Thursday, February 2, 2012


For days I have been craving curry. Long story short it brought me to Ootoya, a very authentic Japanese restaurant in Plaza Indonesia Extension.

This is chicken katsu curry with coleslaw on the side. All I can say is that it comforts my cravings! The curry was very rich and tasty. Aside from the katsu itself there were chopped chicken and onions as well. But I can't anything on the katsu other than awesome! It was crunchy and somehow absorbed the rich curry, making it even more rich. A great taste does come with a considerable price. The curry goes for 65k, but it was definitely worth the spend because the portion was more than enough.

For the next trip, I really want to try the restaurant at The Goods Department.



My campus has this huge brand new library. At first I was amazed by how massive the building is. Not only it is a great place to study or research, it's a great place to hang out or kill time as well. It is becoming this 'watering hole' because it's in the center of the campus complex and one of its side overlooks the lake. It's quite nice, I might add, coffee shops and canteens, travel agency and a book shop. But I was there once to try the Korean Restaurant. I think it's run by Koreans who live and work in Depok and you can see from the guests at the place that it's like for the community of Koreans to meet and have a good meal.

I ordered Kimchi Chigae with rice, which is basically kimchi stew with tofu and onions. (30k-ish) There was also some meat in it but I guess it wasn't the main part of the dish, considering the lack of meat in it. It was red, so I geared up with my water and tissues. As expected, of course, it was spicy but so good! The kind of food that you know it's spicy yet you can't have enough of it! It wasn't very intense as eating plain kimchi. It was good actually! I might just drop by some other time.

Well I am planning to come back because I really want to try the kimbap and ddeokbokki ;)

Oh, did I mention the restaurant connects to a very good Kafe Korea, which serves drinks like green tea latte (my favorite!) and all sorts of tea and coffee drinks. The secret is if you go to the second floor you'll find some board games they put on the table to kill time. I was never gonna leave that place.


Snippet of Siem Reap

Over January break, I got to visit Siem Reap! The town is located in the northern part of Cambodia and the nearest town to the famous Angkor Wat. So basically it was sort of like temple hopping trip.

Angkor Wat at sunrise

Banteay Srei

Bayon Temple

That's Angkor Wat!

Second Visit

Years ago, I have been to Nanny's Pavillon before in Bandung, which was quite memorable. I remember they had a pretty good pasta and a well cooked waffle, plus the fruit punch was great. A wee ago though, I had the opportunity to try this place again, this time in Pacific Place Jakarta. While the one in Bandung had the theme of 'Garden', the one in Pacific Place coined the theme 'bathroom', the least place to think when you're eating. I was sitting on the outer side of the restaurant so I can't really feel the bathroom theme, aside from stack of towels and bath scrub
on a shelf above my table.

They offer several varieties of pasta, baked rice and Western dishes. I opted for pasta since it's on of my favorite. I was beginning to grow bored of the usual cream or red sauce pasta so I spotted the aglio olio variety, pasta tossed in garlic, oil and chili powder, with mushrooms, no meat. I am not big on spicy food so I thought I was going to take a huge chance ordering the dish.

I found it quite nice and bearable, though I thought the mushrooms were too massive but I guess it's part of its beauty. It was very nice indeed. I'd order it again next time though not in the near future. It was good but not really extraordinary, considering the price it isn't cheap for a casual meal with college girl's pocket money. (what was it 40k-ish?) But it was a great place to hang out, but can be very busy during certain hours.


Monday, July 18, 2011

The Beauty of Rest Areas

The view in the rest area

Traveling across Europe by land made me see things you don't see in the sky. By plane, we usually focused on the newest entertainment available on board or looking at the next meal menu. But by land, I got to see something else. Sure it was tiring but it's like seeing a postcard on your window. I traveled in a group of sixteen and embarked on a four to eight hours worth of driving a day. If it gets boring, there's a movie on the bus or getting down on your novels. But when the view is great, you won't take your eyes off it.

One of the exciting moments are actually the rest time. We have to pull up twice a day to use the restroom and the rest areas couldn't be more beautiful. I remember somewhere in Swiss when we were stopping, the rest area was surrounded by a beautiful range of the Swiss Alps. I couldn't wrap my mind around how beautiful it was.

They take rest areas very seriously around Europe because it's their distribution line. They are built to cater everything. Plus, they maintain a clean restroom (that's important!). We stopped several times at this chain rest area giant called Autogrill. The guide said it's pretty famous in Italy. I expect little stalls like they have back home but no. It was huge! They cook seriously. It is designed to be a self service restaurant. They have different stalls of pasta or grilled meat (pan fried chicken or seafood goods), provides a good selection of baked goods and dessert. It didn't feel like we were above a highway, in the middle of a four-five hour drive. But, it can result it taking too much food. We ended up doing exactly that :/

Tortellini Bolognese


We tried to different Autogrill in two countries. I ordered the pan fried chicken with potatoes and a tiramisu for my dessert. The portion? Very European. Is it true that the Western eat bigger portions? It was overwhelmingly big but it tasted quite okay. I love the potatoes. I guess potatoes are a signature dish in the west. The tiramisu was also very good. Not too coffee-y, something I don't enjoy very much. My brother tried the tortellini, which is too hard for my tongue. Well, we have to remember it is Autogrill, not a fancy restaurant. Or is it the way people cook it originally? My mouth is used to soft things I guess.

The other time I ordered pizza, with cheese and peperoni. It was soooo good. Well, it was just cheese and peperoni, how could it be so tasty?

The rest areas are designed to be quick, with the self-service concept and all of that. But at the same time, designed with such an effort. They don't just make a building and restaurants in it, it was actually a good looking building, some has parks with lots of bench. They grasped the need to have a good place to put up your feet. Especially because they have a non driving policy for bigger vehicle like trucks containers on Sundays. They literally have to stop their journey and stop on Sundays. Most of these vehicles may also have a tight schedule so they will want something fast. Like my bus, we have a schedule. The bus musn't go over 12 hours a day of driving so it's pretty good for these people.


Viennese Delight

I was fortunate enough to go on a tour of Europe a few weeks ago. I started in Amsterdam, going south to Italy and up north again to London. We didn't really taste a lot of local food because it's a tour and the food are provided for us. And, it's almost always Chinese food. I swear I'm so sick of Chinese food. But it's interesting to me that the Chinese community exists in every country. From Innsbruck to Lucerne and Venice, you'll find a Chinese restaurant. But that's not what I'm talking about. I want to talk about a cake, from Austria.

It is called the Sarcher Torte. Sarcher is a family name who made this cake and torte means tart. It's originally created by accident, when Franz Sarcher needed to step into the chef's place (he was an apprentice) and created this chocolate tart with apricot filling. I was traveling to Innsbruck when our tour guide said this tart is pretty famous in Austria. We headed down to Cafe Sarcher to try this delight.

The Innsbruck Cafe

At first, I didn't feel right walking into the cafe. I'm a tourist, Asian, don't speak the local language. The cafe wasn't busy at the time so I went on and sat waiting to be served. I was immediately struck by the way they presented the menu book. It's hung in a little stick on the center of the table. It also described the story of the Sarcher Torte invention. Thankfully, the waitress understands English as I ordered the famous tart and a cup of hot chocolate.

While I waited, I soaked in the atmosphere. It's bright; they let the sun shines in through a typical European big window. The walls were lined with pictures of the famous people who dined at the place, both at the cafe and the hotel. (There is a Hotel Sarcher in Vienna and Salzburg).

The famous Sarcher Torte and Hot Chocolate

The moment of truth arrived and we were all very excited. It looked so good. I absolutely love the chocolate top. The apricot filling was terrific, if you love that kind of thing in your cake. I personally don't like a fruity ingredient on my chocolate. It is a fine cake, but it didn't make me crave for more. I do crave for more chocolate, which tasted heavenly in a form of my hot chocolate. I could drink that everyday and never get bored. It's rich; not too sweet. Just perfect.

One other thing. It's quite affordable, under 10 euros :)


photos courtesy of Cafe Sarcher

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crisps Crisps

I don't mind getting my hands messy eating chicken. I love chicken but always end up in a miserable sense of guilt. Especially fried chicken, stuff KFC offered. But my brother took me to this new eating place at Rasuna Epicentrum. It's called 4FINGERS. I assume chicken has four fingers, no?

We felt pretty weird because when we arrived, it was empty. The location was pretty secluded so people easily missed it. But their effort to bring the New York subway scene work well. It's designed like a fast food restaurant. I was starving so I thought ordering Chicken Burger might be a good idea, while my brother ordered the signature crispy fried chicken.

I love the chicken, it's a good change from the old fashioned crispy KFC styled chicken. We ordered them in sweet soy garlic sauce, you can order them spicy hot if you fancy hot wings. It's crispy yes but the soy garlic sauce didn't absorb into the chicken. But I wasn't very pleased with my burger. I don't think burgers and chicken go too well. It's very hard to eat, I ended up eating the chicken and the bread separately. The lettuce and tomato cuts were just too cold. It wasn't good. I hated it. But do try the french fries because it's unlike the usual fries and salt type. They sprinkled what I think was dried chilli and spices making them flavorful and hot at the same time.You don't have to dip them into ketchup or chilli sauce.

They also serve seafood dish and chicken wrap.

Overall, I won't go there any time soon. My tongue still enjoys the old fashioned American guilty pleasure. But it's good to have a breakthrough idea like this Korean styled chicken. Click on gimme4fingers to find out more. Their website is awesome.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Nasi Ajam Brijani with baby potatoes

I have always wondered what Kopitiam means and why there is so many kopitiam. But I think they serve the same thing: a Chinese inspired coffee house, with additional food menu. I recently visited Kopitiam Oey, founded by the famous Pak Bondan Winarno.

It was the worst of days, it was raining. But as soon as I walk into the place, again I felt I was somewhere else. A Chinese coffee house. Well, I can't say I have been in a coffee house in China but I sure think like that. I was empty, the only other table was busy having a meeting or something. I remember the menu was written in edjaan lama. So, in respect of the menu, I ordered Nasi Ajam Brijani. I love trying exotic rice like brijani.

But I think my expectation was a little too high. It was good, but not great. Or I have the wrong idea about how savory brijani rice is. I was hoping for a flavorful, umami taste but it was almost bland and unsatisfying. But I have to praise the chicken and baby potatoes which helped the rice brings out its taste. Oh, and the raisins bother me. But I guess that's the beauty of it.

Spaghetti Toena Pedas

I also tried Spaghetti Toena Pedas. I love pasta more than I like bread but never like this. We are familiar with the cream sauce or the bolognese sauce. This one is hot and spicy, for you capsaicin junkie. I do want to point out that it is just a little bit dry for my tongue. A little more oil might do the trick. I thought I was having acid reflux because of it.

But a coffee house must be famous for its coffee. But let me say to you, they serve a very strong coffee. If you people, like me, can't handle much coffee and can only digest sugar infused coffee like from Starbucks, their coffee might not be for you. Trust me.

Price: 40k-60k
Tebet Raya No. 141

PS: *out of context* the real kopitiam intrepretation of 'teh' is milk tea. That's why I never ordered tea in Singapore or Malaysia. Teh is unsweetened tea, not milk tea, come on!


Back Home

My food photo record shows several dishes I tried but I always put them away in storage. I thought of abandoning my blog but the thought of doing it again came back each time I savor flavors I find. One of my recent merry adventures brought me to Kafe Betawi.

I know it's a pretty renowned place to eat but honestly it wasn't in my 'to eat' list. I was never a fan of Indonesian food because I eat them everyday. But that's the thing about Kafe Betawi. I think they tried to bring these every day Indonesian cuisine to a cool, almost upscale cuisine most people can enjoy.

I visited their Cilandak Town Square restaurant and it wasn't my first choice at the beginning. But I was getting tired of the western style food so I guess a little taste of home won't do any harm. The place was designed like an old Betawi house; almost transported to a different generation. They have authentic looking furnitures, like the rotan chair I sat on. My mum said it's pretty common to have a rotan chair back in the day.

They have a wide range of Indonesian cuisine selection, from Sop Iga to the all time favorite Nasi Goreng. I ordered Laksa with ketupat, which at first I thought wasn't very Betawi at all. But according to my research there is such thing called Laksa Betawi isn't it?

My main concern about eating Laksa is getting my clothes stained, which I did. But it wasn't a big deal anymore because I never thought Laksa can be so good. Okay, call me exaggerating but it is very good. I am a sucker for anything umami and this was it. I love mix of spices in the broth and the little diced oncom. I never thought oncom can be used in a soup type of dish like this. Plus points for the well proportioned and the not-so-long waiting time. I can't complain :D

The other menu I recommend are Mie Tek-Tek and Sop Iga.

I think Kafe Betawi isn't the young generation's favorite. I didn't see anyone my age at the restaurant, beside the little kids with their parents. People my age will just go have a quick bite of burger and sushi. It's a smart move Kafe Betawi made, bringing the old to the new. Indonesian dish have more flavors and art to its making compared to a simple burger and fries. Many people should remember that and don't take it for granted.

Prices: 40k-60k
Cilandak Town Square, 2nd Floor

PS: Mirrors work wonders for the place, they almost had me fooled.