Tag Archives: International

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)

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.

Supermarket Sweep: 7 Eleven [CLOSED]

Hot Cappuccino Medium Size with free Syrups!

What’s with 7 Eleven? It’s only a mini mart! Yeah, I know that. But this one is special. Just opened recently in Jakarta. I heard we got one here back then, but this one’s probably the whole different story. Located on the intersection of Mahakam St., this place getting a bit packed with teens who would hang out around that place in weekends. One of the attendants also said to me that they’ll open one in Kemang next, so I guess that the next one would be in Sabang St. That’s a businessman acumen. Haha..

What’s so special then? Unlike those smaller 7 Eleven marts I saw in Singapore, KL, or Bangkok, this one got everything inside! Mostly they only got the Slurpee and Big Gulp right? Here, they of course got those too, but they also installed the brewed coffee machine and a machine for teh tarik, cappuccino, and latte for any size! Add your favorite syrups for free! I had 4 shots of caramel for my hot cappuccino for excellent taste.

They also got counters for ready food like the hotdogs, fresh pizza, fried rice, Japanese croquettes, and others! For the hotdogs, you can add anything you like inside plus add the cheese from the machine for free!!! Now that’s what I call heaven!

They also provide seats so that you can sip your coffee or have your hotdogs peacefully. Plus the instant photo box machine and the copier for your other needs. Though what I didn’t like was that they put so much lamps on the ceilings so it gets too bright and definitely energy unfriendly. Well, don’t expect to get pampered a lot in a mini mart like that, but at least they really provide many interesting things for us to see for the first time in Jakarta. Enjoy your visit there! ^^

Location : All over Jakarta!

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

Food Court: The Kiosk Food Market

The Kiosk offers you food stalls from Bandung’s local specialties. The concept is quite similar but not exactly the same as Marche or Urban Kitchen in Jakarta but the selections and the price can be the very reason why you gonna love this place. Currently there are 3 places you can visit, one in Dago, Setiabudi, and in Braga.

Let me mention everything about the local specialties that available in this place. You can pick iga bakar, satay, nasi bakar, mie kocok kikil, soto sulung ayam, nasi liwet, lotek & rujak, es campur, nasi goreng, gudeg, nasi begana, bubur ayam, baso tahu, pempek, kupat tahu, ketan bakar, and batagor. All from local favorites such as Ronde Jahe Alketeri, Iga Bakar Si Jangkung, Pempek Rama, and many others!

Mie Kocok Kikil

My favorite there of course, Mie Kocok Kikil Kebon Jukut. The one I had that day was in Braga. What is Mie Kocok? Originated from Bandung, this type of noodle, resembling fettucine, is served with thick broth plus the diced cow’s leg (kikil) with many bean sprouts. Sometimes this dish can be added with meatballs but not here. You can have it for IDR 13,000 and for bigger portion IDR 17,000. Very decent and reasonably priced plus there’s plenty other options should you return next time to venture more inside. What more can you ask?

LOCATION:

  1. Braga City Walk GF. Jl. Braga no. 99-101, Bandung
  2. Jl. Ir. H. Juanda no. 48, Bandung
  3. Setiabudi Supermarket 2F. Jl. Setiabudi no. 42, Bandung