Tag Archives: Time Out Jakarta

Kahvehane: Sabang 16 (Time Out Jakarta, March 2011)

Crowded and loud, those would be the initial expressions coming from Sabang 16. Lucky enough that the place is quite comfy and air-conned good enough to endure Jakarta’s hot weather and noisy crowd.

Never mind about that for now, it’s time to have a good coffee and snacks. FYI, if your stomach’s growling, best not to rely on the food list. The heaviest meal would be either the toasts or the overpriced Indomie, Indonesia’s pride for instant noodles, topped with boiled egg and meat balls. Well, at the very least you can choose fries and sausages.

The toasts, however, not to be underestimated. The Roti Panggang Srikaya or popularly known as Kaya Toast is a good choice that consist of Two slices of bread of considerable size with butter and kaya, though somehow unconvincing, was actually sweet and fulfilling. While the French Toast (bread dipped in eggs and flavored with maple syrup) is a decent choice accompanied with Dilmah assorted tea and various cuppa coffee from Indonesian beans. An array of selections of Aceh Gayo, Sidikalang, Toraja Kalosi up to Papua Nabire are available at your disposal.

While Sabang 16 successfully boasts its Srikaya Toast, their other jewel named Vietnamese Drip Coffee was somehow different from the one I had in some restaurants or cafe back in Saigon. The ‘original’ version I had back then was milder due to the nature of the Vietnamese coffee beans, sweeter due to the nature of the Vietnamese evaporated milk, and there’s this inexplicable chemistry between them both. At any rate, drop the Vietnam thing and just enjoy the dripping coffee. It’s decent nonetheless.

Still hungry? I bet you are, but don’t hesitate to order the fried Chicken Wings. It’s honey dipped and golden fried, so it’s the whole package of mild sweetness and savory though perhaps you’d still want to dip them all up in chili sauce. A portion of six of them would beat your hunger a bit. So how about you add it with a side dish of a small glass filled with two half-boiled chicken eggs? It’s one of traditional hawker’s dishes with similar menu like Sabang 16 has. Just add a pinch or more salt and pepper to wrap it all up nicely, shake it up, and enjoy it.

Aside from all of those coffee and traditional hawkers delights, one of the owners of Sabang 16 also brings Badak, the Indonesian ‘Root Beer’ coming from Siantar in North Sumatera. It tasted almost the same with the original Root Beer but with a more soothing flavor, less soda, and still, it’s good and refreshing.

So joining the almost same path (but less adventurous) like its famous counterpart next door (Kopitiam Oey), Sabang 16 at least promotes cleaner and definitely better version from its hawker offsprings with the same menu, rich coffee selections, indigenous drinks, all for a bit expensive but still within the reasonable level of pricing.

Jalan Sabang has always been the center of food hawkers. Though recently dwindling since the flood prevention and road constructions thanks to the DKI Jakarta governor, nonetheless some business still bravely stood against the wind and this time, the fledgling Sabang 16 starts successfully in its endeavor.

Jl. Sabang 16, Jakarta

Rating: 2/5

Price Range: Around Rp. 50,000 – 75,000 for two

Featured in Time Out Jakarta March 2011 edition (pictures modified and added)-

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Restaurant Review: Tin Pan Alley (Time Out Jakarta, February 2011) [CLOSED]

Tin Pan Alley is the latest cool addition to the growing family of stylish bistros in Central Jakarta and it’s inconspicuously located inside a new office premise of Thamrin Nine Podium/UOB Plaza.

The restaurant successfully revives old American era of musicians that goes with the same name circa 1920s where inside you’ll see an old telephone, a gramophone, stained mirrors, classic tiles, and white bricks that resembles the early 20th century American industrial era completed with drawings of old working class flats with gridiron emergency stairs. The lightings are comfortably soft and that went harmoniously well with the jazzy tunes. It’s just perfect for a romantic dinner scene especially when there were not too many patrons around and that would be during weekdays.

The genre itself is American dish with some influences from Mexican, Italian and Cajun. Starting from the familiar Western style breakfast dishes up to salads and soups, burgers and sandwiches, pasta dishes, and the mains where mostly deal with grills, pan sears, and roasts.

Strawberry Lemonade and Melon Juice

In the morning, you may want to deal with their all-day breakfast dishes which mostly involving the affairs between eggs, tuna, salmon, and croissants and even in dinnertime plenty of choices are available for appetizers but the sound of the good old finger licking delicious chicken wings served in abundance and with three choices of sauce such as the barbeque sauce, garlic cheese sauce, and the sour yet spicy sauce they called Red Devil Buffalo was just too good to be true. And dear oh dear, what a marvel! The chicken wings were fried to perfection, battered proportionally, and most of all the meat all tender and savory. Just dip the chicken in the barbeque sauce and you wouldn’t want to add anything else because it was just perfect like a match made in heaven.

Chicken Wings

When it gets serious, I chose the Italian heritage menu and this time it’s neither the usual spaghetti nor penne but I put my bet on their macaroni and cheese. It’s a hot bowl full of baked macaroni with creamy yellow cheddar cheese and many bits of bacons in-betweens. You can feel the weight by just imagining it, looking at it and then my fears came to worst. So no matter how delectable it might be with all the savory cheese, good macaroni and the copious bacon bits, the base was just too oily and the thickness of everything inside the dish will sap your appetite away before even getting into the dessert.

Old Fashioned Mac & Cheese

Instead of lingering and giving up to the fate, I shifted right away to the barramundi dish, said to have been one of the stars of the show from the roast and grill department. The 170 grams pan seared sea bass was just fresh but a bit chewy. If you happen to not familiar with pan seared fish, it might not be a good first encounter but nonetheless it tasted quite okay. Although the key to the goodness of it lies at the fresh papaya mango salsa sauce seasoned with lemon juice and beautified with raisins, poured over the fish. This created a sweet but refreshing taste making it not boring or too ‘fishy’. The dish was also accompanied finely by savory potato wedges and mixed salad thus saving the fish from total disappointment.

Seared Barramundi with Papaya Mango Salsa Sauce

At times you might want to just hang out and have a leisure time sipping a cup of Illy coffee or the infused lemonades with various fresh fruits while also enjoying light meals and the live music in Tin Pan Alley. The food may require some improvements but the atmosphere was just too perfect to be missed by not having a good time with your significant others or friendly office colleagues. So team up with your besties and have a good time once in a while at this fine joint.

Thamrin Nine Podium/UOB, Lobby Lvl #f, Jl. MH Thamrin Kav. 10, Jakarta

Rating: 3/5

Price Range: Around Rp. 200,000-300,000 for two

Featured in Time Out Jakarta February 2011 edition (pictures modified and added)-

Restaurant Review: Piscator (Time Out Jakarta, January 2011)

Piscator is the latest addition of all-you-can-eateries in Jakarta resided in the all-new but still quiet Epicentrum Walk. While others promoting the usual yakiniku and shabu shabu, Piscator introduces the seafood genre.

Anyway, exactly like the theme, you’ll get a feeling like you’re on aboard a ship because everything seemed to be related with the sea. So just hop in and you’ll see ship models everywhere, sands, circle windows, enormously long buffet table with the sails, and some waiters even arrayed in sailor clothes. Despite the Western name that has something to do with fisherman/fishery, Piscator owes much to the nationality of its head chef. The dishes are mostly touched with Korean influence and thanks also for plenty of Korean expats patrons. However, to make it more universal, Piscator also adds Japanese theme and seafood grills in it.

For instance, pick the sushi and sashimi first just to get the feel about the food. Not too many variants but I bet you’d already acquainted with tuna and salmon. As additions, pick the tako sashimi, unagi sushi, salmon sushi or just one of those sushi rolls with kyuri, crab sticks, and the other one covered with mango plus the usual California roll. All was good and would bolster anybody’s appetite for the next dish. The Japanese theme doesn’t end there as you can also pick Oden and Tempura.

Aside from the sushi and sashimi for the opener, Piscator also have plenty selections of appetizers. The raw oysters were fresh and solid, though a bit small in size and missing the watery good of it though you can add lemons for a more fresh sensation. The fried prawns with mayo proved to be very delectable with all the crispy and sweet exterior sauced with the thick mayo. The steamed shrimps were ripe for plunder and so were the crab salad with the snail salad. Even so the seafood gratin which consists of scallops and mussels, however inviting, were not that special. They were lacking in characters of the cheese, the dressing, and most of all, the taste of the original scallops and mussels themselves. However, it can be quickly mended by plenty other selections such as the traditional kimchi salads in many variants up to the soup and noodles with fish balls, mushrooms, and vegetables.

The best part would be the displayed seafood in front of the grill and teppanyaki sections. Simply pick anything and as much as you want. Starting from marinated squids, Bulgogi, Galbi, shellfishes, bamboo clams, pomfret, prawns, dory fish, gindara, salmon, and USA beef. Just hand them over and wait for the cooking process. The wait’s worth it actually. After the grilled seafood or Korean beef came, simply dip it in sauces of your choice. I’d recommend the traditional Indonesian spicy and sweet soy sauce or the Japanese yakiniku sauce and you’ll be sure to hit the same portion again at least twice.

Despite the attempts to make the all-you-can-eat experience colorful, the main dishes on the buffet seemed to be largely neglected. People would go over the seafood grills, the teppanyaki, or just simply the inviting appetizers and sushi section. Nonetheless, Piscator successfully generates plenty of choice, serves fresh seafood, helpful service, and a valuable all-you-can-eat experience aside from the quite hefty sum we need to pay. So tag your friends along, celebrate the night, avoid too much drinks so you can save enough space for your tummy, ravish the goodness Piscator has to offer, and end the fiesta with scoops of good old ice cream.

Epicentrum Walk, GF. Komplek Rasuna Epicentrum. Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said, Jakarta 12960 – Indonesia

RSVP: 021 – 56 100 100

Rating: 3/5

Price Range: Around Rp. 300,000 – 350,000 for two

Featured in Time Out Jakarta January 2011 edition (pictures modified and added)-

Restaurant Review: C’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant (Time Out Jakarta, November 2010)

C’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant is one of the Grand Hyatt Jakarta’s proudest restaurants. Located on the 4th floor, C’s specializes in grilled food and boasts an intimidating collection of about 3,000 wines.

The restaurant sports a modern design that leaves no corner  empty, while an impressive soft lighting scheme creates a warm intimate atmosphere. What sets the place apart from its hotel rivals is the open-style kitchen, which can be seen from the dining area, and has counter seating for those who want an uninterrupted view onto what  goes on in the kitchen.

The conversational ambiance and easy listening sound track helped us forget about all of the chaos outside on Jakarta’s congested streets. The excellent manners and professionalism of the staff seemed to be the biggest benefit of having the restaurant situated in a hotel.

We ventured to order the Dim Sum Platter and the Seafood and Steak Platter, and while we waited, we were  invited to try the fresh Australian Oysters. However, the dim sum arrived before the oysters.

The dim sum consists of hakau, scallop shaomai, and original shaomai — thin pancakes filled with beef, and spring rolls. The hakau  which has always been a favourite item was tasty but credit is also due to the other items. While C’s specializes in grilled food, it could  make a name for itself on its dim sum and pasta dishes alone.

Then came the oysters! This was a majestic display of Australian raw  oysters, very fresh, served on a lofty platter teeming with ice and lemons. The oysters were divine and refreshing, even those we didn’t add  lemon to. They tasted as all oysters should — as if they were caught moments before in the sea.

The Seafood and Steak Platter happened to be a very inviting main dish. Served on a long platter filled with frutti di mare and carne, it was a delight. There was the lovely Norwegian  salmon grilled to perfection, and thankfully without any trace of a fishy smell. With mild pink flesh on the inside and a slightly crispy outside,  the dish brought the best out of what salmon can offer. The platter also included two spicy beef sausages, and a very suitable companion  of beef steak and lamb chops, both medium-well done. The steak and the lamb chops were excellent. In the surf corner were huge prawns  and a lobster. The lobster was indeed very fresh as evidenced by that tell-tale hint of sweetness within its mild meat.

Overall, it was a very  satisfying dinner. However, we would probably have walked out of the restaurant feeling we had eaten an over-priced meal if we hadn’t  selected the surf and turf option, which was understandably expensive.

Grand Hyatt Jakarta, Jl. MH  Thamrin, Kav. 28-30

RSVP: 021 – 3901234

Opening Hours: 12 pm- 3 pm and 6 pm to 11 pm

Rating: 4/5

Featured in Time Out Jakarta November 2010 edition (pictures modified and added)-

Restaurant Review: Benihana (Time Out Jakarta, December 2010)

Internationally acclaimed and with more than 100 outlets all around the world, Benihana now resides in Grand Indonesia shopping mall. The teppanyaki specialist finally shares the joy of tasty food and their attractive cooking style. You wouldn’t guess from its dark and simple appearance from the outside, but when you come inside you’ll be surprised that Benihana is such a vast establishment with so many teppanyaki tables and even an outdoor lounge with a direct view of Bundaran HI, the heart of Jakarta.

There are many choices on the menu, though it’s best to stick to teppanyaki specialties. Other options such as hot rice dishes, sushi rolls, and robatayaki are also available. For the teppanyaki, choices of beef ranging from Black Angus to Wagyu, seafood including shrimps, scallops, salmon, red snapper, and the rare teppanyaki ingredient of black cod are also available. Without hesitation, we recommend the Hibachi Steak or the Black Angus beef and the Jumbo Shrimps for that fresh seafood flavour. These two teppanyaki dishes come with appetizers such as Japanese onion soup with the fillings of sliced mushrooms and kitsune. Also there is the appetizing Benihana salad that reminds us of Asinan Bogor as the taste was quite familiar.

Benihana Salad
Japanese Onion Soup

Among several choices of sushi rolls we picked the Jakarta Rainbow Roll which consists of salmon, snapper, tuna, unagi, and toppings of masago or the capelin roes. The level of freshness was without doubt the highlight of the dish. It was light, tasty, and tender.

Jakarta Rainbow Roll

The teppanyaki chef comes in with a loud comedian introduction and bartender-like displays with kitchen utensil. Other chefs from neighbouring tables were also even singing! It was entertaining and funny but the good thing was that the food was also great. Starting with sautéed zucchinis, onions, shiitake mushrooms, and amaebi or the sweet shrimps, the chef added butter, pepper, and salt with some soy sauce to make it different than the usual sautéed dishes. We were indulged by all of these appetizers and they encouraged us to move forward and to get ready with the real deal, the Black Angus and the prawns.We asked specifically for the beef to be grilled medium-well. Alongside some sautéed bean sprouts, the chef then diced the beef and prepared the prawns. It didn’t take long and the result was enormously satisfying. The beef was succulent, juicy, and tender. As for the prawns, it was rich and fresh. There’s a sense of chewiness with the prawns but that made it even tastier. Dip it all in some ginger sauce to add more spirit to all of the meat and the vegetables on offer.

Hibachi Steak Teppanyaki

All in all, it was a delightful treat though a bit overpriced. Benihana has a swift and attentive service, not forgetting the entertaining chefs. Even so, it’s a must visit for singles, couples or families. Get entertained by the comedy chef and share the laughs with everyone, but most of all, share the hearty and the tasty teppanyaki dishes available here.

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BENIHANA

Address:
Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall, East Mall, 3rd Floor, Jl. MH Thamrin, Kav. 1

RSVP: 021 – 2358 1065

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Featured in Time Out Jakarta December 2010 edition (pictures modified and added)-