Sunday, August 23, 2009

Al Nafoura: a Lebanese Oasis

After craving it for a while, I finally got a chance to set foot into this exotic restaurant which has won many good reviews.

And should I say, it is indeed a gem.

The ambient is perfect and service was good. We came during the weekend when they were holding their weekly belly dancing show which, for me, was actually not that entertaining (what with all the loud noise). But I guess such entertainment is needed to attract more crowd.

Upon sitting, we were presented with complimentary appetizer: a plate of raw vegetables (tomato and cucumber slices, lettuce, carrot sticks). You can eat them as is or order some dips to go with them -they're great when eaten with hummus.

Avorio: Just Not Quite There Yet...

I can't help but notice that Plaza Senayan is quickly becoming a culinary playland for foodies all over Jakarta. What with the openings of various rather high end restaurants, especially around the XXI (cinema) area.

In addition to Fleurie and Sushi Sei, which have been there for a few years even before the section was renovated, the past year has seen many upscale restaurants flourishing around them: Rustique (steak house famous for its aged meat), Pier 6 (fine dining seafood adjoining Equinox & X-Lounge club), Katsura (another Japanese), Marche Movenpick (yes, the restaurant previously located at Gran Melia) and Oyster House (another one of Mr. Wongso's creation, serving anything and everything oyster); and lastly, an Italian joint which grabbed my attention, Avorio.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Man Puku: a Delightful Hidden Gem

This hidden small place intrigued us when we first went pass it one night. Located at Jl. Mahakam, next to Pisa Cafe and on top of a Padang restaurant, it doesn't seem to inviting at all. So we carefully went up with hopes of finding a hidden treasure, sort of.

Upon entering it, we were greeted by the few staffs and uhm, hot air with a rather strong smell of fried food. We were then led to a table at the end of the small space. There were only us and 2 other people dining in that night.

The food here is of course, Japanese, but they also have a few Korean selections too. We ordered bee bim bab, buta bara, and their speciality fried robata set which consisted of around 12 skewers of deep fried fish, chicken, squid, beef, bacon, and vegetable for main course.

Loewy: Where You'll Never Leave Well Enough Alone

Raymond Loewy (1893-1986), often referred to as the father of industrial design, was the genius behind the iconic Lucky Strike logo and Coca Cola bottle. He's also credited for originating a (design) technique called streamlining, calling the concept "beauty through function and simplification."

I think those idea and concept are truly applied to Loewy, a (near) authentic French-inspired bistro located in the middle of bustling Jakarta. With its open air patio, wooden flooring, aluminium ceilings, tiled walls; illuminated by dim lights and decorated by ceiling fans. It gives out a certain rustic feeling yet intertwined with a chic modern buzz at the same time. The place emanates a timeless appeal, just like Raymond Loewy's designs.

My Take on Ku De Ta..

Once upon a day, I was halfway eating a bowl of Singaporean Laksa when a fly, which had been flying around trying to get a piece of our food, suddenly swooped down and decided to do a harakiri by diving into my laksa.

I froze.

I saw its tiny body wriggling around, grasping for life. Saw its tiny legs moving frantically for a few seconds before it finally gave up and just float there, motionless. I moved the dead body to another place out of my sight and didn't even bother to call the waiter to complain. I've lost my appetite instantly.

The above experience could probably represents what I feel about Ku De Ta.

A sunny view from Ku De Ta's balcony

Cheers! To Cork & Screw.

Wine. That velvety liquid regarded as luxury here. That sexy substance which could spice up any situation. Hmm…

I’ve never been a big fan of wine and have always leaned towards hard liquor more. Simply because I considered wine as too light and expensive. Thus, it is inefficient – if you know what I mean.

I would opt for wine if I were to go for a chill out time, maybe for a nice laid-back fancy dinner, which I don’t really do. Me and me friends would usually just go all out and party hard, cheaper than a fancy wine and dine. Second option is to chill at a cozy lounge and just chit-chat through the night, over wine or any cocktails of course.

Weighing in on Nabe or Sushi at Kiyadon Sushi

Kiyadon has been a familiar name for many of us Jakarta epicurians. And I’ve always been one of the many fans of its udon and donburi dishes –the dishes they’re most well known for.

Recently, they’re expanding their business and entered the sushi competition by opening Kiyadon Sushi. I first saw this restaurant at SenCi. It looks very nice from outside, with its warm ambiance and unique private dining areas. But I was never really tempted to try it out because other restaurant options there seemed more inviting for me. But one day, when me and my mum were craving for some sushi, but were kind of bored with Sushi Tei, I decided to give this place a shot.

Moroccan Enchantment at Maroush

A few weeks ago, I went out for a girls' night out with my pals to Maroush, the stylish new middle eastern restaurant & lounge, which also positioned itself as the first champagne lounge in Jakarta (with Veuve Clicquot champagnes).

Kinara: a Taste of (Royal) Indian

It was Monday afternoon and I was slouching off on the comfy sofa somewhere inside a café above a bookstore at Kemang, chatting with my friend while browsing the net with the free wifi. Down at the street, through the wide window, we saw cars passing by. The sun is setting, the lights inside the café were being switched on and the candles were being lit.

Dinnertime was approaching, and my stomach was beginning to act funny.

We decided to leave the place to get dinner elsewhere. My friend suggested going to Kinara for dinner, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s been quite a while since I ate (proper) Indian food – last time was at Eastern Promise on the New Year. And I’ve always been tempted to try Kinara since long ago, but kept postponing it, simply because none of my friends are into Indian food. So it was just right – I finally found a new partner to venture out (on dining).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Experiencing food from Babah's Kitchen

Finally. It’s about time that I check out this place. I’ve always been so clueless when it comes to memorizing streets and finding directions so I always hesitated to look for it. I’d just go to Samarra, to make my life easier.

Turned out it was on the same street as Ragusa Ice Cream and Rive Gauche. But the sad thing was that I didn’t really pay attention to the road because I didn’t know we were going there. So I’m still clueless, more or less.. I just remember it being somewhere near Cikini. Hahahah..

The ‘eldest’ amongst other Tugu Group restaurants in Jakarta (Lara Djonggrang / La Bihzad came next, followed by Samarra & Waroeng Shanghai Blue 1920), Dapur Babah is well known for its authentic Babah cuisine, a combination of Chinese-Indonesian and Dutch cooking. They have a variety of selections, from the simple everyday dishes such as rawon, pecel, and pindang, to the more elaborate such as Dutch steak and Huzaren Sla.


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