Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sam's Strawberry Corner at Melawai

A year ago I often come to Sam's Strawberry Corner to enjoy their noodles, but the two branches that I usually visited in the past has now been permanently closed -- one in Cipete and another one in Wijaya across the Institut Français d'Indonésie where I partake my French lessons in. One morning, I finally try out one of the standing branch at Panglima Polim. It is open at about 10 a.m. which I'm pretty thankful for since we did look for a good hefty breakfast. This particular restaurant in this location is more modern in comparison to the other Sam's Strawberry Corner I've visited. It is fully conditioned, a certain upgrade that makes the price of the meal worth it since the offered menu does come with a price.

Yamin Manis Babat + Ceker (IDR 40.000)
This is my personal order which consist of noodle drenched in sweet soy sauce hence the term 'yamin manis (sweet)' topped with shredded chicken and fried chicken feet as well as beef tripe accompanying the soup. Most of the time I would actually order their complete menu named "Yamin/Bihun Asin/Manis Ala Sam's" that also includes wontons and meatballs; but I realise that I always go back to that menu mainly because of the tripe and chicken feet topping that I rarely found in other place.

Yamin Asin Bakso + Pangsit (IDR 35.000)
This is the other variety of the noodle, the 'yamin asin' which does not come with sweet soy sauce to the mixture of the noodle. The shredded chicken topping is still the same with its unique texture that is similar to a floss that will go into your every bite since its been dessicated so fine it will mix well into the broth.

Strawberry Juice (IDR 17.000)
What does it mean to come to Sam's without having to try any strawberry as part of your meal? The strawberry here are served as part of the beverage as well as the dessert menu. This strawberry juice is fully packed with strawberries served cold to the table. I ordered the juice without milk and really gotten the true texture of strawberries in a balanced sweet and sourness of the fruit.

Another order that was not pictured is their siomay which is priced at IDR 7.000 each. In my opinion the siomay were pretty good but I would rather opt for the noodle. To note, the restaurant were out of mushroom that day so we did not have the chance to have their mie ayam jamur as another variety to our order.  Despite all that Sam's Strawberry Corner and its noodles remains as the type of food that I'll crave from time to time. At the very least you should try out their strawberry juice to prove the worth of this restaurant stood ground for quite sometime in Bandung and with its branches Jakarta.

Sam's Strawberry Corner
Jl. Panglima Polim V No. 21
South Jakarta
+62 811-1998-687

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

An Afternoon Tea Party

Me and my two high school friends decides to have a garden tea party for the three of us. I plan it out to be a girls day where we can spend the afternoon catching up with one another and eating a bunch of stuff all day. The three of us decides to get together and brought up some of the food and beverages to the party, the decoration were pretty simple and there's only one YouTube playlist playing in the background to acompany us in the afternoon. Prep were minimum but I think we did pretty well. What do you think?

When my friend asked me whether it is a "high tea" or just "afternoon tea" proceeding, I do not know the answer. The only thing I had in mind it's just a meet up, with teas and dainty cakes. I literally just found out the differences while writing this post and which you can find out here. We begun the party at 3.00 p.m., an appropriate time for a tea party. Teas brewed, cakes ready, jams prepared, cookies put in place. 

To list some of the things we got for the day includes:

  • Auntie Anne's Cheesy Dog Bites 
  • J.Co's J. Pops Baby Donuts
  • BreadTalk Vanilla and Chocolate Muffin
  • Richeese Bisvit Selimut
  • Maqui's Macarons and Signature Mini Cakes
  • Esrolle's Pandan and Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake
  • Speculoos' Crunchy Cookie Butter
  • TWG's Silver Moon Tea
  • Lipton's Yellow Label Tea
  • Kinder's Milch-Schnitte

Some other things weren't listed above since there were so much for the three of us that we got easily stuffed after nibbling the sweets (and savories) little by little by the hours. 6 p.m. in and we finished up the table and went back inside since the garden party has attracted so many little friends like mosquitoes and bees. We ended up having so much fun, try setting one up with your friends!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fish & Co. at Cilandak

Everytime summer comes in and my high school friends from across the continents gather up back in Jakarta, it is a sure bet that we will dine at Fish & Co. in Cilandak Town Square since it is located across our school. No one really sure why, but whether it is only one group or the whole batch, it was most definitely the restaurant we pick out will be this one. Unaware that I'll be going to the same place for sometime later that week I went to Fish & Co. with my brother since the initial restaurant we're interested in were out of our favorite menu. We decided to try out something different than our usual fish and chips order.

Seafood Baked Rice (IDR 89.000)
The baked paella rice is mixed with a bunch of seafood and crustaceans that is cooked in tomato sauce are baked alongside with great amount of mozzarella that directly melts onto the rice. The rice were baked right on the serving plate that comes blazing hot to our table - so hot that there were another plate under it. For the price tag you'll get great amount of cheese and seafood. The combo were actually really flavorful although the tomato sauce adds a little unnecessary sweetness into the dish. The rest of the dish were very proportionate and the portion were actually plenty despite I was hesitant the first time that this will not make me as full as the humongous fish and chips they serve here.

Seafood Platter for 1 (IDR 179.000)
Instead of their fish and chip, we decided to order up a platter to change things up. The platter consists of grilled prawn, white fish (cod, I believe?) and grilled calamari served on top of paella and served with french fries on its side and a lemon wedge to add an additional acidity to the dish. The secalamari is my personal favorite but the prawn also tasted sweet and delicious. However, the fish were a bit dry and does not stand well with the deep fried fish fare that Fish & Co. were so good about. My brother said that he would rather order the Best Fish and Chip in Town and order the other seafood as sides. I might have to agree with him, in regard to the fish.

Iced Lemon Tea (IDR 8.000)
Refill available

Fish & Co. were definitely one of the top choices to get a mouthful of fish and chips. The price really worth the portion and the service we got, as well as th view if you got seated by their window. The reason my high school alumni come here often is no surprise, is due to the overall good time we had here. I bet next summer there would be a lot of fishes to be eaten. A little anecdote,  three days after I had their signature Fish and Chips menu at the same branch with my high school friends, as you may have guessed. See?

Fish & Co.
Cilandak Town Square
1st Floor No. 140
West Cilandak
South Jakarta

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Jeans Chilli Chicken at Gandaria

It was a beautiful afternoon, about 2 p.m on a weekday in which my friends and I decided to meet up at Gandaria City. My friends suggested the place and I immediately agreed to have lunch at Jeans Chili Chicken. I've tried this place before hand, but had only tried their signature jeans chili chicken and rice ball for myself. This time we ordered multiple desserts to share for the six of us and ended up being almost too full to function. Jeans Chili Chicken itself is located by the mall's Mainstreet Dining across Chureria, and is actually a branch originated from Sydney, Australia that highlights Korean chicken dishes within its menu.

Chilli Rice Sticks (IDR 48.000)
The Korean tteokbokki which is shaped like sticks made out of rice flour and has a texture similar to a pasta noodle is served at Jeans in a big portion. It was so big that it surprised myself. There were plenty of the rice sticks itself, drowned in a pool of spicy gochujang sauce, served alongside with oden/ fish cake cutlets, egg and mixture of kimchi and topped with scallions. It was delicious and filling; not too sweet like other similar tteokbokki I've tried. This spiciness is bearable and overall a good sides to your meal. This one is also good for sharing.

Chilli BBQ Chicken Feet (IDR 65.000)
A huge amount of chicken feet is served upon a plate with its spicy sauce coating over the dish. This one, the glazing brown sauce may had convinced us that this were not spicy but this dish were actually the spiciest thing we had on our table. Admittedly I have some tears shed while eating the chicken feet as it was so spicy that my mouth feels numb and red. However the 'pain' were so worth it! I had to pause eating a couple of times to control my reaction to the spices, yet it was all so good.

Cheese Chilli Chicken - Large (IDR 108.000)
The portion were said to contain '10 pieces of chicken' but we're not exactly sure in what measurement was it accounted for but the large portion certainly fits all six of us sharing despite being finished fairly quickly. The chicken tasted like roasted chicken and somewhat reminds me of a chicken satay and its peanut sauce as it is both spicy and sweet. The signature dish here were actually not a fried chicken but are buldak or 'fire chicken' and it flavor was true to its name. The mozzarella cheese as a topping does not really add anything to the flavour as it does not affect the flavor of the chicken itself, but it is a good stabilizer for your palate from all those spiciness with a slight price difference. This chicken were not too spicy, its hotness does not burn the tongue but definitely has some effects on my lips.

Rice Ball (IDR 20.000)
The rice Korean dish 'JuMeokBap' which can be translated as a 'fist bap' is the serving method applied for the rice ball here. The portion of rice that has been mixed with toasted seaweed and sesame were served upon a bowl alongside with a scissor and plastic gloves. The idea is to have this side dish ordered alongside with a protein main of your choice, to then be cut out and mixed into the rice. Then you shall shape the rice mixture in shape of balls to help you eat. It was certainly a unique process but as I had done it before I'd rather have the rice on a plate and eat it with a spoon. The rice itself were delicious and a bit on the sweeter end which I think goes really well with the spicy chicken cut out we had that day; but my friends whom are Korean thinks the jumeokbap were a bit too sweet. Yet for me it was actually so good that I can eat it by itself if and preferably without the ball-shaping process at it do take quite some time out of your meal. 

Ginseng Fried Chicken - Large (IDR 92.000)
This is a variation of Korean Fried Chicken that is true with its notable double-fried technique upon serving. This ginseng fried chicken is served with red ginseng sauce that is drizzled on top of the ginseng-marinated chicken. The ginger were not too pungent in this case (or that my taste bud had actually really numbed as I continued eating) and the chicken were very crunchy. The fried chicken served at Jeans were actually not spicy and it could be an option for those who don't favor spicy food as even the Cheese Chilli Chicken still has some heat in it despite being said to be less spicy than the one without the cheese.

Chilli Chicken Egg Roll (IDR 45.000)
The egg roll filled with mozzarella chicken and shredded chicken were a good neutral dish for the party as its simple dish were a nice contrast to the other spicy mains. It is served in a portion that is suitable for sharing although I expect more chicken filling with the price as I did not taste anything hot in this dish. You can however opt for a smaller portion of this dish by ordering half of the egg roll for about IDR 25.000.

Oksusucha (IDR 15.000)
The refillable drink were roasted corn tea (this is confirmed by our Korean friend) and the one I had here tasted similar to Japanese ocha although it has a slight difference in its scent. I had this refilled twice and had to order another serving of Sprite. The whole meal were so spicy that I need that many amount of beverage to quench the spiciness.

Jeans Chilli Chicken definitely serves some great food and I was very satisfied with their meals. However the service can be much improved, as there were only two servers during our meal and only one of them who are 'active' but not really on standby since she also waited on the front of the house during he service which makes her pretty busy going around the tables. The one who were nice and funny yet was absent at most times and the other on were so busy that she might have gotten a bit frustrated with the service as she got one order mixed up and it is seen that her patience had got thinned. It was understandable but hopefully the restaurant flor can be further improved. As for the place itself we got seated on the sofa so it was nice but many of the seats were placed on the edge of the restaurant nearing the shopping mall corridor that makes dining a bit uncomfortable as it is too 'public' while on the other hand the restaurant had dimmed lighting, but can only be experienced if you were seated on the inner seats. Shall Jeans Chilli Chicken become better and better as the food they serve here had truly brought me on a fun, spicy ride.

Jeans Chilli Chicken
Gandaria City
Jl. Sultan Iskandar Muda
Upper Ground Mainstreet - MU11
Kebayoran Baru
South Jakarta
+6221 29236374

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Marché at Senayan

I was very fond of Marché restaurant as I spent my childhood visiting their (now closed) restaurant at Gran Melia. It was only a couple years ago that I had Marché within their Plaza Senayan branch for my birthday dinner and haven't visited their Plaza Senayan branch ever since. A couple weeks ago I finally visit Senayan's Marché branch for the second time with my friends in celebration of one my friends parent's birthday. The concept of Marché and its dining method were true to the concept and the name of Marché that translates to 'market' in French -- as the restaurant is inspired by food and decor theme inspired from Switzerland.

To order food at Marché, one shall visit the booth in which they preferred food were served and then the food shall be prepared right after ordering within each of every food section, e.g. seafood, desserts, etc. A mark on a guest card that were given during entrance for each of your order shall later be accounted during check out by the restaurant's exit. We walked around the restaurant a couple of times to check out each station menu and began picking out our food. The food can then be picked up after cooking in a self-serving manner or served to your table by a server (although this were inconsistent during our dining). Waitstaff were available in many corners so you don't have to worry; the chefs were also pretty interactive and resourceful.

Fried Calamari (IDR 60.000)
Part of the fritto mist section of Marché. This appetizer is shared by the four of us friends and it was crispy and the cut were pretty thick. However the taste is so-so and a bit lacking in seasoning. A dash of lemon and  tartar sauce given with this dish.

Smoked Beef Savory Crepe (IDR 72.000)
The savory crepe is similar to a Middle Eastern doner with its topping served as a filling to the thin layer of batter. This menu is ordered by my friend and I didn't get to try this meal, but my friends liked it. The portion were plenty that she cannot finish it by herself. The smoked beef filling is one of the available topping options aside from smoked salmon, grilled chicken and smoked mushroom among others. You can modify this dish by adding your additional choice of extra topping.

Australian Black Angus Tenderloin (IDR 245.000)
Served alongside with a serving of gravy, thick cut of tenderloin is served after it was cooked upon a grill. The cut were of a proper tenderloin and has a beautiful char. It is a menu served under the 'Firewood Grill' counter.

Roaster Chicken Leg (IDR 45.000) and Roasted Chicken Wings (IDR 45.000)
I ordered something out of their rotisserie and finally picked out a these two part of a chicken as my preferred protein that were initially a different order on the menu. The dark meats I ordered certainly came in a huge portion with one piece of roasted chicken leg alongside with 5-pieces of whole chicken wings, grilled in its marinating sauce and served with gravy. This order were certainly worth the portion, but for other variation you can order a half roasted chicken for about IDR 83.000. But with my preference for dark meat I really am satisfied with this combo instead.

Mashed Potatoes (IDR 20.000)
By the grilling station there were side dishes available including steamed rice, baked potato or potato wedges. I also ordered mashed potatoes that night. It was creamny but not too buttery and the seasoning was just right.

Marché certainly have good dishes available and on this second visit to this particular branch I was again reminded for the joy of picking out food as I used to do during childhood. This time I am excited for a third visit or maybe more, especially since I didn't get to try out some of their pretty looking array of desserts. Pricing wise there were several dished that are significantly more expensive, but the price range were pretty wide which I really appreciate. Shall I visit Marché again and take better picture despite their dim lighting setting haha that really sets the ambience to the uniquely decorated restaurant, although it makes taking picture a bit challenging. Yet overall I was really happy and thankful for the meal I got here.

Plaza Senayan
Unit 500P, 5th Floor
Jl. Asia Afrika No. 8
Jakarta Selatan

Friday, August 7, 2015

Caffé Bene at Serpong

The first time I went to Caffé Bene is on their Kuningan branch as I was waiting for an appointment at a nearby law firm. I ordered their regular-sized bingsu at the time and cannot even finish it for myself due to its humongous portion. It even surprised myself as I always always had been pretty responsible to finish up my meal to the last bite. Satisfied with such portion I decided to take on another visit to Caffé Bene at AEON Mall and ordered the exact same dessert, this time to share.

To order you shall go to the counter and begin ordering. Most of the desserts in this cafe were showcased by the display and most of them were served in such great portion that truly is worth the price, such to say for its desserts.

Cookies and Cream Bingsu (IDR 55.000)
The regular sized bingsu were so freaking big already -- imagine how big the large portion would be. The bingsu could've been shared for three persons alongside with a meal. The bingsu is filled with layers of milky ice, red bean, crushed oreos, cream cheese ice cream, whipped cream and a whole oreos. It was definitely a play on texture, and the ice were creamy and goes well altogether which I really appreciate.

Caramel Cinnamon Bread (IDR 47.000)
The honey bread is huge by itself. The honey bread that is topped by whipped cream was drizzled with caramel and dusted with caramel. The bread were executed simply and there were an apparant flavor similar to the taste and smell of a cinnamon roll.

Spaghetti Bolognaise (IDR 68.000)
The spaghetti took such a looooong time until it got to our table. The spaghetti mixed with bolognaise sauce identic with its tomatoes were a bit dry upon serving. The flavor were okay but nothing really special and there were no significant amount of beef within the plate. The dish is served alongside with thin crispy garlic bread for a variety of texture. The place were actually pretty okay, but then seeing the portion of other dishes I was expecting to be blown away once more.

Tomato and Meat Gratin (IDR 68.000)
This taster pretty much the same with the spaghetti bolognaise, however it is added with a cheese 'gratin' element topped all over the plate. The cheese itself were generous and were as pretty as the picture on the menu. This were so much better than the spaghetti bolognaise as the cheese add more texture and flavor onto the meal; it makes the price worth the meal. The thing about the pasta were that the portion were not as humongous as the dessert. 

Caffè Bene were marvelous at its dessert despite the fact that I wasn't too happy with their savory meal. It could've been better and as big as the desserts they are serving to at least stay consistent with the portioning. One more concern is that the service were fairly standard and that we had to go back and forth to the pick up counter without any clear notification which tested our patience a little bit more. Shall there be more visits for their dessert at least and hope they shall execute their mains that it also amazes me as much as their dessert does.

Caffé Bene
AEON Mall 
Ground Floor
BSD Raya Utama
Serpong, Tangerang
6221 29168035

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Din Tai Fung at Sudirman

My parents were having their 30th wedding anniversary and they decided to dine in at Din Tai Fung, specifically the one located in Pacific Place since it is the closest to my brother's office. I've only tried out Din Tai Fung's signature Xiao Long Bao(s) in the past and had tried making some too since it was so delicious. This time I am excited as I can try out their other courses, especially knowing that their Hong Kong branch had been rewarded with one Michelin star in the past and it's safe for us to order as they are pork-free branch so that's where the decision goes. Initially we wanted to order their 10-pax full course packages, but my mom decided to create a course by her own with the help of the branch manager and it turned out really nicely for the six of us!

Steamed Shrimp and Chicken Shao Mai (IDR 101.000)
The dimsum came out earliest within our course. The texture of the shumai were very 'crunchy' as in you can distinguish the bouncy texture of the shrimp and the juicy texture of the minced chicken. The shape of the shumai were pretty cute and makes the eating easier. The shumai were everyone's favorite as people were fighting for the last piece on the table. The price goes for 10 pieces of this delicacy served within their bamboo steamer.

Steamed Crab Meat and Chicken Dumpling (IDR 86.000)
10-pieces of Xiao Long Bao or what also commonly known as a 'soup dumpling' consist of thin dumpling skin wrapping around minced chicken and crab meats mixed along scallions and cubes of gelatinized chicken soup (not literally with gelatin, it is actually solified chicken broth as the temperature went down due to the amount of fat within the chicken collagen). I really loved these and have been craving for some of the xiao long baos every now and then. With the sauce and added ginger, it enhances the flavor of the dumpling as the soup had already been sucked out from the dumpling. Also, look at the cute yellow dumpling wrapper cut crab-shaped that indicates this menu to be a mixture of chicken and crab, its a fun detail.

Crispy Prawn Roll in Tofu Skin (IDR 39.000) 
The 3-pieces portion of this prawn lumpia is served with sweet chili sauce. The prawn roll were so vibrant and its tofu exterior were fried until crisp. The prawn texture is true to the produce and you can feel it in every bite alongside with flavor of slight scallion, garlic and ginger. This were a nice opening to our dinner that night. Order the 3-pieces portion instead the 2-portion one of this dish as it is only IDR 7.000 difference between the two portion.

Hot and Sour Soup - Large (IDR 65.000)
The soup is immediately served in these individual bowls for all the diners on our table. The smell of the soup were very subtlely fragrant. It is a nice intermediary to the main courses and the sourness gives a kind of acidity to the palate. This sort of soup were not my favorite actually, but Din Tai Fung served it really well that I finished it on a sip.

Black Pepper Tenderloin Beef Cube (IDR 98.000)
The 180gr portion of this meal is cooked with a bunch of peppers and onion, it has a distinct hotness that adds tonnes of flavor to the tenderloin cuts. There were so much green pepper in this that some of it remains on the plate once the beef's all gone. Certainly 180gr of beef for six wasn't enough despite the plenty amount of greens on the plate.

Mayonnaise Prawn (IDR 120.000)
This 7-pieces portion of prawn mayonnaise is such a delight. Its been such a long time since I had some good shrimp and mayo, and this one reminds me of my childhood eating my favorite dish at Makassar Suki which is shrimp mayo similar to this one. The prawn batter were crunchy even after drenched with mayonnaise. The prawn were beautifully cooked. I really appreciate how Din Tai Fung serves their prawn respectfully to the nature of the protein.

Fried Rice with Shrimp (IDR 60.000)
Usually within courses in a Chinese restaurant, fried rice would have been served last before the dessert as it is served as a 'tummy-filler' in case you're still hungry. Yet as we don't order any steamed white rice, the fried rice become a sort of addition as a side dish for our mains as it is important as us Indonesians to eat alongside with rice. The flavor were really nice and as good as the simple fried rice goes, but the good amount of shrimp adds a bit sweetness, fragrance and additional texture to the fried rice.

Braised Tofu with Hioko Mushroom and Spinach (IDR 69.000)
The said home made tofu with homemade sauce were delicious! The silku soft tofu is topped with seaweed, and placed above a bed of spinach and hioko mushroom. The hioko mushroom must've been part of the sauce recipe as it has absorved the sauces flavor. It was such a nice meal but I am almost full that I cannot take any more than a piece.

Crispy Fried Chicken with Chili (IDR 82.000)
Look at the amount of chili peppers on the plate. There were so much within such big portion until none of us dared to finish all the chili on the plate. The coating frying batter itself is very crispy but the chicken's texture were a bit dry that I was a bit confused of what kind of protein they were using. This one dish is my least favorite of the night since I don't think it is seasoned well enough. Another coat of salt and pepper (or preferrably other spices) shall make this dish even better.

Sauteed Prawn with Salted Egg Yolk (IDR 128.000)
The 9-piece salted prawn were soooo good despite the egg yolk sauce is a bit too dry. The dinner were filled with so much prawn within the menu but this one is my penultimate favorite after the prawn mayonnaise. The chili flakes is innecessant garnish to the dish. The thing about it being dry but the texture gotten a bit harder compared to the prawn within the other dishes. 

Seasonal Fresh Fruit (IDR 29.000)
As there were parents dining, such dessert option is no surprise. The fruit platter consists of honeydew (melon), watermelon, and Sunkist orange. It is served along with shaved ice and made the fruits hundred times better as it enhances the freshness of the fruit. It gave me ideas on which how I shall take my fruit from now on.

Gui Ling Gao Pudding with Honey (IDR 28.000)
The gui ling gao, or as I know as cincau, is served along with sugar-honey sauce to balance its herbal bitterness. The texture were very smooth and pudding-like. Add another serving of the honey sauce (as we did demand several extras) puts great layer of flavor in this one dessert. If this were served cold, it shall be even better.

Red Bead Ice Cream (IDR 32.000)
Ogura ice cream is served alongside with spoonful of red bean. It was a great dessert, but its flavor is nothing out of the usual. The red bean's texture is kept on pretty well and is not mushy though, that I really appreciate.

Mango Pudding (IDR 35.000)
We initially requested for mango pudding with fresh mangoes but the fruit were out of stock. We ended up ordering the basic mango pudding dessert with the milk cream drizzled on top. It was a nice balance of sweet and sourness of mangoes.

I would definitely recommend Din Tai Fung especially after trying out a great range of their food and were very pleasantly satisfied with the food my mother had selected. There would absolutely be a next time as I am now craving for another xiao long baos as I type this. It was an absolutely nice dinner and price-wise it was very appropriate for the quality of food and service we got from Din Tai Fung. Shall I have more from them in the future!

And also, congratulations for these two love birds for their 30 years of marriage. 
Shall you two stay in love forever!  

Din Tai Fung
Pacific Place
5th Floor Unit 52
Sudirman Central Business District
South Jakarta
+6221 57973151