Tag Archives: Coffee

Restaurant Review: Canteen

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.

Chicken Mushroom

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.

Big Breakfast (with free Carlsberg Beer)

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.

Creamy Fusilli

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.

Penne Arabbiata with Crabs

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)

Calculation Method

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)

Additional Information:

Location : Pacific Place and Plaza Indonesia – Jakarta

Advertisements

Kahvehane: Kopi Oey (FKA Kopitiam Oey)

Kopitiam Oey is a business venture owned by a famous culinary TV personality, ‘Om’ Bondan Winarno. With all his extensive knowledge and experience regarding food, he utilized it all to create this kopitiam business venture. Kopitiam itself defined like the usual coffee shop and Mr. Oey himself designed it truly like Chinese style. Oh by the way, if you don’t know about it, ‘Oey’ is actually pronounced ‘Wi’ that stands for the first syllable for the surname of the guru. So what I meant as Mr. Oey at the beginning that means it’s for Mr. Winarno.

At first, I didn’t notice that this belongs actually to him but you can see pictures of him all over the place. I knew it later from the internet. As for the interior, it’s Chinese old school with old style wooden seats and tables so that means no cushion at all. Pictures can be seen everywhere on the walls, old advertisements, newspaper/magazine articles, the menu in big pictures, and you can laugh at the funny ones. The place was not that big so you can see the kitchen right away further back. Overall, the place possess a warm and cozy atmosphere, be it in the afternoon or night.

The menu itself was extensive, Mr. Oey seems to be utilizing his knowledge fully and recreating famous dishes from specific areas all around Indonesia. FYI, the drinks are for all day but the dishes are differentiated for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Starting from the drinks you can find many kinds of coffee such as the originally brewed coffee up to Vietnamese coffee drinking style and not to forget, the best thing from this place, it’s the Wiener Melange (IDR 15,000). Wiener Melange is actually a coffee topped with vanilla ice cream. You gonna need a good ice cream for this and once it all got mixed up, it’ll become a great coffee!

Wiener Melange

You can find also tea in all its forms. You can have the original Javanese pot tea, Moroccan mint tea, and of course the star of the show, Teh Taloe (IDR 12,000). I forgot whether they have the coffee version of this too, but anyway it’s a mixture of tea with milk and raw egg(s). The taste was quite okay, it’s almost like Teh Tarik but you can feel the egg aftertaste which I doubt most people can stand it. It’s not particularly hard to find this drink as you can find it almost anywhere in a Padangnese restaurants. As for the rest, I think you should try Es Cincau Cikini made with milk and ginger and best served for hot afternoon and for only IDR 10,000! So as you can see, the price range for the drinks were quite okay and you can even find drinks below IDR 10,000.

Teh Taloe

Now here comes the food. I’ve been there until this day around 4 times and for the first time I only tried the Spring Roll for the snack and it wasn’t that good. The second time, we were only having the coffee. Then the third time was when I tried Mie Kepiting Pontianak (IDR 23,000) and it was quite okay, I took a sip for the Nasi Goreng (IDR 23,000) and it’s just okay but certainly has its distinctive taste. Then the last time I visited the joint was at the lunch time, we immediately picked the most inviting among the few available lunch dishes.

Lontong Tjap Gomeh

I picked Lontong Cap Gomeh (IDR 26,000) and my partner picked Nasi Rames (IDR 26,000). I need to confirm again later for the prices. The portion for the dishes were just fine for me (perhaps Mr. Oey already took careful measure for this). So it was okay for me and certainly too many for my partner. Haha..However, at the first taste for the Lontong Cap Gomeh, the broth was cold so I immediately asked for a warmer one. I was a bit disappointed because of that but lucky for them that the taste was just great. I had a clean slate for that. As for the Nasi Rames, it was good too and I was indeed satisfied. Closed by Wiener Melange, that made the whole lunch very worthwhile!

Nasi Rames

Indeed, I have to agree to what Mr. Oey said about his place, ‘Koffie Mantep, Harganja Djoejoer’. Though Kopitiam Oey still need for improvements but for this I trust on Mr. Oey high capability and even so, this place still attain one of the most recommended place among such in my heart. Give it a try!

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

1. PRICE (9/10)

Koffie Mantep, Harganja Djoejoer!

2. INTERIOR (6/10)

A warm coffee shop with a Chinese Peranakan interior style. Though without cushioned seatings, you’ll enjoy the welcoming atmosphere of this place. Luckily it’s opened in the further side of the busy Jalan Sabang.

3. SERVICE (6/10)

Just fine.

4. TASTE (7/10)

If it’s about the culinary guru, Mr. Oey. You should not underestimate his measure for this one. Even so, the food still needs improvements however for the drinks, it’s an A-OK!

5. OVERALL (7/10)

Has the potentials indeed to become a famous place to dine.

Additional Information:

Location : Jl. H. Agus Salim/Sabang no. 18, Jakarta Pusat.

Website : http://www.kopitiamoey.com/

Restaurant Review: Toko Coklat

At long last, a post about something from my hometown!

Well, it appears that, since I have taken a long absence from adventuring around my neighbourhood, my sister took the liberty to scout out a bit and share another fresh info about a new place. It’s been awhile since my eagle eyes have been put into a good use and on my behalf my sis has become a good ranger for this sort of thing.

The neighborhood around this place was quite nice. Full of trees and despite the closeness to the central attention of factory outlets around Jalan Riau, this place was still as calm as before although might be a bit packed around the corner where Jonas Photo resides. Toko Coklat held a ground at the intersection between Jalan Progo and Jalan Cimanuk and the other road that leads to Jalan Riau again. So that actually offers a vantage point to attract passersby which ultimately can’t help by noticing it and one of them would’ve been my sister I assumed.

Okay, so in one sunny afternoon after taking my family some time off and a good lunch, it was decided that we should have a some sort of ‘coffee break’ in a chocolate bar. I see why not and once we arrived, seemed for me, the place was quite nice. Modern architecture, with plenty of windows and open air to keep it fresh and full of light. But alas, actually there were many spaces for comfortable seats inside, the owner prefer to furnish the cafe only by cheap furnitures. The kind you would mostly encounter in food courts of trade centers or mediocre malls. Quite a shame actually.

For a small choco bar, Toko Coklat actually offers a wide selections of small chocolates price-tagged at IDR 3,500 each. Indulge yourself with the rich Jamaica Liquor, Coffee, Mocha, or Vanilla Cream and many others. The counter dressed beautifully also with animal-shaped chocolates which can be wrapped as a gift, also you can find cakes like Rolls, Mousse, Tiramisu and friends. You can also pick salty light snacks like Croquettes or Macaroni and even heavier ones like Spaghetti. Well after all, since I had my lunch before, I only picked myself a cup of Hot Chocolate and some chocolates. Though there were also coffee with all its varieties, but that time I chose the very substance related with the theme of the place and even the name of the place, Toko Coklat!

Hot Chocolate
Vanilla Cream & Mocha Chocolates

Since I lost the bill and I haven’t renewed my visit there, I concluded that everything that was there definitely not expensive. For instance, you can have a cup of coffee or chocolate only at a price range between IDR 10,000 to 15,000. As I mentioned before, the chocolate costs only IDR 3,500 and believe me, consume at most 2 and you’d probably had enough for the day.

I can guarantee the taste, the intensity of the sweetness was quite considerable but not at an exaggerating level whilst filled with creams of many sorts notably like mocha, caramel, or vanilla but that didn’t make the chocolate even too sweet and inedible, on the other hand it made the taste complete, whole, or anything you can name. Well, then again, I haven’t had the chance to taste all of it but I do recommend the place.

Apart from the fact that it’s not a place to hang out for a good deal amount of time (thanks to the not-so-cozy furnitures), you can visit here some times, pick some animal-shaped chocolates or box filled with small chocolates for your loved ones in substitute for pricy things, make it special this time and you can enjoy seeing their happy faces. Might as well come to this place, yet again I mention it, Toko Coklat.

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

1. PRICE (8/10)

A very wallet friendly place for a sinful indulgence!

2. INTERIOR (6/10)

The place wrapped in lights and adopted minimalist sytle interior. Though it can be furnished further to make it even better. Toko Coklat still has plenty of rooms to improve and it really should.

3. SERVICE (5/10)

Just fine.

4. TASTE (6/10)

For good chocolates, you can pick this place. Though I might not yet recommend the rest. You should try it by yourself first, unless you wait for my updates. ^^

5. OVERALL (6.25/10)

Additional Information:

Location : Jl. Cimanuk no. 5, Bandung

Kahvehane: Bakoel Koffie

While the research continues, I’ve been spending more than a year visiting local delights in Jakarta. Of course I never missed the opportunity to try new coffee bars. One of those opportunities was this Bakoel Koffie. They have opened several branches around Jakarta. Two of the branches I visited were the one in Cikini and this one in Senopati.

The weather that time was perfect. A rainy night! So I arrived at the place. Designed like a contemporary style art gallery but the interesting thing was that they integrated the art gallery with a coffee bar on the main hall and a sushi bar (Sushi Underground) in the visible basement right on the front of the premise. Intriguing! The paintings kept the wall filled, but the furniture were lacking in number so there’s still some blank spots unused. They could make it more homey, perhaps in time, but the terrace outside is a good spot for afternoon or night coffee, though I don’t really recommend it. It’s Jakarta and it’s humid even at night.

Anyway, I’ve always been fascinated by coffee. Even I wrote a thesis about coffee back then and I took my time researching one of prominent local coffee bars in Bandung. Local players have always been the subjects of my comparison study. Each has its own distinction, of course, which happens to be very comprehensive. For me, the most important aspects of a coffee bar is not all about serving coffee beverages, but also the ability to create good beverage by selecting and mixing coffee beans with other ingredients and condiments alongside with the rest, such as the design of the place, the seats, the food, and many things else. That’s probably the gastronomy aspect from a coffee bar.

Kopi Tubruk & Tiramisu Cheese Cake

I’ve been scouting for years to find the place that could blend those things perfectly and still I found none up until now, but the search must go on of course. Well.. at the very least, I’m proud with the local players and admire their effort to do so. It’s still a bit hard comparing the locals against the international class franchise like the Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and many others. Thanks to the heavy grip of globalization and it’s because they have standardized themselves so heavily in taste, they have a very active R&D, plus the control everything from the source up until the end products. Not to mention their experience. However, the locals also cannot be underestimated. Nowadays they have also become serious contenders, they learn from this fierce competition, and they got the advantage, cheaper price!

So it happened during one rainy night. I actually had visited other outlets of Bakoel Koffie previously, but found out that this one’s a bit different. Perhaps this place used to be an art gallery, but they left some paintings inside. There’s also this space downstairs, used to be a garage I guess, but still vacant and also an empty room upstairs. Well, it’s not really separated and blocked by a wall yet it’s not a long walk downstairs or upstairs. The design was a contemporary one, separated by glass, and very visible. They also have this balcony outside. Very very spacious I must say and unique because such premise can open a coffee bar, a sushi bar, and an art gallery at the same time. Cool!

Now for the coffee time! Their method of serving the coffee was just like in Starbucks or Coffee Bean, but the difference was that they delivered the coffee to the customer’s table. In Cikini branch however, the waitresses came over to us and everything ended like in common restaurants. So there’s not much fun in here, just a usual order and deliver thing. But speed is of the essence of course, they got to brew the coffee good and fast. So after a short while, here they come. Oh anyway, forgot to mention it, I ordered the Ice Coffee Float (IDR 28,000) and my friend wanted a Large Cappuccino (IDR 24,000) with extra Hazelnut Flavour (IDR 4,000). Well, comparing to the other com padres of local Jakarta coffee bars, Bakoel Koffie actually offers an extensive line of coffee beverages menu but it’s still no surprise that the taste was not that special. And comparing it to the other local competitors, still couldn’t meet my expectations.

Making quality conversations! This is the right place to do so! Well, for teenagers or anybody who don’t like to talk serious thing, you can always do the board games or talking trash and gossiping. But when you elevate things to higher level, then talking serious thing or be creative about something, then a coffee bar would become the right place to stay. Somehow I found it interesting and intriguing seeing people drinking alone, reading, or using their notebooks. I figure that typical nowadays lifestyle is like this, not to mention the growing individualism. But this is also a place where people now can create or produce something in mobile, communicating with people digitally, and conducting business globally. How fast life could evolve! I mean, we didn’t think such things can be made possible though we had dreamed of it right? Though it evolved from 1800s in Europe, but we gotta admit that since that time Europe has been able to produce many talents. Who might possibly know that brilliant musician like Mozart or famous philosopher like Nietzsche used to hang around their local coffee bar a lot? Thank the Turks for making coffee bean available in Europe.

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

1. PRICE (7/10)

– Calculation Method (Popular Method)

GT = After Service Tax Principle Price x Restaurant Tax

– Service Tax = 5%

– Grand Total = IDR 64,680 (just fine)

2. INTERIOR (7/10)

Bakoel Koffie everywhere applies different interior, but this one’s coolly designed though there are some empty spaces left untouched making the place somehow cold..

3. SERVICE (5/10)

Just fine.

4. TASTE (6/10)

Not the best tasting coffee for local coffee bars I’ve ever drank. Plenty rooms for improvements though. Local coffee bars should aim for the world, not only locally.

5. OVERALL (6.25/10)

Bakoel Koffie should try to devise something that would show their differences with others. Show your trademark from now on to the world. Improve more and don’t stop.

Additional Information:

Location : Jalan Cikini Raya no. 25, Jakarta – Indonesia