Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Do you know the city Lyon is famous for it's culinary standard? There have to be a reason why French are snobbish, well besides their taste for fashion and architecture, food is an addition to the column in their resume 'things to brag about'. Anyways, thousands of kilometers away from France, I was celebrating a special day and decided to head to Lyon in Mandarin Oriental Hotel situated at the heart of the Bundaran Hotel Indonesia. It was a dinner on a weekday and thus I wasn't expecting a large crowd. The concept of the place was pretty much straight forward; French fine dining. Price tag is definitely on the heavier side of the scale but I believe in you get what you pay for.

The decor of the place screams 'clean, spotless and professional'. It has elegant and subtle colors of ivory and wood tones. I wouldn't suggest you taking your kids to a lunch or dinner there. It's more for couples and corporate people who wants good food and doesn't mind paying. The service was spot on, attentive yet not bothersome. As for the most important part; the food, two of us tried a few of their dishes and how did my verdict turns out?

Menu : Fresh Bread
Price : Complimentary
Score : 6.0 / 10

>> I supposed this is an 'Artisan bread'. Good thick solid crust with a soft inner part. Resembles a smaller version of a sourdough. The bread itself is good, nothing wrong with it. But I would like a garlic or truffle spread to go with it. Besides the normal unsalted butter, garlic or truffle butter would definitely been much much better.
Menu : Escargots
Price : Rp 108,000 ++
Score : 8.0 / 10

>> Delish !! I would love to a full dozen of these all by myself. The escargots weren't over cooked. Juicy, chewable and definitely not 'gummy'. The abundance of olive oil and the ever good garlic and other herbs was totally infused into the escargots. Love the generosity of the herbs and garlic in the dish. I took the complimentary bread and soaked it into the olive and garlic concoction just to make sure I finished every bit there is left. Good stuff !!!

Menu : Tomato Soup
Price : Rp 78,000 ++
Score : 9.0 / 10

>> The best tomato soup I had ever have. I loveeeee everything the Chef put into this. The texture was spot on, flavor was wonderful, the viscosity was perfect and even the orange color was beautiful. What can I ask for more? Well maybe besides another huge bowl of this beauty. This tomato soup has a creamy side that is not overpowering, it is subtle trying to lift the soup as a more 'fuller' dish. Imagine a watery soup and I bet you'll won't be fanatic about it. By the way, the small looking pastry bread at the side was delish. It's a garlic and herb pastry bread; definitely needed to go along with the tomato soup. Yummm and I bet you'll love it too.
Menu : Seared Duck Foie Gras on Risotto
Price : Rp 288,000 ++
Score : 7.0 / 10

>> Consider me weird but I don't like foie gras. Whether it was the animal cruelty facts that goes behind the scene or the mushy texture, bottom line I'm not a fan. It would be a little bit biased talking about this dish. I didn't taste the foie gras but the rest of the dish definitely tasted great. When was the last time you had the perfect cooked risotto? It's not an easy job cooking risotto, much more difficult than cooking your ordinary white rice with the comfort of your rice cooker. Their risotto was top notch and I'm not sure what type of cheese they grated on top, but it completely matched the dish. Next time, I'll re-order this but with seafood or red meat instead of foie gras.
Menu : Steak Frites
Price : Rp 258,000 ++
Score : 8.5 / 10

>> A big portioned and a well done steak. I asked for medium and got exactly that (super crucial for me). The steak has the perfect balance of fats and meat, thus making it juicy and at the same time to my liking. I got to compliment on the fries on the side too. It was of course much better than Mc'Donald's hahahaha and just to make things better, the garlic mayonnaise on the side hit it a home run. My tummy was 70% full from the escargot and the tomato soup but did I manage to finish this? Hell yeah I did, but a little bit left over on the french fries.

Will I go back again? Truly yes. Now a taste of France is only 30 kilometers away from my home and I'm a sucker for their addictive tomato soup !!
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Jl. MH Thamrin. Jakarta Pusat 10310.
Phone : +62 21 - 2993 8888

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Yo' Panino

So here is a story ... a big pig and a somewhat smaller pig was caught in a dilemma. Two of them had lunch around 2 hours ago and it's still 3 hours to dinner time. Both trying to loose weight, both even skip on dessert after lunch meal, they also managed to not have rice during lunch! But as mentioned, they're pigs! So both of those pigs did what they do best, snack up and eat. Well, that smaller pig is me :p hahaha. We're waiting for dinner time in Plaza Indonesia and after much contemplation, we gave up to ourselves and surrender to Yo' Panino! I must be honest, it was one of the most satisfying sandwich ever !! Felt guilty but who cares ... diet starts tomorrow... or never ... hahahaha ! 

So the concept here pretty much simple. You choose on the filling and then craft your own sandwich. There is 21 types to choose from and divided into 4 pricing. Rp 35.000, Rp 43.000, Rp 53.000, Rp 63.000 ++. After deciding your kind of sandwich, you choose your type of bread. A selection of 4 ; Multigrain, Turkish Pide, Brioche, Framhouse White. Next station would be on the extra fillings (extra cost), you can have more chicken, or beef, additional bacon bits or egg and cheese. Then, you may go crazy on the unlimited veggies and toppings. The selection of veggies and toppings is massive and thus be smart when constructing your masterpiece. Don't try to have everything, too much may turn out to be a disaster. And to finish off, choose your sauces! Upon that, go take a sit while they stuff everything in and toast your sandwich to perfection. In around 10 minutes, they'll be serving it to you.
Note : They have vegetarian selection.

BBQ Chicken Club : Rp 53.000 ++ (Score : 8.5 / 10)

 >> As mentioned above, I wasn't experiencing great hunger and thus I was in my choosy and picky mode on food. Anyways, I had the BBQ Chicken Club, which originally consist of hickory smoked chicken, turkey bacon, Monterrey cheese and their very own Yo' Barbie-O sauce (which I'm sure is BBQ sauce).  I opt for the Turkish Pide, had no extra fillings. Then I choose paprika, lettuce, cucumber and onions for the veggies. I had extra spicy sauce slabbed in between too. Nothing too hot about the sauce, everything just seemed right.

It was DELICIOUS !! I didn't expect it to be good at all and honestly this is what people mean by 'do not judge a book by it's cover'. The place has simple decor, the seating area wasn't great either, in fact they're situated below escalator (superstitious Chinese people thinks it's bad luck, because people are trampling over you). But hey, the taste buds never lie. I will definitely be a regular. The pricing was reasonable, the service was pleasant, the ingredients were fresh and the end product was certainly yummy !!

Yo' Panino
Plaza Indonesia Extension, 4th Floor (Replacing Dante Coffee)
Phone : +62 21 2992 4019

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Lin Artisan Ice Cream

I don't normally talk about dessert in particular. Well yes as apart of a complete dinner or lunch, but not a review on itself. But I wanna mention about this particular place ; 'Lin'. Food gastronomy is a common term in the States, Europe or even Singapore but Jakarta is always two steps behind. Finally, someone actually introduced liquid nitrogen ice cream to here! It's situated in Kemang which was exactly the right place to introduce this product. I supposed that the target market that visits Kemang somehow are a bunch of more open minded people. Liquid Nitrogen and ice cream? Hell yeah !!

If you love ice cream, then there is nothing like making your own. But the problem is, it is too long to freeze and some things just don't like to freeze. So now, there's a process using liquid nitrogen to freeze everything up in an instant. As you all know Nitrogen is 78% of the volume of the atmosphere and the boiling point of -185 Degree Celsius (wikipedia). In plain simple English, it is cold.

Well that's the chemistry lesson. Next is the 'cooking' part. Choose your flavor from the menu Lin provide (quite a variety of them) and their 'scientist' will mix all the sugar, milk, cream, fruit, chocolate, liquor (if you like) into the mixing bowl. When the sugar has dissolved into the solution, the liquid nitrogen would be poured into the mixing bowl slowly until completely frozen. The damage time would only cost 10 minutes!

Rum & Raisin With Alcohol  :  RP 69,000  ( Score : 6.75 / 10 )

Strawberry & Cheese  :  RP 39,000  ( Score 8.0 / 10 )

And so, how does liquid nitrogen ice cream actually taste?? Well, I must say it was your average ice cream with a twist. Meaning there is this sensation at the end of your tongue. It's a feeling that 'sting' but not in a painful or awful way, but more to a 'numb' feeling. I suppose it was due to the nature of liquid nitrogen itself, it is an insanely cold solution to begin with and thus able to cut so much time in the process of 'freezing'. It's little bit like having a dry ice swirl on you tongue for a little while, pretty much the same numbing sensation. As for the portion, it's big. More than enough for one person. If you're not much of a share food person, you'll still be able to finish one by yourself.

I had the strawberry and cheese and liked it. I can taste the freshness of the strawberry fruit bits and the cheese was subtle. It didn't overthrow the entire dessert. As for the sugar level, it was the right amount. As for the rum & raisin with alcohol, I thought it was slightly plain. I can't taste much of the alcohol but well obviously it must have evaporated during the 'freezing' process. But the rum and raisin flavor didn't came up to my senses either. But on a whole, it still taste pretty good.

Bottom line, I love the idea of having fresh ingredient ice cream without too much food additives to prolong their shelf life. This idea is encouraging fresh eating in a way. The product Lin made not only broadens the Jakartan's community by introducing cooking with chemistry but most importantly made a good tasting ice cream with that process. And thus a conclusion that yes I'll come back again to the parlor.

Lin Artisan Ice Cream
Jl. Taman Kemang 1 No 6. Jakarta Selatan (Below Umbra, Across Parc 19)
Phone : +62 21 71794393

Monday, 23 September 2013


It's sad to go to one of those places that I went and felt cheated upon the first bite. It was a weekday night and two of us was in Kemang Village to grab a quick bite after a long day of work. We browse through some restaurants and decided to give Ikuze a try. It was a big disappointment. I'd rather have a piece of cheese in between two slices of white bread than having what I ate. I don't like having to write a bad review but certainly write a honest one. I don't mean to be a smart ass, criticized and act as if I know a lot about cooking, but look at it as more to sharing a story about my experience.

Ikuze covers quite a pretty big space area and the decor has a Japanese Bazaar theme. Open kitchen setting was also implied in the theme. The place on overall ambiance was pretty much alright, however a totally different case with their food. Let's chat about it ...

Menu : Ikuze Hambagu
Price : Rp 110,000 ++
Score : 2.0 / 10

>> See that two pointer? Yes you didn't see it wrong. It was simply bad food. The only thing that is done right was the white rice and maybe the fried egg on top. I gave one point for the white rice and one more for the fried egg. The beef patty meat was tough as my rubber sole. I'm sure it wasn't freshly made on the day, definitely bought frozen or made like one week ago where they just re heat it again and again. No flavor whatsoever, just tough and tasteless. Then the bottom sauce was also a disaster! I couldn't figure out what is the taste that they are going after. It seems like pieces of chunky mushroom with some alien looking pieces inside. It has a weird smell and tasted way too salty. A good hamburger rice I had was in Kitchenette and when compared to this, it's like heaven and hell. I'm sorry myself to even eat this.
Menu : Crazy Tempura
Price : Rp 126,000 ++
Score : 1.5 / 10

>> I wanted to cry when I bite into this. One of the worst tempura I had ever eaten in my entire live. And trust me as a foodie, I had my share of bad food. But this certainly qualify as a bad food example. This was simply a variety of vegetables and one single piece of sick looking prawn battered in a bad flour batter and fried. Then arrange together and served with a bad tasting mayonnaise base sauce and has the nerve to wear a price tag of Rp 126,000 ++. The 'gorengan' I had along the street side cooks a better product than this, and only charges me Rp 500 for a piece of fritter.

Look, the batter was tasteless, it was as if eating crunchy paper. Then the raw ingredients being fried wasn't fresh at all. So some veges were even undercooked. The sauce on the side which was suppose to help didn't do anything to boost the taste. Bottom line it was bad, and the ironic thing is that Ikuze Hamburg (above) and Crazy Tempura is what the waitress pushes us to order, saying it's their most loved dishes in the menu. One of the priciest, yes but tasty?? Not at all.
No! Wouldn't come back here at all and urge you all to reconsider too. Cheers!

Lippo Kemang Village Mall, Outdoor Food Area
Phone : +62 21 29528356

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


An email notice alert from a reader informing me that I was invited to a 'Wine Dinner' and the word 'free flow' made me all excited and flushed. The kind invitation was only for 34 sitting dinner and I was honored to be enlist. It's not your common food tasting session. Well to begin with, a Rp 500,000++ was charge per head and that includes a set menu designed and engineered by the very very talented; Chef Chandra (who is an ex-chef from Negev) and that include superb wine ! To good to be missed and the next thing I know, I was there 7pm sharp !

Bacco is situated at the Lotte Avenue Shopping Mall (LOVE), Kuningan South Jakarta. An additional rather so called 'shopping mall' introduced here in Jakarta. However, LOVE appears to me to be somewhat a little bit different from the rest, the tenants comply of Uniqlo and H&M; which we don't have it yet in any other mall. Then talk about the amount of Korean franchised or inspired saloon, restaurants and cafes. Basically you'll have a different shopping experience there, compare to anywhere else.

While I would categorize the food as 'fine dining' quality, the decor of Bacco is slightly leaning to a lounge feel; the ambiance, the music and the deep seating sofas over in the smoking area contributes to it.  A perfect place to you to have good food, hang out and maybe dance a little when you're feeling lighter.

Menu : Canapes : Salmon Vol Vent, Bruchetta, Cheese Tartlette
Price : Apart of Set Menu (Rp 500,000++)
Score : 7.75 / 10

>> Favourite would be the bruchetta! Crispy and full pack of flavors. The tomatoes are so sweet, a combination of fresh and tomato paste maybe? Then the salmon and cheese tartlette are in neck and neck. Pastry that is holding the salmon is just soft and yet not soggy at all. While the base of the cheese tart is flaky and creamy. And gotta love the fact it's canape and thus regularly flowing all over the dining floor. A glowing smile after each bite size pieces pops into the mouth.
Recommended Wine :  2010 Blanc de Bois Noir, Bordeaux Blanc

Menu : Seared Tasmanian Salmon with Mixed Beans, Candied Orange, Avocado and Cauliflower Puree.
Price : Apart of Set Menu (Rp 500,000++)
Score : 8.0 / 10 

>> Colors were so pretty! I love how Chef Chandra can used such a plain and common ingredient such as 'mixed beans' and include it into a dish and makes it posh. I guess the midas touch is certainly an essential factor in any cooking. Anyways, the seared skin was crispy and yet the meat was still soft and moist. The crispy skin gave a texture to the other side of the fish which makes a better chewing sensation. Talk about the candied orange, yumm! Tangy and sweet flavors that helps to cut the creamy sauce. Love the combination of each elements and presentation is definitely one aspect that is not ignored.

Recommended Wine : 2010 Chateau Vieux Dominique, Boedeaux Superieur
Menu : Saltbush Lamp Chop with Risotto Cake, Sundried Tomato, Olive Dust
Price : Apart of Set Menu (Rp 500,000++)
Score : 8.0 / 10

>> Hmmm...meat was succulent !!! On the scale of 0 - 10 on the medium rare perfection; would be a complete 10! Pink and tender, but not bloody. I'm not a fan of lamb and thus the portion was just perfect for me. Not over the top huge and yet just enough for me to enjoy. I'm training myself to enjoy lamb and Chef Chandra might just made me a believer. The black sauce is actually sundried tomato sauce which is sweet and even though it was slightly too sweet, I have to say that it compliments the meat very very well. Next, the risotto cake was beautiful, definitely well cooked. The outer layer was just crispy and the inner bit was moist and soft. I sure do not mind to extra helpings of the risotto cake. Superb cooking!
Recommended Wine :  2009 Chateau Bois Noir, Bordeaux Superieur.

Menu : Slow Roasted Wagyu Sirloin, Pan Roasted Perforated Potato with Chef's Salad
Price : Apart of Set Menu (Rp 500,000++)
Score : 8.5 / 10

>> YUMM ! I love the beef best. The beef was super super tender. Chef Chandra definitely brought the best out from what a Wagyu should actually taste. I love the red wine reduction sauce, subtle but yet has the right amount of seasoning to accompany the meat. Presentation went up the scale board with the playful plating of perforated potato and I thought the small cheese stick at the side was certainly different and yet blends in with the rest. Nothing on the plate was left untouched, everything went inside my big mouth and down it goes to my round tummy.

Recommended Wine : 2010 Chateau Rozier, St Emilion Grand Cru
Menu : Lavender Scented White Coffee Mousse
Price : Apart of Set Menu (Rp 500,000++)
Score : 7.5 / 10

>>  Gosh...again beautiful plating skill. The red carpet on the bottom of the plate was actually sliced watermelon. Simple, sweet and gives a fresh color to the eye. Very very smart. The bottom squarish shape was the white coffee mousse. It was easy on the sugar, nothing crazily over the top sweet but just the right amount tasted on the palate. The vanilla ice cream and the twill did much credit also. Vanilla ice cream adds the sugar bit which I very much love and the twill gave a good crunch to the whole packaged. I couldn't smell any lavender scent (the title of the dessert promised that) but I assumed it might infused into the cream sauce or maybe into the air bubble foam that certainly looked very gastronomical. Pretty and tasty at the same time.

A solid good job to Chef Chandra, he's one of those man that has a gifted palate and a midas touch. And thankfully I was at the right time in the right place, knowing the right people and hence getting a bite from his masterpiece. I would definitely come back again to Bacco and gorge myself on the menu selection. I truly believe no matter how posh the decor is, how many networking does the public relation or the owner knows, how expensive the ingredients are, at the end of the day the food itself will talk to the consumers because the taste buds never lie. Great hospitality, service and great ambiance are simply a bonus, the extra whip cream on the top to make it all even better. And Bacco certainly has the complete package.

Ciputra World 1, Jl. Satrio Kav 3 - 5 Jakarta Selatan
Lotte Avenue Shopping Mall, Main Lobby LG - 38
Phone : +62 21 29888909

Friday, 13 September 2013

Taco Local

I've been to Panglima Polim area many times but didn't manage to notice Taco Local. Well the name says it all, it's Mexican food. Before I begin, I'd like to thank 'Andy' who recommended me to this eatery, I was complaining about a bad Mexican joint, he commented on my post and advised me to have a go for Taco Local.

It was a Sunday noon and I just finish practicing for the Marathon run coming up in October. A bunch of friends and I practiced ran 8 km and after a quick shower and a changed outfit we were growling with hunger. 

Initially we nearly drove pass the place. The facade is very simple. Nothing posh or sleek looking. A plain white 2 storey shop house. It has this messy porch in front and the additional bougainvilleas makes it look a little bit like a house to me. Just for your information, Taco Local is sandwiched between a bike shop and 'Manja'. 

I wasn't expecting anything. The facade was messy and 'homey'. Thus I was actually eager to come in. It feels like a commune place where you can dress super casually and have a chat over good food. The decor didn't scream Mexico at all, no sombrero or jalapenos hang anywhere. Just simple cement flooring, white plain walls and tiles on the other side, wooden stools and bench tables arranged like back in boarding school days. You got order at the counter and pay up, very much self service kind of thing. I must say this is nothing fancy but certainly loved it. A good change from your lounge, bar and cafes scene that is popping out all over Jakarta.

Menu : Saparella
Price : Rp 20,000 ++
Score : 7.0 / 10

>> The person at the counter introduced us this and called it their house soda. Gotta like the shape of the bottle, very sexy I thought it resembles like a lady's oversize hip hahaha. Anyways 'Saparella' taste like the normal 'Sarsi' soda drink. 

It has been quite sometime since the last time I came across Sarsi or even longer, had a gulp at it. This brings back good memories actually. Well as for the taste, what can go wrong with sugar and soda? It's not something that Taco Local brewed at their own kitchen but hey it is sugary soda and it always taste good. So hence the score of a seven.

Menu : Al Pastor Tacos
Price : Rp 32,000 ++
Score : 8.5 / 10

>> Yummmm! This beautiful tacos consist of grilled pork shoulder, pickle cabbage, salsa fresca, salsa verde and grilled pineapple. Love it!!! The pork was succulent, tender and super generous with the amount of meat. The salsa, pickled cabbage and pineapple gave the sauce a slight bbq taste but with just an extra pinch of sour. I went on to quirt the small wedge of lime and the level of sour was just right on the dot for me. The base of the tortilla could have been toasted and hence increase the crisp but they didn't do that. It was soft and still manage to hold all the fillings on top just well.
Menu : Lengua
Price : Rp 32,000 ++
Score : 9.0 / 10

>> Lengua has grilled tongue, salsa fresca, guacamole and crispy pork rind as the fillings. How does it taste? It was better than Al Pastor! I took a bite and geezzz...the grilled tongue was exactly how I liked it; thick, cut into cubes, tender and succulent. The sauce was less sour than Al Pastor but instead a more of a salty taste while Al Pastor is more sweet and bbq. I couldn't figure out the guacamole maybe to the small amount smeared inside but regardless what sauce this has inside, it was good !! The tortilla wasn't toasted and hence pretty much the same as described above; soft but nevertheless good.
Menu : Carne Burritos
Price : Rp 50,000 ++
Score : 7.0 / 10

>>  I got pulled beef, dirty rice, frijoles, salsa fresca, guacamole and cheese inside my Carne Burritos. It came steaming piping hot and I love the amount of fillings stuffed inside. It was sliced into 2 piece thus upon looking you'll try to figure the components inside. It's a filling dish, mainly because of the rice I think. I must not only mention the generousness of the fillings but also the taste. I don't eat many burritos in my life thus not too sure how the real ones in Mexico taste like but I was hoping a little bit more heat inside. They just ran out of their hot sauce and I really think the extra spicy heat will made all the differences. I was really disappointed not being able to taste their hot sauce, but certainly looking forward on my next trip.

Menu : Jamon Y Huevos Tortas
Price : Rp 40,000 ++
Score : 7.5 / 10

>> What is Tortas? Tortas is simply a Mexican sandwich in a Bolilo Bread. Just like the French has Croissant sandwich, the Mexicans has the Tortas. And for this particular sandwich, I had smoked pork ham, fried egg, frijoles, cheese, salsa fresca and mayonnaise. By the way for this smoked ham sandwich, it is only available on the weekends. It came sliced into 2 pieces which made is easier to bite on and apart from that, easier to detect the fillings. I had a few bites into it and it felt like a breakfast menu to me. Smoke ham, eggs and bread with a little bit of nachos crunch on the side, which really tasted like a breakfast sandwich. I liked the toasted bolilo bead too, wasn't over crispy but just the right texture. A dish I second best enjoy after their super good tacos.

Menu : Sticky Date Pudding With Vanilla Ice Cream and Toffee Sauce.
Price : Rp 30,000 ++
Score : 6.25 / 10

>> I was at 7/8 stomach capacity and I pushed myself towards 9/8 capacity. I had dessert of course. A few variety to choose on and landed my eye on the sticky date pudding. It was not mind blowing good. It was pretty alright, the vanilla ice cream was supermarket bought and the toffee syrup was okay too. The sticky date pudding itself was mediocre. Wasn't too fluffy nor was it gooey enough. It tasted more like a sponge cake rather than a pudding. But still, I managed to gorge it all down myself. Exactly 5 seconds after finishing this, I realized the amount of calorie intake must be horrifying hahahaha. I shuddered but soon moved on !

Was it a good experience? Yes it was! I'll definitely become a regular here, will try the rest of the variety listed on the menu. I haven't tried their hot sauce for goodness sake and that will be on top of my list on the next trip there. Which is going to be soon.

Taco Local
Jl. Panglima Polim 5 No 38, Jakarta Selatan
Phone : +62 21 94949538