Saturday, February 28, 2015

LOKAL Restaurant at Jembatan Merah, Yogyakarta

LOKAL Hotel & Restaurant has been a local buzz amongst many travel purveyor in Indonesia as its offer a modern lodging with hints of local hospitality of Yogyakarta. The notorious 'Jogjakarta' mural on its 80-seat restaurant can be seen featured in many magazines, which leads me there during a short trip I had to Yogyakarta. The hotel and restaurant joint that is located next to one another is not too big; the parking can hold only a couple dozen of car or so. The hotel itself is a boutique hotel, only offering 12 available rooms and not located on a big street. Going to LOKAL is one of my main priority, going to Yogyakarta and I finally made it there yet unfortunately I did not stay at this particular hotel -- but the hint I got from seeing the restaurant and its exterior leaves a very good note.

Complimentary snacks I took as we are waiting for food. 

Snack Platter (IDR 21.000)
The appetizer sharing platter consists of fried calamari, fried chicken wings, and corn fritter (bakwan jagung). The said to be signature dip is a brown sauce that is sweet and tangy with a touch of tamarid, served alongside with ketchup. The fried dish were crispy and not at all oily. A good opener to the meal in its plentiful portion.

Nasi Goreng Roa (IDR 24.000)
The fried rice is cooked alongside with North Sulawesi's spicy roa fish delicacy, topped with egg and served alongside with crackers, achar and chicken satay drizzled with peanut sauce. The peanut sauce and roa combo might've been weird as it clashes in flavour but it becomes an oozing soothing sweetness to have in the midst of eating the rice. The chicken were cooked really tender and juicy and the achar were seemingly homemade and not overpowering. However the crackers has gotten a bit soggy but despite that, the flavor of the roa fried rice itself were super super delicious! It was the right amount of spicyness and savouriness coming from the handful of roa served in the plate. This dish is everyone's favorite of the day as it is both bold and well-balanced.

Caramelized Apple Cuts (IDR 18.000)
The sweet apple glazed in generous amount of camael sauce serves as a base to a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled in a homemade strawberry sauce and garnished with mint leaves. This dessert is incredibly delicious, very sweet and aromatic and the play on the texture were marvelous. Sadly this dessert wasn't all mine, but even trying a bit off its taste made me fell in love!

You can access the menu here
Check the availability with the staff as some of the food is no longer available for service :(

The smoking area is decorated with tiles and wall art inspired by Yogyakarta's very own signature batik kawung motifs. Love this very particular detail!

Teri Balado Pizza (IDR 45.000)
The sweet-spicy-salty pizza took the longest to make that it actually becomes our closing meal. Aside from the speed of this dish particular service, the flavour serves it justice. The pizza is smothered with tomato margherita sauce, mozzarella cheese and topped with chili flakes and of course the anchovies itself. The flavor were unique and holds a true sense of LOKAL's attempt in modernizing many Indonesian traditional food through ways such as this kind of fusion. I took a slice and wanted a second, but I gotten really full already -- if only they were served to time with the other meal.

It was a very great visit, coming to LOKAL. It opens early and has a breakfast menu option too, if you're interested. Coming for an early-lunch here were a very fulfilling experience and was not disappointed. The kitchen can be seen through its minimalistic counter as well though a window in the smoking area (by the way, their smoking area is fully conditioned, too!). The place is very comfortable for hanging out or even business meetings as it open in long hours. The price were very decent, especially considering this is jointed with a hotel and it comes with a decent service. Next time, I would also love to stay to the hotel and try to explore more from LOKAL Hotel and Restaurant establishment and its vicinity.

LOKAL Restaurant 
Jl. Jembatan Merah No. 104C
Yogyakarta 55283
+62274 5234334

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Soto Ayam Pak Man at Sagan, Yogyakarta

Soto has been a pretty popular breakfast menu around town and whilst enjoying my time in Yogyakarta I tried on one of the famous soto joint at Sagan. Soto Ayam Pak Man opens from 06.00 a.m. so we came around that time only to find most of the table already filled with people. The humble cart is located on the side of the road but takes quite a space as it forms a long line of tables. After we got seated, we directly ordered the soto ayam (chicken soup) from the very straightforward menu, with an option to use innards on our warm bowl of soup. 

Soto Ayam + Nasi (IDR 7.000)
The soto ayam consists of shredded chicken, fried potato mash (perkedel or bergedel as the local said it), rice, chicken broth, beansprout, green onion, corriander, fried shallots amongst others. The broth were savoury, steaming and generous. The whole dish has great play on texture as there were great amount of diced chicken of numerous part such as the thigh and skin; very delicious. With all the generosity, it comes with a very decent pricetag that will make you recalculate and rethink whether or not you're spending money for a meal that's really worth it because this joint proves than decent pricing can equate to decent quantity and quality altogether.

The usual kerupuk uyel (yup, I just knew that this white cracker or kerupuk bawang's proper name is actually kerupuk uyel) comes in a rather unusual square-shape that I've never seen in Jakarta but sure as delicious with way lesser price.

Sate Usus, Sate Rampela (IDR 1.500)
Chicken intentines and chicken heart-liver served on a satay stick. Fried in its salty goodness with a hit of sweetness from the blend of spices marinating it before the cooking process. The intestine turn out crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Goes very well in your soup or by its own, my favorite whenever available.

The portion was plenty that I was pretty full despite wanting another bowl of the very soup. I visitd on a Monday morning and seats were packed pretty fast so come early as they open only from the morning until the early afternoon.

Soto Ayam Pak Man
Jl. Profesor Dr. Yohanes
Sagan, Yogyakarta

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Jejamuran at Sleman, Yogyakarta

En route to the Borobudur Temple, you can see a sign of Jejamuran by the side of the road pointing through the restaurant. Supported by many recommendations found online, we decided to go here on a beautiful Monday afternoon and come with the restaurant front being filled with plenty of people yet with enough room in the back for a whole lot other party to come. The place was decorated simply with touches of old-school Indonesian design dominated by wood. Upon the entrance left there were several cashier register with the kitchen behind them. Located near various plantations, the breeze came in through to the restaurant and also added with a fan for every number of tables. It's name Jejamuran truly stays with their main ingredient: jamur or mushroom.

The menu were pretty simple, several variety of dishes with mushroom as its main protein. This place is very vegetarian-friendly since I didn't find any hint of meat from any of our order (I am not sure about the stocks though, try consulting to the staff first). As I was waiting for my food, I decided to take a look around to see the kinds of mushroom this place have and to take an easier guess in what kind of food I'll be having in here.


After looking around for a couple of minutes, our food finally arrived minutes after the drink does. Even some of the beverages here are made with some mixture of a mushroom. Definitely an interesting concept! 

Jamur Goreng Tepung (IDR 11.000)
The battered meringue mushroom is fried until it has a crispy consistency, served with chili sauce. The deep dried mushroom makes an easy appetizer to share. It's pieces were small and makes it easy to nibble that it was goon within minutes. This is very well seasoned but may have been one of the most 'boring' order we had since you can find fried mushroom in many places -- but certainly this does not disappoint.

Tongseng Jamur (IDR 26.000)

Firstly look at that thick broth! The usual mutton curry were given a twist by having its main ingredient replaced by mushroom. I did not try this personally but everyone else on the table said that this was their favorite of the day, very rich and flavorful.

Lumpia Isi Jamur (IDR 3.500)
The name says it all: it is a piece of lumpia filled with mushroom. It's wonton-like skin wraps the mushroom and then fried until crispy. Yet this lumpia was not really crispy by the time I ate it, but generally has a nice flavor to it and it's texture is not too different from the usual vegetable lumpier. It is served with chili (cabe rawit).

Cup Jamur Merang (IDR 25.000)
Correct me if I'm wrong since I'm not sure whether or not this is actually a cup of merang mushroom.This is a dried mushroom snack purchased at the store. Very crunchy, small, and has a very earthy fragrant. Would be best if you add more salt to it since I don't think there were plenty of seasoning to go around with this.

Sate Jamur (IDR 16.000)
HANDS DOWN THE BEST DISH IN HERE! The grilled satay consist of two-types of mushroom that I forgot which, portioned in five sticks that makes a portion. I asked for a second plate since it was just so delicious! Texture wise it almost resembled chicken skin, very chewy and jelly-like but with grill char all over for added texture. The peanut sauce were very savory with bits of sweets that are not overpowered with sweet soy sauce. Also, look at those chilis! I ordered this one to be hot and can feel the subtle spicyness as I gobbed this thing down. This is such a great idea and it makes me wonder: why haven't I think of this before?

This is Indo Saparella, my new favorite drink. Similar to the root beer mass-product but were produced locally. The bottle were unique and priced for IDR 8.500 in Jejamuran.

Dadar Shiitake (IDR 15.000)
Omelette served with shiitake mushroom. The mushroom in every portion were pretty generous, including in this one. The added chives makes the egg fragrant and it was very fluffy.  A note to Jejamuran is that the packaged chili sauce was not really practical during meals, so there better be some other ways to serve condiments in a better paltform.

You can find a mushroom plantation near the back of the restaurant as well as a little store selling variety of packaged mushrooms you can purchase and bring back home (or directly eat on the spot -- we don't judge!). The restaurant also has a prayer room as well as restrooms. Definitely family friendly and also accessible for the disabled since the restaurant also has numerous wheelchair available. This is a detail I've never find in any restaurant before, knowing this makes this restaurant really applausable for that kind of attention to their consumers. This makes Jejamuran a very great pitstop as it is actually located in the middle of a road surrounded by green fields, but the quality of the service, the reasonable price, and the flavor of the food they had here kept people coming in. On my other visit to Yogyakarta I would definitely put Jejamuran on my list.

Niron, Pandowoharjo, 
Tridadi, Kec. Sleman
DI Yogyakarta 55512
+62 27 868170

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sana Sini Restaurant at Thamrin

Sana Sini Restaurant is located in Pullman Hotel Jakarta. I've been pretty excited about visiting this buffet since it offers a more modern take to the hotel dining concept. I visited Pullman on a Friday afternoon with my mother and several of her friends. The reception desk is simple, placed right outside the restaurant with many sofa lounges nearby as it shares the area with the hotel lobby area. Upon entering, we were greeted by the staffs and are welcomed to our seats. 

The seats we got is by the glass looking through the Wisma Nusantara building and right across the Western food section. There are four food sections offered by Sana Sini Restaurant, which are: Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and Western. In addition to the four, there are dessert and bakery counter to satisfy your palate. Without any further hesitation, I began exploring the areas and began grabbing tonnes of foods!

The western food area offers mixtures of foods deriving from different area of the Western part of the world including pasta, steak, cheese, salad and mainly protein that are cooked in simple seasonings; the ones common in here are grilled, smoked and roasted during the time of my visit. Many variety of accompanying sauces can be found in the isle to accompany your dishes and add more flavor to your selection of meals. The selection here would have been suitable as the main courses for the day as it were mostly meaty and rich from the sauces. One thing I love the most about the Western food section is the unique plate that could divide your food into two section, with one of it being a bit more shallow that the other and can perform as a soup or condiment dish. Unique and functional.

The Chinese food section could've been my favorite section if only there food could travel around the kitchen better. I understand that the restaurant were quite busy at the time, but after going back and forth to this particular station numerous times some food were coming out very slowly that I lost interest. I was actually looking forward to trying out their roasted poultry (especially the glazing Peking duck that can be seen dangling by the stall) and more of their dimsum variant -- but the bamboo plates were left empty for several minutes that I've stopped looking. But the good thing is, the dimsum that I got to try were really delicious and served steaming hot. The other dishes from the Chinese counter, including the soup, rices, tofu, fried prawn, stir-fry veggies and such were delicious! When the pacing of this counter worked well, it would have been the hit as it offers many powerful flavor in their dishes.

Every diner ultimate favorite counter must've been this one since there were queues in every corner. The amazing thing is the coordination within the kitchen that were able to control the flow of the dishes very well that the plates were never left empty for too long. The Japanese stall offers array of sushi, noodles, tempura, yakitori, sashimi alongside with other fresh seafoods including crawfish, clams, and also Japanese salad option. The crowd did not lie as this station were clearly the hit on this lunch serving. It is also my favorite area of the whole Sana Sini Restaurant. Try the juicy, fresh sashimi for a comparison and order some freshly cooked soba when you got the time. Pullman's Sana Sini essentially kept the quality of (previously) Hotel Nikko's reputation in the serving of Japanese food in its best way possible. Every dishes, no matter how simple it looked, were executed very properly.

I did not try many of the Indonesian dishes as I've gotten a bit too full to try out for more, and the Indonesian section were just unfortunately placed on the very end of the restaurant that I got to visit it last. I did try out their chicken satay and mutton satay though and it was one of the best execution of traditional satay that I have ever had! It was definitely humble and simple, but the meat were so juicy and flavorful that I almost regretted only taking three pieces. Yet again, I find the problem in this section is that since the station were last crowded than the other stations, some food production were slowed down due the low demand. When I wanted to try out the satay I was talking about. I took the last three piece available and grill was not even fired for the preparation of continuing batch. When I requested a freshly cooked kue cubit, too, the staff were actually a little frazzled for not being able to turn the stove on.

But fret not, flavor wise the Indonesian section were very bold and true to the traditional flavors. It also pays respect to various Indonesian cuisines. The problems I got here today was only the fact that some of the food that were prepared to order did not came out for order at the expected time. It being in the middle of lunch hour is an understandable cause, but cannot be overlooked. One more thing...

...there were no macarons offered in between the large array of desserts? In a hotel in which has it's bakery named 'Makaron'? I was so so so so disappointed since I was looking forward to trying out Sana Sini (and Makaron's) french macaron. I was genuinely sad for not finding any macaron disk available in between the selections of international and Indonesian sweet desserts. To redeem myself, I splurged on other ice creams, cakes, and also make a good use of their chocolate fondue. It was all delicious, many had a play on texture and my favorite was the cake pop; but it would've been better if there are actually some macaron lying around my plate.

*still crying*
*wipes tears*

The Indonesian desserts are also stand strong with its international counterpart, even some are superior since it was executed nicely. It is a nice touch to add a specific counter in a form of an antique cabinet to display the Indonesian desserts. I applaud Sana Sini for taking chances for taking Indonesian food further on their servings in the plates of detailed desserts.

I was very happy with my visit since Sana Sini and the Pullman Hotel itself has a very good vibe and modern touches here and there with its attention to detail. With a price of 350.000 IDR per person, I see it as a pricetag worthy of the quality offered by Pullman. The price also comes with bottomless mineral water and tea/coffee option for the diner during its weekday lunch service. I would love to come for a second, third, or more visit. Next time hopefully with faster circulation of the food and of course with its macaron available!

Sana Sini Restaurant
Pullman Hotel Jakarta
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 59
Central Jakarta
+62 21 3906444