Long story short, my friend had asked me out and of course I said I’m coming, and then booked the place one week prior. The price however, was a bit stunning since it was my first Sunday Brunch. Expect to pay IDR 268,000++ for Sunday Brunch with free flow soft drinks and juices or IDR 288,000++ with free flow red or white wine. I had to admit that before agreeing this offer, I felt reluctant a bit but since this was a rare offer and an intriguing adventure, I said to myself why not? Let’s hit the road then! *grinning*

Since Sunday Brunch only available from 10.30 AM until 2.30 PM, we decided to come a bit early so that there would be plenty of time should we wish to appease the monstrous appetite. Haha.. Intermezzo! So, lately I have been a quite frequent patrons for breakfast at Hyatt Jakarta with my other friend. They do close the breakfast buffet at 10.30 AM and we always start the breakfast at around 9 AM and that was a huge space of time for me to try everything. Let’s say that when we first came to Rosso, we were still rookies for a hotel dining. Therefore I conclude that coming too early does not necessary at all. Coming late would be a disaster of course, but at least 2 hours would be enough to taste everything from appetizer to dessert. Just take your time, don’t be too ambitious, prepare your stomach (a.k.a less breakfast), and don’t drink too much. That’s the secret art of maximizing the satisfaction in your all-you-can-eat dining experience.

We were given the menu explaining things about the brunch and we’re supposed to pick one from several options for the main dish. As for the rest, it’s gonna be all-you-can-eat! I picked Veal wrapped in cabbage, layered with mushroom, spinach, and cheese sauce. Sounds yummy eh? My partner chose Grilled sea bass with marinated vegetables, roasted potato, and balsamic emulsion. Enthralling! Haha.. Well, you can also pick other options such as Risotto with asparagus, tiger prawns, and fresh spinaches or Beef fillet mignon with pancetta sage potato, sauteed capsicum, and black truffle sauce. You might also want to know about ‘V’ crispy polenta with capponata, breaded mushroom, and basil pesto sauce or even try the Marinated chicken breast with roasted baby potato, grilled zucchini, and diavola sauce. Well, to be honest, these options might be obsolete by now. I do expect that Chef Alessandro Santi who runs the place, might do more experiments about the Italian main dishes there and the menu may be updated from time to time. FYI, that was the menu for March 2009, but at least you got the real image about Rosso right?

We can order the main dish anytime we’re ready. So first, we gotta indulge ourselves with the exquisite appetizers. There was a buffet made of ice blocks filled with fresh frutti di mare such as tiger prawns, scallops, crabs, and even lobsters. Further, we found the salad and pasta bars with many ingredients that I love such as asparagus, mushrooms, sliced beef made into carpaccio, many kinds of cheese, and others! You can also find meatballs that can be dipped with tomato sauce and pasta that you can take with ease. On the opposite table I found juices and drinks but you’d better save it for later.

Ravioli with Tiger Prawn Sauce

The most interesting part here was the pasta bar, made and served personally by the Head Chef Alessandro Santi. We’re supposed to pick the type of pasta and the sauce. Doesn’t sound that interesting eh? But you’ll find it interesting once you know that Rosso provide pasta dishes like starting from Traditional Lasagna Bolognaise, Dover Sole Cannelloni, Saffron Fettucine, Spaghetti Rustichella, Farfalle, Black Olive Gnocchi, or Sea Bass Agnoloti and with sauces that you won’t find anywhere like Tiger Prawn Sauce, Eggplant Pesto, Porcini Sauce, or Black Truffle Sauce. Now now, you wouldn’t wanna pick too many appetizers (except for the fresh raw seafood) if you know that Rosso make such recipes. Personally made and delivered by the chef himself, showing that he cares. Such personal involvements really do make people appreciate food more and not only through the taste. By the way, I chose Ravioli with Tiger Prawn Sauce and that was a good choice!

‘V’ Minestrone soup with basil pesto, roasted pine kernels, and extra virgin olive oil

Next, we’re ready for the main dish but first we’re served with another appetizer from the kitchen, the ‘V’ Minestrone soup with basil pesto, roasted pine kernels, and extra virgin olive oil. Well, I hate to say that it was like any other vegetables soup but still a decent one for sure. Not long after we finished with the soup, the main dishes came. My choice, the Veal wrapped in cabbage, layered with mushroom, spinach, and cheese sauce, was not exactly as I had thought. The veal might be tender, but the cabbage somehow didn’t fit into the taste. I actually favored the spinach only as the companion for the veal and topped that with mushroom for more decency in taste. However the so-called cheese sauce didn’t feel like cheese at all. It was nonetheless quite satisfying but it was beaten black and blue by the brilliance of the appetizers. That’s a shame because the main dish was supposed to be better.

Veal wrapped in cabbage, layered with mushroom, spinach, and cheese sauce

As for my friend’s choice, the Grilled sea bass with marinated vegetables, roasted potato, and balsamic emulsion was somehow better but still not that special. Well, I don’t know whether it’s because the tongue of an Asian, notably Indonesian, was suitable enough with European dishes because we seem to fond more for sharper taste equipped with plenty of spices. Pretty bland for my tongue so I suppose this would be the homework for the chef. Adapt and conquer! That’s what we’re doing wherever we are right? Well, that’s for March 2009 menu. Perhaps now should be better.

Grilled sea bass with marinated vegetables, roasted potato, and balsamic emulsion

Afterwards, we just can’t wait for the desserts! Plenty of cakes, ice cream, and colorful things to be plundered in the dessert section. I can tell you one thing, the best part of the dessert was the Pannacotta! Extraordinary! You gotta try it if you come to Rosso. Well, the tragic thing about the dessert was that I was beaten by my inability to try to finish all of the desserts. To wrap it up, they offer us coffee or tea as the finisher. After I finished the coffee, everything seemed to be blurry just like a dream that just passed away through a phase of my life. It was indeed like a dream come true and I do really wish to get a chance for another Sunday Brunch adventure. Perhaps Scusa for a comparison study. ^^

Pannacotta

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

1. PRICE (6/10)

IDR 268,000++ for Sunday Brunch with free flow soft drinks and juices

IDR 288,000++ with free flow red or white wine

Pretty reasonable judging from ingredients used and things that you can’t find that easily outside. It’s a loss though if you can’t keep up with the goldmine. Hoho..

2. INTERIOR (8/10)

Dominated but red and good interior. Makes your dining experience doubled by the lascivious and elegant look of the joint.

3. SERVICE (7/10)

What else could you ask? Even the chef himself deliver the food personally to your table.

4. TASTE (7/10)

Excellent appetizers and desserts. They need to work out more for the main dishes though.

5. OVERALL (6/10)

Additional Information:

RSVP Required!!

Location : Shangri-la Hotel, Jakarta

The exciting gastronomic escapades of a foodie journo!

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