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

Monday, 9 September 2013


It's been sometime since I chat about Pantai Indah Kapuk? Yes or No? Ummm... hahaha anyways there was a big buzz about a new Korean restaurant opening up in PIK. They were in business around early August and has taken the Pluit, Muara Karang, PIK community by storm! My friends living in Jakarta Barat, Selatan and even Pusat asked me multiple times "Yul, have you tried Seorae ??!". Well I finally did last Friday and I must mention about the queue. Queuing up for food is something that I hate soooooooo sooooooo much, but for the sake of this. I did wait for around 1 hour and 45 minutes !!! I almost gave up after one hour but to think that I had already spent 60 minutes, pushed me to wait till I finally get to try this damn thing. 

The usher in front was actually nice enough, he tried chatting with the people who were waiting anxiously. He assured everyone that they do have enough meat to go around and thus waiting will not be in vain. He tried to explain the specialty that 'Seorae' has to offer is 'Galmaegisal'. Each fully grown pig can only produce 250 grams of this sirloin extension ; Galmaegisal so called 'Skirt Meat' is thus considered as a rare part.

Menu : Sundubu Jigae
Price : Rp 54,800 ++
Score : 6.5 / 10

>> I always go for soup in a Korean restaurant. I think it's important that a good Korean place can make a solid soup. Well it's a 6.5 from me. I had much better ones but I think Seorae's was pretty decent. The tofu, veggies and clams were quite generous, except for the pork. There wasn't much pork noticeable inside the hot stone pot. Overall, it is the kind of dish that when you have it, you'll not be disappointed but nor you will be impressed.

King Spicy Galmaegisal   :   Rp 134,800 ++   ( Score : 9.0 / 10 )

>> I was not hungry when I arrive but was famished after 1 hour and 45 minutes of queuing. Two person ordered 3 dishes. The sundubu jigae soup (above), king spicy galmaegisal and the pork neck (below). If you happen to pay attention to the menu during your trip, you'll notice there is a 'king' and 'non - king' galmaegisal. It simply means the portioning. I would urge you to get the king one! It is goooood and you'll able to finish it no matter how. Then there is a spicy and non spicy, I obviously had the spicy one and to be honest, no heat or spicy kick to my palate. Thus just follow my choice 'King Spicy Galmaegisal' and you won't regret it. I don't know about animal pig's anatomy body part, not sure whether skirt meat is really rare or not. But one thing for sure, my taste buds don't lie. Galmaegisal is a 9 pointer !! And I don't give points that high very often.

By the way, I forgot to mention that Seorae is in fact a franchised brand from Seoul. The owner said in the near future the waiter would most likely to teach the eater to be independent, hence grilling their own meat (exactly like those in Korea). But at the moment, helpers were there to assist us in grilling to perfection.

Hangjeongsal   :   Rp 79,800 ++   ( Score : 8.0 / 10 )

>> Initially I was quite skeptic about 'pork neck', but both of us decided on this anyway. And after grilling it to crisp with slightly char burnt edges, it was surprisingly goooood !! I expect it to be chewy, a similar texture to tendons I supposed. But it wasn't at all. Tender and quite juicy in fact! I dip it with the home made mustard sauce Seorae provide and I was blown away by it. A definite recommendation from trythismenu ^_^.

Coming back here? Yes, yes, yes ! The owner said they're preparing to set up the second floor and getting additional helpers and waiters to accommodate the crowd. Thus by then, the lead time for waiting wouldn't be so painful. A tip that I notice, come in late at around 9.30 pm, but before their last order at 10 pm. Around then, there is no crowd or line waiting on the list. You get served to the table right away! I might do that in the very near future. Galmaegisal saranghaeyo !

Rukan Garden House, B - 19. Pantai Indah Kapuk. Jakarta Utara.
Phone : +62 21 29033389

Thursday, 5 September 2013


It's been a while since I actually went to this Turkish restaurant 'Turkuaz'. I have got to say that I wasn't too hyper or excited going for this. Well, the main reason is that Turkish food somehow relate to the strong smell of 'lamb' meat (which I'm not a big fan of). But as a food enthusiast, it's a sin to reject food in any cause. So, the 7 of us had this for a late Sunday lunch. There weren't much crowd during that time, only around two other tables were occupied. Turkuaz is situated on the Gunawarman Street, just besides Lobbie (the lobster eatery) and thus not a problem to locate it. The decor is plain and very much insipid and dim. What's with the lighting? I think they need more lights everywhere, the lack of it makes the place smaller and somehow 'dirtier'. Wasn't impress with the decor, but what about the food? Let's chat about it !!

Menu : Top Left (Zeytinyagli Hummus), Top Right (Teryagli Cam Fistikli Hummus), Bottom Left (Acili Hummus), Bottom Right (Etli Hummus)
Price : Rp 55.000, Rp 90.000, Rp 60.000, Rp 75.000 ++
Score : An average of 7.0 / 10

>> Gosh, so much hummus dip to begin. I got confused caused it very much all taste the same after a few dips. I'll try to break it down.

- Zeytingali : Pureed chickpeas with tahini with extra virgin olive oil. The most subtle of them all.
- Teryagli Cam Fistikli : Pureed chickpeas with tahini with sauteed butter pine nuts. The most expensive but rather much the same with Zeytingali. Except for the extra crunch.
- Acili : Pureed chickpeas with tahini with sauteed fresh chili, shallots and homemade chili paste. My favourite among all 4. Love those sauteed onions and chili, which gave that sweet taste. Gotta love the slight spicy kick it gave.
- Etli : Pureed chickpeas with tahini with butter sauteed lamb and chili flakes. I gotta admit that they were quite generous with the lamb portion. The smell was there, so not much of a fan of this (being biased, sorry).

Menu : Patlicanli Kuzu Incik Kebabi
Price : Rp 235,000 ++
Score : 6.5 / 10

>> This is the chef's signature lamb shank dishes and the waiter urge us not to miss on this one. The sauce has strong herb and spices smell; infused with the sweetness of tomatoes as the sauce, which was still a liking for me. The lamb meat itself was as predicted tender, slit easily off from the bone and yes strong in lamb odour. Not my favorite but definitely popular amongst the lamb shank fans. Forgive me for my biased opinion on lamb meat, but hey by all means try this menu!
Menu : Left (Icli Pilav), Middle (Burgul Pilavi), Right (Sehriyeli Pilav)
Price : Rp 28.000, Rp 28.000, Rp 20.000 ++
Score : 7.5 /10 ,  7.0 /10 ,  6.0 /10

>> The photo look like a single dish? Well it's actually 3 different menu that we ordered. The chef  helped to save the table space and thus put all 3 into a single to share plate.
- Icli : Slow cooked rice with almonds, pine nuts, raisin and Turkish spice. Love the sweetness from the raisins and the crunchiness from the pine nuts. My favorite among three.
- Burgul : The texture of the rice is somehow similar to couscous. It has that brittle and sand like effect on the tongue. The spices was fragrant and I thought it was pretty tasty overall.
- Sehriyeli : The cheapest among three and the most bland. It's basically a slow cooked vermicelli with rice. It didn't make too much sense to me. Vermicelli with rice? Ummm...wasn't a hit for me.

Menu : Sis Kebab Beef, Sis Kebab Chicken, Karides Guvec,
Price : Rp 210.000 , Rp 85.000 , Rp 205.000 ++
Score : 7.0 / 10

>> Again, the photo looked like one single dish but in fact 3 separate dishes. All three meat ; beef, chicken and jumbo shrimp were marinated and char grilled. I'm not a chef but I definitely think all three are in fact marinated with the same spices and sauce. They tasted the same. Well, they all taste good don't get me wrong ! I like the beef best, they were cut into cubes and thus a good size to bite and chew on. It was tender and definitely not overcooked. An important issue would be the portion versus the pricing. This plate cost exactly Rp 500.000 ++ and giving a better portion to the customer is very much advised. I don't think 4 shrimps should cost Rp 205.000 ?? But overall base on taste, it's a 7 pointer for me.

The final question of 'will I come back again'? Hmmm....I think I might, but there is a big BUT ... I probably come back in a long period of time. Nothing in the near future and I'm not sure either hahaha !!

Jl. Gunawarman No 32, Kebayoran Baru. Jakarta Selatan
Phone : +62 21 72795853