For the past few weeks, I traveled early on Saturday mornings to Bandung. Everybody knows that if they wanna go to Bandung, just go straight to this Blora Street, Jakarta. It’s where most of the travel shuttle providers reside. In one fine morning, since I had arrived earlier, I decided to have some breakfast first.
I stumbled upon two hawkers, Mie Ayam (Noodles topped with chickens and veggies) or a Bubur Ayam (Chicken congee) hawkers. Since the chicken congee hawker was cleaner and seemed nice, I decided to pick this one. One bowl only costs me IDR 6,000. To be honest, the taste was so-so. It’s like most porridges I found in Jakarta but a bit more decent and promising actually. The owner said that he’s still looking for the ultimate recipe for the best taste for the congee. Not bad for a 7-month-old business. He also added 2 types of crackers for the dish.
So what makes it special aside from the crackers? It is the horseradish! At first, I felt a bit strange when chewing this juicy crunchy thing, then I asked the owner and he said that he added horseradish into the porridge. Waw! A good innovation because it fits through right away with the congee. A rare combination I must say.
Still unfortunate though that he don’t provide eggs or other chicken parts for the porridge but I trust that his porridge will get better and better. He’s already had a good start and good future. I can assure that!
This place… this place…. this very place is very old school! If you see Warkop DKI movies in their glorious days with scenes having meals in a somewhat 80s kinda restaurant, then you gonna get that feeling. Formerly called Tan Goei for decades. Thanks to my friend’s recommendation who notably a Bandungnese (not a Jakartan? Jeez! How shameful that would be if you found out how this place can offer a delicious dish!) who found this place.
Well, if you see what its like, it seems that this place detach itself from the dining place list for this era or people nowadays. It’s conservative, filled with elders even for the waiters, smells like old building, and no signs of revival. Although they now provide free wi-fi! That’s a bit strange eh? Judging that people will most likely linger in a much more comfortable place but this place doesn’t actually provide that indulgence. But there’s one thing actually that would make you linger, the solo keyboard show just outside the indoor section! Hahaha.. You can also join the jam by showing off your ability in singing! And that’s the time for me to come inside and avoid it if you insist on singing like that.
Basically, the menu was all about Chinese food for family and Bestik (our style of defining ‘steaks’). I haven’t tried the Chinese foods but you can see that the utensils they use to serve really go way back to the 80s. While some people said that the place is legendary of its Bestik and in this case, the Bestik Lidah Sapi or Ox Tongue Steak (if you must do it in English), so then I picked it. Plus on my next visit, I even picked the other Bestik variants in chicken and a wiener schnitzel.
For this time, I’d only discuss the steak. There are basically five bestik there, Tenderloin (Bestik Haas), Chicken (Bestik Ayam), Ox Tongue (Bestik Lidah), King Prawns (Bestik Udang), and Wiener Schnitzel. I seem to forgot one more type but that’s okay. So in both occasions I managed to taste three of them. The Bestik Lidah (IDR 44,500), Bestik Ayam (IDR 36,500), and Wiener Schnitzel (IDR 44,500) in which all three of them are the recommended dishes in the Bestik section. With a very calm and exacting experience, the waiters were able to deliver us good service (perhaps it’s because the restaurant has become so vacant most of times, you can imagine how busy they were decades ago) to our satisfaction.
For the judgment in taste, all three of them are fantastic! The ox tongue and the chicken were accompanied with decent fries, cauliflower in mayo, stir fried beans, and sweet carrots. No need for extra salt and pepper. It’s already delicious! The best thing of the steaks was actually the sauce, the culinary heritage sauce from colonial times and according to the present owner, this goes back to the days of her elders. Waw! That’s classic and the sauce was indeed one of the best tasting gravy sauce you can get! It’s dominating, it’s magical, and no words could match the greatness of it! Once again, you ain’t gonna need chili sauce, tabasco, white pepper, black pepper if available, and even salt! The original taste was already… flawless and perfect! You should taste this indeed.
This long time heritage though has been forgotten. Even my friends who are notably Jakartans didn’t even know of its existence. Thanks to my Bandungnese friend who has informed me this. You wouldn’t even possibly recognize the place anymore unless you got in your family an elder who still reminisce of the days when the earth was still young about the beauty of this place or if you are somebody like me.
The Judgment (based on scale of 10 score plus the comments):
That is so adorable! Though if they can keep the steak price tags around IDR 30 thousands, that’ll be cooler.
2. INTERIOR (4/10)
It’s too old. They need to revive it back to their glorious days. I’m worry about their capability to defend themselves in the middle of the emergence of many well-funded competitors. Because what they have is the classic, flawless taste in their dishes. I heard that Hema (a famous Dutch resto) in Jakarta has taken over the management. Let’s hope that they’ll do something constructive.
3. SERVICE (6/10)
The elders seem to have done great service for us. I am content.
4. TASTE (9/10)
Magical!!! As you can read above.
5. OVERALL (6.5/10)
Location : Jalan Besuki no. 1A, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat.
Aksara and Canteen has always been a cool tag team. Whenever you wish for good books at a relatively competitive price (amongst all these rackets of imported bookstores in Jakarta) plus a bit of eclectic music and backstreet genres, Aksara would be the right place.
I have been a quite loyal patronage of Aksara for new books. Of course, being a prudent buyer, I always give myself an opportunity to circle around the competitors, do my homework, and pick up the one who offers the best price. Aksara maintains its credibility within my heart with such ability. Up until this time, however, I never had the opportunity to visit the Kemang branch, but I always fancy myself with the visits to Pacific Place and Plaza Indonesia.
Now now, back to food. My very specialty. I visited this place twice and I gotta give them quite a good remark for the food. So come along Canteen in Pacific Place. But before that I gotta tell you something about this. Unless you have noticed, you should recognize the true beauty of bookstores in this modern age. Imagine the past where the great libraries packed with oak racks, big old intimidating books, gloomy atmosphere, dominated by the brownish color and smell like nobody ever clean the dust for centuries, and filled with librarians and people who are notably.. Nerdy and grim.
Now cast aside those!!! And look at the realities of today, of tomorrow, and of the future! It’s true that some libraries still possess that kind of eerie looks, but the bookstores now are setting the pace and the trend. Which I hope that future libraries will also adopt the good looks and the friendliness even to those who don’t fancy reading! Now look at Aksara here for instance, the one in Pacific Place feels like home. Also adopting the same interior concept, the Plaza Indonesia branch introduces a homey design with more woods and a big rug in the middle of the shop. Though somehow smaller but more comfortable for me, save the crowd though.
Okay, that would be enough librarian talks. I’ll create one section later for bookstores comparison study, but now let’s head back for a lunch at Canteen, the faithful neighbour of Aksara and the whole package about how a bookstore these days should run -> Combine it with a cafe!! And in this case, Canteen has the more wine and dine type rather than just a canteen or a cafe. Judging from the name, a canteen should provide cheap foods right? But not this one people. I don’t know whether Aksara management decided to name it Canteen for this purpose of attracting people into a belief that this place would offer cheap price. It does provide coffee like any other coffee bar with competing price tags but wait a second people, if a cafe resides in a mall then it won’t be cheap anymore. Trust me. Especially the ones in Jakarta malls!
But then again, this type of challenge has always been my appetite for risk. The risk to spend. That’s what most people are lacking. Are you? Haha.. That’s a challenge!
So let me spare you from doing a trial-and-error experiment, and read this out loud to your friends -> This place is OKAY, you can go and try it.
Why? I’ll tell you why. First, you gotta comprehend that if I say it’s GOOD, then it’s good. But if it’s OKAY, there are still some flaws but you’re okay to go. So turns out that this place is in the OKAY category. I’m bringing you a simple categorization for culinary critics because most people only say that, ‘XXX is a good restaurant, ZZZ doesn’t serve a tasty food’ and so on. The thing is, most people wouldn’t bother to do that or… but mostly and, of course, unable to do a comprehensive judging.
Now, let’s start. From the decoration and interior judging first. I’d say this place gives you the comfort through the lighting. No wonder, for places who adopt wine and dine genre, certain level of elegance must be applied. You wouldn’t wanna sit drinking wine and or eating good food in a fast food kind of place right? As for Canteen who neighbours Aksara, the theme would be clearly stated here, it’s not a kind of kantin you usually reckon (that’s why I don’t know why they named it Canteen), it should be a cozy enough for someone who might me hungry after buying several interesting books. You might wanna lean on a bit over a cup of tea or coffee but certainly in the right place. Sure you can go to Starbucks or any other coffee bars around the hood in Pacific Place, but Canteen already offers you the right atmosphere. First, from the calm lighting, second from the cozy couches they have, and third, of course, the music. These elements blend in naturally and you gotta agree with this right? Though this place doesn’t offer the perfect blend, but I would still recommend it.
Now, let’s go right on to the food. During my first visit, I picked the cheapest dish there (beside the pasta) and that was Chicken Mushroom (IDR 55,000), my partner picked Creamy Fusilli (IDR 55,000). The Chicken Mushroom was not that good, I mean it may look nice but I didn’t really agree with the taste. It was not special, it’s like a chicken cordon bleu filled with mushrooms plus the not-so-special mashed potato too. But the pasta my partner picked was great! It was thick, very succulent, topped with all-you-can-add parmesan, and unforgiving. She can’t even make it through the whole portion so I gotta help her.
The second visit there was because of something intriguing. I realized during my first visit that they have this brunch menu, but it was pretty careless of me to had neglected it. So when that time comes, it’s payback time! Intrigued by a certain foreigner who had ordered this dish, then I picked Big Breakfast (IDR 65,000) right away. My conservative partner chose the pasta again, a bit intriguing though, it’s Penne Arabbiata with crabs (IDR 55,000). So now you can measure a bit about the food price tag there.
The Big Breakfast itself came with free Carlsberg beer, in which I already ordered myself another drink before they let me know they have the promotion. I didn’t read about it in the menu (unless they really stated it there), but the fact that they forgot to remind me about it actually can cost other customers more than they should have. Lucky for them I don’t drink, so then I returned the chilled beer bottle back. Anyway, the composition for the Big Breakfast was quite similar like the ordinary English Breakfast. It’s big, of course, and contains many things like bacon, eggs (you can pick any style, I chose scrambled eggs), baked tomato, tatters, and halal version of English Breakfast ‘accessories’. The Penne Arabbiata was quite okay, but not that satisfying judging that during our first visit here the pasta was very delicious. However, it’s still a decent pick anyway.
For the drinks, well.. we had our coffee, tea, and distilled water. Nothing too special, but the place was comfy enough for a good chat over coffee or something warm. You can also enjoy the free wi-fi. So it’s your pick, whether you just want to enjoy yourself surfing the net and sipping your favorite coffee, gossiping with your friends at a nice place, or a relaxing dine out with your partner, you can always pick Canteen for that. Perhaps they do need to change the name. Let’s say.. Bistro, Food Court, Cafe, or anything bland. Ahahaha.. Just kidding.
The Judgment (based on scale of 10 score plus the comments):
1. PRICE (4/10)
GT = (Principle Price + (Principle Price x Service Tax)) x Restaurant Tax
– Service Tax = 10% (They even forgot to offer the free beer, this is outrageous!!)
– Grand Total = IDR 176,660 (2 people, first visit), IDR 193,600 (2 people, 2nd visit)
2. INTERIOR (8/10)
I like the design. The lighting makes you comfy, also they got these sofa in Pacific Place to make it cozier, and they design the interior neatly. The one in Plaza Indonesia also seem nice.
3. SERVICE (4/10)
For a 10% service charge, they provide lousy service by forgetting to mention the beer promotion, they dressed up unfashionably, but some of them were also helpful. But still overall, not good..
4. TASTE (7/10)
To save the humiliation for the service department, the kitchen provides good food with a decent taste.
5. OVERALL (5.75/10)
Location : Pacific Place and Plaza Indonesia – Jakarta
My only wish few months ago was to apply to manage a Pancious franchise for Bandung. Equipped well with the insights of how wonderfully this business will run in Bandung and disappointed utterly with the appearance of this similar concept due to the lack of fund!
Fresh from the oven. Lo and behold! The Nanny’s Pavillon in Bandung!!! This place offers almost the same as Pancious but with a friendlier price of course (the one in Jakarta is more expensive).
Since it has become one of the hippest place in town, on and on it’s crowded like almost everyday. Located in a fine premise, very strategic, integrated with a boutique outlet and a food court, Nanny’s Pavillon boastfully presents its existence. The name ‘Pavillon’ was indeed French but since it’s using Nanny’s than it’s a bit strange actually but does the knowledge of proper English matters here? What matters is indeed what this Nanny may offer us!
It was indeed literally located in a pavilion, the open air design will give you a more fresh kind of feeling if you compare it to other air-conditioned pancake parlors in Jakarta. They also cover the place with plants and making it feels like home because in reality it’s located just beside the busy street of Riau/Martadinata St.
The problem would be where to park your car because they don’t provide enough parking space inside so most likely you gonna need to park your car outside and if you happen to be unlucky in a situation where you’re really craving of pancake at a wrong time (i.e : weekends), then you might gonna need to walk a bit from where you park your car.
Luckily, for those who use public transportation, you can stop the angkot just outside the place. Very convenient, but judging from how Indonesians now prefer to flood the street with motorcycles and the fact that Bandung is lacking of parking lots, you gotta do what you gotta do then.
That time, the air was still in the atmosphere of Lebaran holiday but it was the remaining days of it so many people already got back to work. We assumed that even Jakartans already return back to their bustling city, so we decided to have a lunch there. It was a misjudge, lucky for us that we had arrived earlier for the waiting list because less than 5 minutes later, tons of people flooded the waiting list right away. We’re welcomed by waitresses dressed like French maids in green stripes clothes. The Nanny thing also applied to the theme of the place, like the interiors, the benches, and the whole design. It is very fitting with the pancake, I’d say. When we browsed the menu, they also served pasta, sandwich, baked rice and coffee.
Since my mom wanted a pancake, then I should pick something else. I suggested her the Peach Pancake (IDR 29,000) and I picked myself a pasta dish of Beef Fettucines with Brown Sauce (IDR 29,000). For a price comparison, the pancake was in the same tier with Pancious but the pasta surely cheaper. You gonna get around IDR 40K in Pancious for the pasta.
For the drink, I picked the Auntie’s Butterscotch Coffee (IDR 18,000). I took the liberty to change the name from Aunt Butterscotch coz I forgot the Aunt’s name. Hahaha.. So, the peach pancake was great! It was big, warm, tender, it got peaches in it (the one in Pancious was different, they simply ‘pour’ the peaches with the sauce on top of the pancake), plus really fits well with the vanilla ice cream (too bad Nanny hasn’t provided other flavors besides vanilla that time). They also provide the maple syrup, which was a very important thing you can add to a pancake!
As for the pasta, it was quite okay. You may see it like small portion at first, but when you dig it, it’s quite deep. Perhaps it’s lacking in composition whereas they put only few meatballs to balance the portion and the sauce. Plus it lacked of herbs. European dishes use plenty of grassy herbs like oregano, rosemary, and friends. Luckily they provided parmesan cheese (unlike the stingy Pizza Hut).
To wrap it up, it was a decent lunch after all and people indeed seem to like the place and the food. I got no objection in that. Since Nanny’s Pavillon is the first and the most decent pancake parlor Bandung ever got. Sooner or later, competitors for the same genre will join in for the fight and as usual Bandung will become even more indisputable as a culinary haven. The price we gotta pay would only be the heavy traffic.
One more thing, why pick Pancious for the comparison study? It’s because that it’s the most famous pancake parlor in Jakarta. That simple. Pancious surely owns more menu though but you can substitute it with Nanny’s when you’re in Bandung, no sweat! ^^
The Judgment (based on scale of 10 score plus the comments):
1. PRICE (7/10)
Since Bandungnese are price-sensitive people. This place would accommodate their wallet and their appetite. Though the price tags in Jakarta are several thousand rupiah more expensive.
2. INTERIOR (6/10)
Feels like home and far from the feeling that it’s located just beside a busy street. The waitresses are like French maids ready to serve you with good home dishes.
3. SERVICE (6/10)
Quite helpful but if it’s the rush hour, you might gonna get a bit difficulty asking for their prompt compliance.
4. TASTE (6.5/10)
So far so good. I still need to work on the other menu there.
5. OVERALL (6.375/10)
The pioneer of pancake parlor in Bandung. They gonna need to improve every time so that they can compete with potential competitors sooner or later. As for the rest, I feel quite contented.
Location : Jl. R.E. Martadinata No. 112, Bandung
More locations in Jakarta have opened (updates TBA)
Who would not have known of BMC if you live in Bandung. It’s a very classical place, even elders recognize it better than us. Since of course, it’s owned by the government then we can always assume that they don’t really care about it anymore after one point. For example, after the renovation finished (after many decades of ignorance) or other jokes they made. Ah enough politics, let us instead enjoy the milk products BMC has to offer.
Established in 1928 and famous during the colonial days back then, BMC specialty was indeed in milk and yogurt. They also offer local cuisine, a bit of Western and snacks. It’s been awhile since I last visited the place and I had enjoyed the milk and the yogurt of course. But this time, I’d like to taste the kefir. What is kefir anyway? We already knew that yogurt is a fermented milk, and kefir is next cycle of it, meaning that it’s a fermented yogurt. Recommended mostly for diabetic people or people in health treatment but it’s still healthy anyway of course.
So then I picked Mocha Kefir and proven not to be that sour. Perhaps the plain one would be quite ‘devastating’ for weak stomach but of course you can pick the strawberry version of it too. Cost for only IDR 10,000. For friendlier picks, there’s always milk, yogurt, and ice cream with all their assortments and ‘accessory’. Have a try!
Location : Jl. Aceh (nearby Masjid Al-Ukhuwwah and Sawios), Bandung