QuikSkoop™: Radesa

On my way home back from the office since a few years ago, my colleague used to recommend me to visit this certain hawkers in Setia Budi vicinity, Jakarta.

The location? Just look around for a row of hawkers in front of The Peak Apartment and the neverending story of St. Regis Apartment and the ‘cobbles’ road in front of it. There, you shall find this hawker that goes with the name Radesa. It’s pretty clear and it’s impossible to miss it unless you’re bad at directions or they’re closed for a day in a week. I forget what day but it’s somewhere between Sunday, Monday, or Thursday.

Sate Kambing/Lamb Satay

The hawker owner is an Indonesian obaasan type assisted by her son or son-in-law delivering the best of lambs every night. They have three main dishes there. The lamb satay, the lamb soup, and the lamb gulai (curry). Unsurprisingly, hawkers like them seldom experiment or experience new way of cooking or even for new dishes.

Indonesian common hawkers mostly serve foods like fried rice, seafood, Chinese, ketoprak/kupat tahu (rice cakes and tofu with bean paste), Indonesian home dishes (nasi rames or nasi uduk alongside vegetables, meats, eggs, or other local delicacies), martabak (sweet or savory Indonesian style pancake), pempek (Palembangnese style fried fish with zesty vinegar sauce), soto, chicken porridge, beef/lamb/chicken/Padangnese satay, and many many many others.

So, Radesa here can be said to be one of its kind around Setia Budi vicinity. To combine everything about lamb and that means to include gulai, satay, and soup is quite rare. You can find, for example, those who specialize at lamb’s leg soup that consists many parts of it starting from the meat, skin, up to the nose or even the eyes. I know it’s exotic or you can say even, gross, but it’s very delicious and you should try it however I haven’t found the the best place for it though.

Back to Radesa again, I’ll break it down into details about the dishes. The most familiar one, the Lamb Satay (IDR 19,000), is a charcoal grilled lamb satay and will be served with Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) alongside with the condiments such as the raw shallots, the cabbages, the bird-eye chili, and fried shallots. I didn’t really like it since the meat was not tender, it’s not that tasty and you’ll find it a bit bland since you gonna eat it only with rice but Indonesians like it that way though. Sometimes I order a bowl full of the soup broth just to make it easy to digest and add an extra flavor in it.

So at the same time I can also taste a glimpse of Lamb Soup which like any other connoisseur, I can and have the ability to see the big picture even from a sip. The soup was rich and spicy, thanks to the pepper though it felt boring though with only that. Normally, you’d get potatoes or carrots inside alongside with the lamb meat, most likely around the rib area though so you’ll still need to face the bones. Watch out since it may be sharp at some edges.

Gulai Kambing/Lamb Curry

But the best part there would be the Lamb Gulai (IDR 17,000). Though the taste might not be too sharp for my senses and not that tasty comparing with my aunt’s home dishes. Gulai in Indonesia is more soupy instead of thick like in Japan or India but still rich in taste. The good thing here that they use tender meat so you’ll find it aside from easy digest, a good taste (not too good for me but decent enough), and nicely accompanied with a plate of warm, fluffy rice.

So, whenever you’re around Setia Budi vicinity, pondering of how to face the heavy traffic outside at Sudirman Street for awhile, just stop by and the obaasan will help you ease the pain. Not exactly making it go for good though….

LOCATION:

Jalan Setia Budi, Jakarta. See the hawkers lining up in front of St. Regis Apartment construction site.

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FCK™: Yoshinoya

Left: Veggie Original Beef Bowl, Right: Yakiniku Beef Bowl, both alongside with Miso Shiru, Japanese Clear Soup, and deep fried seafood Side Dish.

The 111-year-old Japanese beef bowl fast food chain from Japan, Yoshinoya, revives itself again in Indonesia and already made the plan for the second outlet in Jakarta. After its withdrawal when the Southeast Asia crisis strikes, Yoshinoya is indeed making a spectacular return. I have been visiting the outlet in Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall for several times last week and people still queuing for the beef bowl day and night, weekday and weekend!

The queue probably not as intimidating as those in Japan (when the ‘Beef Revival’ event or when they’re changing the beef into pork for good before the revival), but surely you gotta queue for at least 15 minutes before you can order you beef bowl.

You may wonder what’s so special about Yoshinoya. Well, here goes:

  1. Judging from their original Japanese motto. ‘Umai, Yasui, Hayai’ (Tasty, Cheap, Fast). You’ll see the price tag for regular size of original beef or yakiniku beef  bowl is around IDR 25,000. It’s already added with miso shiru or Japanese clear soup. Your choice.
  2. For that price, Yoshinoya’s beef purely came from USA Beef 100% solid, using premium Japanese short-grain rice, and 111-year-old secret recipe.
  3. Aside from the beef bowl, you can also try the combo set that consists of chicken teriyaki, vegetables, and original beef. Also the crispy chickens like KFC and free flow ocha.

Those made the beef bowl fantastically delicious thanks to the secret recipe and the premium ingredients. Especially for the yakiniku beef bowl since Indonesian tongue may be more familiar with the savory taste. As for the original beef, it’s actually good as well but perhaps not sharp enough for our senses. At any rate you should try the vegetables. It’s gonna remind you of Chinese capcay dish.

As for the Grand Indonesia outlet, I think that the place is not adequate or cozy enough for you to enjoy the dish more. The dishes are definitely without doubt tasty but some things from the restaurant itself that made it harder to digest.

First of all, it’s a very open restaurant and that makes it crowded with passersby and with the fountain show of Grand Indonesia especially also when there’s live music on the plaza there.

Next would be the seat order. I was impressed with how Pepper Lunch works on the efficiency of order, seating, and serving. The waiter would give you your table number first based on how many persons having the dine-in and then you can order, afterwards all you gotta do is to wait on your table. But not in Yoshinoya, first of all you gotta queue which is okay since it’s understandable, but after we order our dishes we need to wait on the counter first and bring our food by ourselves.

The most trivial from all is to find your table. Nobody to guide you and you gotta pace back and forth to find it because the dining area is separated into two by the cashier counters. Luckily, in one occasion or when the rush hour time, the native Japanese supervisor will be the one who’s doing the pace back and forth which I think is a waste of energy since they can actually make it more efficient by learning. At least they have assigned a waiter to write up what the queuing customers want in a small piece of paper so that when it’s their turn to come to the counter, they only have to hand it over. No more asking about this and that, no more thinking, just hand it over and wait for the dishes.

So we can actually wrap it up. Great food, cheap, but not that quick, and inefficient system of order, seatings, and don’t expect a warm or easy atmosphere. It’s a goddamn flea market there and this is like any other fast food chain around the world. Don’t expect too much about getting comfy or anything. You gotta do everything on your own. Lucky the food was great, the taste was very original, and definitely cheap for hearty Japanese dishes. Thanks for coming back, Yoshinoya. It was great, really!

——

YOSHINOYA

Halal-friendly (not yet certified)
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address: 
Various locations in Jakarta
Opening Hours: Mall opening hours
Delivery: +62.21.500.566
Website: http://www.yoshinoya.com/
Facebook: Yoshinoya Indonesia
Twitter: @yoshinoyaID
Spend: Around IDR 75,000 – IDR 100,000 for two

TGA Milestone: It’s The 10K Hit!

It’s been almost a year and a half since I raised this baby here. To be precise, it was since February 2009. But it was that one and a half year full of honesty and truth in my words and criticisms. I intend to continue it with integrity and deliver the truth for you only, my readers. Well, I guess that’s a bit like media propaganda wasn’t it?

Anyway, I decided to revamp my site a bit with new theme, a fresh look would do right? Not much changed really but still, a new face will do. Plus I think that readers can read my words much conveniently. The color of the background and the width really do help me reading it. I don’t know for you though but I sincerely hope that this helps. Also, I haven’t yet prepared for the new header and a new photo of my gravatar yet. These will come soon enough.

My targets for the next 10K hits? Aside from my everlasting effort to deliver the best for you in honesty and earnest criticisms? Well, I guess I wanted to promote more of my site and still developing my travel guide site at The Daytrip Swashbuckler consistently. This has proved to be a major task since I’m trying my best also to post here in good frequency. But anyway, a passion is still a passion, so I’ll make sure that I’ll stay on track and you’ll see the best from me.

I reached the 10K hit yesterday on June 28, 2010. It’s a very pleasant thing for me, not too surprising but I had hoped that I could see the counter hitting 10,000 hit by my own eyes but I must’ve missed a few hours. At any rate, I wish to thank you my visitors and my readers for this. I’m grateful for it and if it wasn’t for you, what would a culinary aficionado like me will do.

Thank you, my friends. ^^v

Restaurant Review: Giggle Box

Being perhaps the second most advanced city in Indonesia for emerging modern culinary concepts, Bandung, as I said before in my Daisy’s Steak & Grill post, is a melting pot of ‘culinization‘. The latest trend in Jakarta and Bandung besides the fro-yo fever, which has now gradually subsided, would be the everlasting pancake madness. Most likely started from Pancious in Jakarta, Bandung recently also owns Nanny’s Pavillon which I have posted also before. Bandung  now also introduces her ‘Nanny Wannabe’ (credit for a friend of mine) diners. Either they’re aligned with Pancious/Nanny’s Pavillon or not, the thing is Western style diner is now officially ravaging my country.

That morning, I was picking up my girlfriend at the train station and we were looking for a good place for breakfast. I had been thinking about several good local places but instead, I was suddenly remembered that we got this new diner in Progo St. and since it’s in my nature to try something new, therefore I decided to make a visit.

Giggle Box is the name, looks strikingly similar with Nanny’s Pavillon but somehow we felt more comfort, with a relaxing music and less crowd, also not to mention the Bandung chilly breeze upon a nice neighborhood like Progo St., it was indeed a pleasant morning for us.

Hot Caramel Latte

Not to worry about the capacity. Despite the looks, Giggle Box also has seats on the second floor. You might be worry because in weekends especially at dinner time, this once silent and empty road will be full of cars. Mostly to Kopi Progo, but several competitors such as Toko Coklat, The Strudels, and this Giggle Box also join in and everybody seem to have their shares in one of those establishments.

Also, Giggle Box boasts itself with good variety of food and especially drinks in one single tier of cheap price. This price tier suitable for citizen of Bandung usually still around IDR 5,000 to IDR 10,000 for hawkers, but with a nice place and the commodities Giggle Box has to offer, they’re indeed still generous with the pricing. Ranging from around of IDR 10,000 to IDR 30,000 you can get almost everything you want from Western style food. Beverages? Even more considerate and you can pick from hot coffee, iced coffee, blended coffee, blended drinks with Rhum, soda based homamade drinks, Frappe, jelly drinks, juices, smoothies and so on.

Since the Western theme that seems to dominate the place, it would be a good idea to order any Western dishes that seem to be abundant here. From the starters to the mains, pasta, or there’s always choices for you who want local delicacies as well.

Fish and Chips

Beef Schnitzel (IDR 19,000) and Fish & Chips (IDR 25,000) were our picks for the breakfast. Drinks? Hot Caramel Latte (IDR 14,000) and Strawberry Smoothie (IDR 14,000) were the choices for the morning.

As the dishes came in, they did not really arise my interest. The size of the schnitzel and the fish may be adequate, which was good, but from those who accompanied them, that’s the real problem came. First of all, the supermarket French fries! No matter you say how good it is, but still, it’s only a frozen potatoes ready to be fried! I was even unsure about the freshness, the quality, and most likely fried without salt or any strengthening condiments.

Next would be the vegetables. It’s like Hoka Hoka Bento julienned carrots and cabbages added with mayo. It’s not special really and it works well if with HHB so-called Japanese dishes but not here. For the fish and chips maybe but for the schnitzel? Not a chance! They can actually use sauteed vegetables like in steakhouses. It’s easy and more decent. I guess with a pricing like this, even that shouldn’t be a problem.

Strawberry Smoothie

So how are the fish and the schnitzel? In terms of size, very adequate especially the fish. Quite intimidating for a city like Bandung though if you compare it directly with Fish & Co., well.. it’s gonna be a joke. First of all, it was thin but luckily, the fish still in there. The schnitzel was okay too though my girlfriend said that the fish was better. At any rate, it’s still worth the try. Not a very satisfying breakfast for me but it was for my girlfriend.

The drinks were okay. The smoothie was made also out of yogurt so it tasted sour and fresh. Topped with ice cream to make it even better. I liked it and it was only for a bargain! The coffee was not bad either. The caramel can cover the weaknesses and it’s a prudent choice I know, however, it was a good ending from the so so dish.

Nevertheless, it was a cozy place. You have to experience the cool morning of Bandung there. Or is it possibly that you want to lounge a bit on the sofa or even spend a warm atmospheric dinner with your close friends and the teen society of Bandung? Elders and kids are also encouraged to be shared with this joyous time for families. From breakfast to brunch, or for lunch and dinner, or even for just a cup of coffee and Frappe, Giggle Box has the answer for it. Quite satisfactorily though, not up to my standard I’m a afraid.

GIGGLE BOX

Jl. Progo No. 33, Bandung

RSVP : TBA

New locations are also available now (updates TBA)

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/profile.php?id=100000781411711

Dishes and Drinks: Pancake, Beef Schnitzel, Fish & Chips, Pasta, Coffee, Smoothies

Recommended Dishes: Won’t recommend anything for now.

Reservation: Recommended for dinner and especially on weekends

Operating Hours: TBA (assume normal operation hours)

Methods of Payment: Cash, Debit Cards, Credit Cards

THE JUDGMENT:

1. PRICE (8/10)

Appetizers from IDR 9,000 to IDR 15,000. Main dishes from IDR 12,000 to IDR 40, 000. Beverages starting from IDR 7,000 to IDR 20,000.

For two people the total was IDR 84,000. Not too satisfied with the food but judging from the variety in food and beverages and still within the considerate price, it’s worth the try.

2. INTERIOR (6/10)

Not that impressive. But if you combine it with Bandung’s fresh breeze, the relaxed neighborhood, the semi open air concept although with benches and few sofas, nevertheless they do offer a nice place for afternoon coffee or breakfast.

3. SERVICE (6/10)

Not much to say about it. At least they’re quite helpful and knew what they’re doing.

4. TASTE (5/10)

Unimpressed with the food but perhaps you can challenge more from the drinks. The Strawberry Smoothie was good, the coffee was not bad, and you can explore more with the rest. As for the food, I wouldn’t recommend much but for commoners, surely they’ll be contented.

5. OVERALL (6.25/10)

Restaurant Review: Kitchenette

Kitchenette is the newest envoy, the latest messenger to the open field from Ismaya Group. The most recent one accompanied with Mr. Curry. For several times I had been passing this new establishment and they seemed to gain reputation very swiftly and was indeed not short of customers. Not to  mention also the fact that it’s located in Plaza Indonesia, a prominent mall in Central Jakarta. So if you don’t like crowds or waiting up in queue for too long for your seats, assume brunch time or early dinner time as the best time for taking a breath.

Though fate decided that I should come for early dinner but for Friday night! Famished, me and my colleagues had to queue though it’s still 5.30 PM. Meanwhile, I took a tour around the place and observe it a bit. Deriving from kitchen, Kitchenette means a small kitchen. You can see the small kitchen in the middle of the place, very transparent and seem small indeed but definitely a very decent place to work and serve dishes efficiently. Kitchenette is an open place with no walls to the outer world. Feels like European style cafe just across the street of Paris or Vienna, but you wouldn’t build something fancy like this in Jakarta because it’s too humid and hot. Except in Bandung or Bali perhaps where the air is still fresh and open door cafe like this can be very comfortable.

As for the design, Kitchenette is modern and has a warm atmosphere of uptown people, not always too classy but you can find socialites here. With a relaxing, not too dominating jazz or lounge ambient which keeps you from external disturbance but in a level where you can still hear you partner’s voice.

The waiting time was not that long anyway though I saw earlier that they serve plastic cups alongside a pile of lemons which I warrant that they made lemonades out of those but they didn’t offer us at all. I thought that perhaps they do that when the queue line is out of hand or when people coming for lunch or dinner rush, then they’ll definitely use lemonades to soothe them for a while.

So, we were seated at last. You might think that Kitchenette is a bit too small for such hustle and bustle but when I was seated, it’s actually a bit spacious. Afterwards, the waiter immediately handed us the menus and after we browsed it for awhile, he’s back again ready for everything and very patient indeed. We hadn’t yet concluded what we wanted for that night and keep asking the guy for the details of the dishes but he proved himself worthy and knowledgeable about it. He also gave us suggestions as a waiter should do of course. But he’s not without his flaws though. I had been interested more in galette and there’s actually discounted appetizers such as soup or salad to accompany it. I had asked him whether this kind of combination can also be done for other dishes besides galette. He said none beside galette, but from what I saw later actually, it can be combined and it’s on the menu for God sake.

Well, at any rate, galette for tonight would be good since it has been Kitchenette’s signature menu and specialty alongside the crêpe. Each of Ismaya Group restaurants has its own character. For instance, Mr. Curry definitely specializes in curry, Puro in Italian, Pasta de Waraku in fusion pasta, Social House for tapas and wine, and Kitchenette here for the crêperies. Two types available here, galette for the savory and crêpes for the sweet. Both of them were originated from France. That’s pretty obvious right? Galette is a thin, crispy pancake made out of wheat, usually garnished with savory ingredients such as cheese, meat, egg, etc. Whilst crêpe as we have known commonly, usually filled with sweet things like ice cream, melted chocolate, sometimes added with cheese, and can also be filled with savory ingredients. But here, in Kitchenette, both of them are differentiated.

Antoine Ego Galette
Tabouleh Couscous

The galettes are uniquely titled with French guy names and the crêpes with American country ladies names. Mine’s Antoine Ego galette (IDR 65,000) that consists of ham (pork or turkey), mozzarella cheese, and mushroom caviar with truffle oil. I took the appetizer package and picked Tabouleh Couscous (IDR 25,000 – only if combined). I’ve always wanted to taste couscous, a traditional Middle Eastern/North Africa dish made out of wheat and with certain method of cooking, you’ll see it more like grated parmesan cheese. For the combination menu, the meaty salads are excluded but the rest are available. The rest of my friends picked Arnaud galette (IDR 69,000) and this one consists of two mini beef hamburg, fried egg, Dijon mustard, Swiss cheese, and caramelized grilled onions. Then there’s also Pan fried John Dory fish fillet over sauteed garlic spinaches with Mediterranean sauce (IDR 59,000), The Maid’s nasi goreng with spicy seafood, fried egg, and chicken satay (IDR 49,000), and a more conservative friend of mine a.k.a on-a-diet friend picked a salad Iceberg wedge with roasted pears, walnuts, and Gorgonzola dressing (IDR 37,000, added with regular chicken IDR 10K and large chicken IDR 20K).

My pick was indeed the best. The salad may be a bit strange but it actually isn’t. In Indonesian dishes notably fried rice or martabak, usually accompanied by pickles and the sourness was quite similar. The salad consists of diced shallots, cucumbers, capsicums, carrots, and covered with couscous. I added the olive oil as usual. I was fond of it but if you wanted a safer salad, pick the one you usually like or just the soup. My Antoine Ego galette was nice. The cheese, turkey ham, and the mushroom caviar fit perfectly together bringing on the tenderness and they melt wonderfully inside my mouth. You might want to add pepper, olive oil, or even chili sauce for more spirit but I prefer the original taste. A bit of pepper and olive oil might do but not the chili sauce. My friend’s Arnaud galette was okay too. More meaty and full of proteins, but it’s not actually that special. In terms of balance, mine’s better though you may see it not too inviting but still, it’s the best pick of the night.

Iceberg wedge with roasted pears, walnuts, and Gorgonzola dressing (added with chicken)
Arnaud Galette

The John Dory fish dish was served hot and worked well also for the evening. The fish cuts were bountiful and the sauce worked well with the fishes and spinaches. Nice pick too. I didn’t taste much on the salad and the fried rice but it’s just too ordinary indeed for the fried rice. As for the salad, the Gorgonzola dressing did the trick and the uniquely fried pears tasted good said my friend. Not to forget the drinks, I picked the Classic Lemonade too and served per glass for IDR 25,000. It’s sour but very fresh, I like it a lot but they price-tagged it too expensive. Seriously! I watched a movie called Lemon Tree and there’s plenty of lemons and lemonades giveaway for free and seemed tasty! It should have been cheaper nonetheless no matter how absurd I correlate it with the story. LOL

It was a pleasant night but not for my friends, they seemed to think that Kitchenette was overrated since the food was not that special and the fact that they’re still hungry! Haha.. As for me, it was a very fulfilling dishes, too expensive, and judging that you can get crêpes for a bargain price in food stalls on malls plus the fact that galette is originally a traditional, peasant dish way back in France and it’s too expensive. To be honest, I have to agree my friends too that the food was not that extraordinary though my galette was good. So Kitchenette, no matter how magical your place is so you can attract so much customers but heed my warnings, improve thyself and prove that thou are worthy enough for my next visit. Wassalam..

KITCHENETTE RESTAURANT & CRÊPERIE

Plaza Indonesia Lantai 1 Blok E Unit 16

Jl. MH. Thamrin No. 28 – 30, Central Jakarta, Indonesia

Now locations are also available now (updates TBA)

RSVP : 021 – 29923580

Website: http://www.ismayagroup.com/kitchenette
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/k1tchenette
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/k1tchenette

Dishes and Drinks: Salad, International dishes, Galette, Crêpe, Lemonade, variety of beverages

Recommended Dishes: Antoine Ego Galette

Reservation: Recommended

Operating Hours: TBA (assume normal operation hours)

Methods of Payment: Cash, Debit Cards, Credit Cards

THE JUDGMENT:

1. PRICE (4/10)

Price ranging from IDR 25,000 to IDR 125,000 for either appetizers and main dishes. Main dishes are pretty expensive.

For five people the total was IDR 525,525. Good number but it’s very pricey indeed.

2. INTERIOR (6/10)

Feels good for me though crowded all the time but I like Canteen better or a bit better than Social House here.

3. SERVICE (7/10)

Very knowledgeable but not without flaws. Happily assisted us in taking our photos and even offered his service for additional shot!

4. TASTE (6/10)

Pick your dish carefully, expect a bit ordinary taste, and definitely, half-full tummy in the end.

5. OVERALL (5.75/10)

The exciting gastronomic escapades of a foodie journo!

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