Monday, August 22, 2016

Nolita Coffee and Comfort Food at Kemang

My friend +Nadira Sjarif and I were looking for a place for brunch and I decide to try out Nolita at Kemang Utara after seeing people taking pictures in their famed blue wall (the designated parking lot were located next to the restaurant so that people can freely take pictures with the murals on the restaurant’s wall). It was a Sunday and the first floor was basically empty, but the upper floor was filled with a party coordinating a birthday surprise. You can easily spot this place from the wall or by its black and white sign. 

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Pancake (IDR 65.000)
Chicken and waffle are one of my favorite combo meal although I would eat the two separately, but it feels food have two meals on one plate. I ordered Nolita’s version of the chicken and waffle but replaced the latter with pancakes instead because let’s all admit that eating a piece of waffle is more of a hassle than cutting into a pancake. The complete menu is named Buttermilk Fried Chicken Pancake/Waffle with Butter and Maple Syrup. The dish itself consists of two stacks of pancakes, two pieces of breaded chicken, a slice of butter, creme fraiche and maple syrup. I really like how flavorsome the Southern-inspired chicken was as the batter gives flavor to the whole meal and that its seasoning seeps through the dark chicken leg meat. The pancakes were also delicious, it was fluffy and served warm on the table. The portion was plenty and totally worth the price.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips with Tartar Sauce (IDR 85.000)
The piece of John Dory fish is coated with beer battered coating and served with french fries and tartar sauce. I didn't try this one but Nadira said it was pretty good.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk Milkshake (IDR 45.000)
This is pretty much your average vanilla milkshake with added peanut butter. I really like this peanut butter milkshake especially because they add crunchy peanut butter into the mix. The drink is not too sweet and it had a variety of texture coming from the peanut butter.

Haiiii Naad, I chose this photo because I basically lost the other two pictures.

I think Nolita is a good pick for our little brunch that day, the service and the food were pretty decent and the famed murals were really interesting. I, unfortunately, didn't get anything from Ladies Who Bake, though -- should've got their Homemade Apple Crumble that day, knowing that this restaurant is owned by Rianti Cartwright whom owned Ladies Who Bake respectively, and her husband Cas Alfonso. The restaurant is named after the Nolita area in New York, which is an abbreviation of North of Little Italy. Overall it's a good visit and it was a comfortable place to hang out and it honestly have good music playing all day, which is another plus.

Jl. Kemang Utara No. 19C
South Jakarta
+6221 7183039

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Between Korean Past and Future - South Korea (Part 5)

One of the last trips with the groups were spent at a Korean Folk Village — the remain of the last days was spent by the groups working on their projects, assignment, and final test; and it is such an educative experience for us in respect to the South Korean culture and customs. It took us half a day to explore this place and still didn’t have enough time to get my future read, watch a play of traditional Korean folklore, and even to buy little souvenirs. 

I also spend the day to create a farewell video with the rest of the Indonesian students because we will leave the program one day earlier than scheduled due to the conflict with our booked flight. It was a bittersweet moment because it is our second to last day in South Korea as our last day is scheduled for the Korean Language final exam and closing ceremony which I cannot attend as I was hurrying to catch our flight back. 

We close the night before our departure from Seoul to Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta by having dinner in a buffet. The next day, as the closing ceremony began, most of my Indonesian team had to excuse ourselves to leave for the airport and ended up crying as we’re about to leave. I got so many gifts, hugs, wishes, promises that I will forever cherish. It was an absolutely amazing experience I’ve gotten in South Korea and I want to thank everyone from Chung-Ang University International Winter Program 2016, the GLAMs, the participants, to my home university and to my new friends and family I got there. And in this post, I would love to again, say thank you. Six months later, I am still grateful to have known all of you guys and I am honored to have spent an amazing winter on a rollercoaster ride with you guys. Saranghaeyo!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Double Pots at Cilandak

Double Pots offer a variety of soup hot pot and selection of its toppings, that you can order per person or to be shared with the people on your table. Double Pots also offer a selection of side dishes and one of their signature combination is to pick one soup (with pre-adjusted topping) and one choice of a side dish that is served at the same time on two connecting burners, served with rice.

Taiwanese Spicy Hot Soup + Salted Egg Yolk Prawn (IDR 90.000)
I ordered the Taiwanese Spicy Hot Soup with Salted Egg Yolk Prown. Both meals came hand in hand and the soup was piping hot. The soup was definitely spicy moreover it was also tangy. There’s a good enough topping to go around such as noodle, fish cakes, corn on the cob, lettuce, beef, mushroom, noodle and tofu. The pot was a good portion for one but some of my friends ordered more and another were too full to finish it. As for the salted egg prawn, it consists of prawn coated with the batter that is lightly fried and then cooked alongside with the salted egg sauce that includes  the salted egg yolk itself, chilis, kaffir lime leaves and garlic. I liked the prawns more than the soup itself and one of my friends said he would “rather buy two portions of the salted egg prawns than the soup”.

Curry Fishball Hot Soup + Salt and Pepper Squid (IDR 85.000)
Salt and pepper squid is one of the other side dishes which came with plenty of garlic to go around. The squid was fried until golden brown and then mixed with the garlic, chili, salt and pepper as its seasoning. I like this dish but the flavor doesn’t seep through the squid itself. As for the curry soup, it was a South East Asian-type of curry which flavors are similar to a laksa and the topping for the set is the same for all the soup you choose. The soup has a nice touch of acidity yet still rich at the same time. The dish also comes with a bowl of steamed rice.

Korean Spicy Hot Soup (IDR 70.000)
This is the size for the a la carte soup dish. The toppings are pretty similar to the ones on set but this comes is a different dish, which also comes in a bigger portion. I didn't taste this one personally but the thing about Double Pots is that the image on the menu was not reflected well upon the service -- it just looked sloppy.

Although Double Pots have some interesting and tasty dishes, some of it were a miss while others are successful. I really liked their concept of serving personal hotpot for one with a good price. You can also modify a lot of things by adding toppings or by ordering the side dishes as a la carte. Service itself were pretty okay but at the end of the meal the cashier mixed up another table’s bill with mine so it causes a lot of confusion. Another time I came in at 10.30 and they don’t have the produce ready for service. I hope they will improve their service and to keep up the quality of their meals because I believe Double Pots have so much potential with many rooms to grow.

Double Pots
Cilandak Town Square
1st Floor 132-134A
Jl. TB Simatupang Kav. 17
South Jakarta
6221 29704981

Monday, August 1, 2016

Pepper Lunch at Cilandak

Pepper Lunch has opened numerous branches all over Jakarta and had continuously grown from its original establishment in Japan. It has been one of my favorite fast food (or casual fast? This concept is a bit confusing to me) restaurant for long but I haven’t been visiting Pepper Lunch in the last year. Only when I got a voucher from Boga Group, I decided to spend it on Pepper Lunch. Other restaurants under the management of Boga Group include, but not limited to Paradise Dynasty, Shaburi, Ten Ten Tempura House, and Bakerzin. I directly went to the nearest Pepper Lunch to my house and began ordering on their counter.

Curry Beef Pepper Rice (IDR 67.273)
This is a pepper rice dish that consists of slices of beef cut on the sides with curry powder and corn topped on the rice that is served on a hot plate. This dish was also completed with additional egg and cheese, finalized with sliced scallions. There are two variety of curry dishes in Pepper Lunch: the one with curry powder and the other with curry sauce. I preferred the one with the curry sauce because the sauce gives volume to your meal and it has the savory flavor coming from the curry that is mixed with stock. The one with curry powder, on the other hand, does not add significant savoriness but the flavor of the curry leafs itself is stronger and more fragrant hence you don’t need to add too much garlic or honey sauce. As for the cheese and egg, the two provide a great layer of flavor as an additional topping but I think the cheese is more worth its value wise and flavor wise because cooking the egg is sometimes a miss but the cheese always melts perfectly as it got mixed up on the plate. I love this dish for what it is as all the flavors really go altogether. 

Beef Aglio Olio (IDR 64.545)
This is the first pasta dish I’ve ever tried from Pepper Lunch. My usual order would always be their Chicken Pepper Rice, upsized, with extra cheese and loads of their sauces (hence why Pepper Lunch > Pepper Lunch Express) because it’s one of the cheapest menu and chicken was really my favorite protein so that’s good for me haha. As I tried out this pasta dish, I regret not ordering the creamy pasta since the heat from the pan makes the pasta dry and there were not much flavor onto it besides the blend of chili and pepper by itself and adding so many available condiments to the plate does not really help with the texture either. I found myself eating the beef and leaving the pasta behind.* Not a good first impression on their pasta but I should give a try on their creamy pasta later on.

*Don’t worry, everything is finished off the plate. No food is left behind by the time this writing is made.

Chicken and Pineapple Pepper Rice (IDR 59.273)
As I said in the previous paragraph that Chicken Pepper Rice is my ever-favorite menu from Pepper Lunch, but this time I tried out the newer dish with similar premises to my favorite dish — but this time it is summer inspired with the added pineapple, coriander, ground nuts, chili pepper, and onions. The dish was very visually appealing and the ingredients tasted fresh, but I find this combination a bit too much for me because the pineapple overpowers all the other flavor in this dish. The heat also does not soften the pineapple enough during its cooking so texture and taste-wise I don’t think this dish is very cohesive. 

The new menu I tried out didn’t end up being as successful as the original ones in my opinion, but there’s no harm in giving it a try as it offers a contrasting flavor to what Pepper Lunch offers which might excite you. But this is part of their Summer Series 2016 so I am not sure whether or not it is still available - no harm in trying. I still love Pepper Lunch for what it is and I realize I haven’t tried enough dishes from this place that I might miss out on things. I hope Pepper Lunch will keep up their quality and even introduce us dishes that are now available in Japan that are still not available here, to give us more authenticity to its Japanese inspired flavor.

Pepper Lunch
Cilandak Town Square
Jl. TB. Simatupang Kav. 17
Level 2

South Jakarta
6221 75920299