Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hard Rock Cafe Jakarta

Mom, Dad, and I paid a visit to Hard Rock Cafe Jakarta today, the one that's located at Pacific Place. It was 7.30 in the evening when we arrived. Mom booked us a table in advance, so it didn't take long for the waiter to escort us to our seats. The restaurant was not that crowded for a Saturday night, yet maybe it was just because we were a bit too early. One of the waiters said to us that there would be live music performance tonight, so we decided to order us some food while we wait.

Hard Rock Cafe Jakarta

Not that crowded for a Saturday night, right?

I ordered myself a glass of Strawberry Basil Lemonade, while Mom and Dad had their pint of Heineken. If it wasn't for the promise I made to myself - about how I'm not going to drink any alcohol until I turn 20 - I would probably settle down for a Pina Colada, or Cosmopolitan. I have never drink any of those two cocktails before, and I'm dying to taste one so that I can release myself from curiosity. 

Strawberry Basil Lemonade is basically your typical cold and thirst-quenching lemonade, but with a little garnish of crushed strawberries and basil. The combination of those three elements made this drink highly recommended for those who fancy a sourly fresh light beverage. Not that sour compared to lime mint, yet not that sweet compared to punch. It was lacking of sweetness for my taste, but it was nice and very enjoyable while it lasted. 

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

It turned out, I finished my Strawberry Basil Lemonade faster than I expected, I ended up ordering a second beverage: Wildberry Smoothie. A combination of fresh banana, wildberry syrup, pina colada mix, and orange juice blended into one refreshing tutty fruitty smoothie that would give a little kick to your taste bud. I like this one better than the Strawberry Basil Lemonade. The sweetness was just right for my taste, not to mention it had a quite light texture for a smoothie - not too clumpy, nor liquid-like - but it needed a little bit more banana in it.

Wildberry Smoothie

We started off with a Jumbo Combo, a mixed plate of appetizers such as, Santa Fe Spring Rolls, Hickory-smoked Chicken Wings, Onion Rings, Potato Skins, and Tupelo Chicken Tenders - served with four different kind of sauce: Tartar sauce, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, and Thousand Island Dressing. 

My favorite was the Tupelo Chicken Tenders and Potato Skins. The chicken tenders were deep-fried into perfection, brown in color and very crispy. They were slightly spicy because the batter contained bits of pepper in it. I love it best to be eaten with some Tartar sauce, as it added more flavor into the already-salty-and-savory chicken tenders. On the one hand, the Potato Skin were also enjoyable. Topped with some Jack and Cheddar cheese, seasoned bacon bits, and green onion, the potato had been a second favorite of mine. The edges were crispy and chewy at the same time, while the middle part of the potato was not mushy like how I expected it would be. Nicely seasoned, nicely grilled, and nicely served. 

Nothing special about the Onion Ring. Like always, I ended up getting rid of the onion and enjoyed the deep-fried batter instead. Again, it tasted better when its' dipped in Tartar sauce. 

Santa Fe Spring Rolls were filled with spinach, black beans, cilantro, corn, jalapeños, diced red peppers and jack cheese, which was nice and healthy, but it was clearly not a favorite of mine. They were nicely stuffed as there were no empty squishy space in the spring rolls. I'm guessing vegetarians are very much fond of this particular appetizer. 

I'm not a big fan of chicken wings. Hard Rock Cafe's Hickory-smoked Chicken Wings didn't change my opinion about my likings towards this particular dish. Mom was fond of its sour and piquant flavor though, but not me. Even when its' well-cooked and not oily, I still didn't like it. 

Jumbo Combo

The main course that I had was a plate of Grilled Salmon Fillet. I shared my plate with Dad, and it only took us around 15 minutes to finish our meal. The fillet was topped with Merlot-garlic butter, and served with a couple scoop of garlic mashed potato and vegetables. I personally loved the garlic butter on top of the salmon as it melted down the fillet. It enhanced the flavor and the savoriness of the nicely grilled fish. 

Grilled Salmon Fillet

Mom is allergic to any kind of seafood, so she didn't join Dad and I in devouring the salmon. Instead, she ordered herself a plate of New York Strip Steak. Nicely grilled and cooked, the meat was very tender and savory. You wouldn't miss the oil spurted out from the meat as you penetrate a fork in it and slice it open with a knife. It was an enjoyable sight.

New York Strip Steak

I was super stuffed after I finished my salmon, but there were still an extra space for some dessert, so I ordered myself Hard Rock Cafe's famous Hot Fudge Brownie. I had to wait for 15 minutes for my brownie to be ready, and it was worth while. My plate of dessert was very appealing - square-shaped brownie topped with vanilla flavored Haagen Dazs ice cream, whipped cream, chopped walnut, hot fudge, chocolate sprinkles, and cherry on top. 

The brownies itself was slightly sticky, a bit warm, and it had this amount of sweet that would make you feel sick if you eat it too much. A couple scoop of vanilla ice cream went well with the brownie as it neutralize the taste that you got from eating the chocolate cake. The whipped cream was different compared to other whipped cream I have ever tasted in my life as it had this thick texture, not that sweet, and it was not airy even the slightest bit. Overall, the brownie made an excellent dessert and a perfect closure for a fancy diner.

Hot Fudge Brownie

Hard Rock Cafe Jakarta
Pacific Place, Ground Floor #G-05
Jalan Jendral Sudirman, Kav. 54-55 
Jakarta Indonesia

Opening Hours: 
Sunday - Thursday : 11AM - 1AM
Friday - Saturday: 11AM - 2AM

+62 21 5797 3055
+62 21 5797 3044

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pasar Santa

"Hipster palace" are the words best describe Pasar Santa the moment I set foot to this place. Located at Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, Pasar Santa has emerged to be one of the few places where people express their uniqueness and inner creativity - in other words, being anti-mainstream. The atmosphere at Pasar Santa is different, in a good way that would make you want to stay at the marketplace forever. It has this good vibe going on and you can't help but to enjoy being in it. 

What used to be a marketplace, where vendors sell veggies and food products like they do in any traditional market you can find, was then transformed into a place where you can spend your weekend at and hangout with your gang. Pasar Santa was infamous for being dirty and slum-like, and the place itself is rather isolated and out of reach from the locals, which explains the declining interest from the citizens to pay a visit. It had it black days. But then, it slowly rise from ashes as groups of creative young people started to develop their independent businesses by renting spaces from the marketplace to give the local citizen a nudge about their whereabouts. 

Coffee enthusiasts, vintage lovers, toy collectors, foodies, vinyl collectors, and many others, all gathered here at Pasar Santa and started their business just for the fun of it. Most of the spaces here are rented by these people so that they can express their hobbies and likings. Some coffee kiosk even give out coffee for free! So, you can imagine how cool this place is. 

Last night, I finally got the chance to explore Pasar Santa with some friends. As we arrived at the marketplace, we were welcomed with a song from a group of trombone players. Not a sight that you can find everyday, right? The building is rather old, judging from the weary walls and old-fashioned structure, yet it only give the place an even more vintage atmosphere. Kiosks are separated with narrow alleys with bad lighting. The place was packed with people, but it was not like the crowded kind of situation where you would hurt someone's foot every time you take a step. Smoking is allowed here because the place is not equipped with air conditioners - so, for those of you who are smoke-intolerant, better be careful. It wasn't love at first sight, but as I strolled around the place, I found myself fell harder than I expected. 

The second level of Pasar Santa

We were welcomed with a song from the trombone players

The first place that we visited was a dessert kiosk that sells homemade Créme Brûlee, named Labrûletory. Allow me to insert you with some info about the kiosk being super small, which make queuing became a rather challenging matter at this point. They serve three flavors of Créme Brûlee here, which are original, caramel, and green tea; and each for under RP20.000,00. They also have some toppings available for you to enjoy your Créme Brûlee with, which are Nutella and Toblerone. I was curious, so I decided to have my Créme Brûlee original with Nutella topping. 

First stop: Labrûletory

Your choice of creme brûlee for under $2

I decided to have the original creme brûlee

Using smart-looking accessories to grab the consumers' undivided attentions

They freshly burn their Créme Brûlee here at the kiosk with butane torch - a tool to create flaming hot fire with butane, or flammable gas. It only took a minute for my Créme Brûlee to be served. "You're gonna have to wait for 10 more seconds for the top to hardens, then you can enjoy your dessert," the guy said. I did as he told, then enjoyed my sweet custard. 

I'm not that into Créme Brûlee because, as I recall, my first encounter with the french dessert was not as smooth as I expected it to be. I had this mindset of Créme Brûlee being custardy and sweet, yet I was given a blob of sugar-coated blob glazed with caramel that was unpleasant to my taste buds. Never again. But, this time was an exception, because I was very curious with the dessert. Fortunately, the Créme Brûlee was very delicious, making me gain my trust again for the french originated custard. 

The top of the Créme Brûlee was hard and well caramelized, it nicely cracked as I penetrate my plastic spoon in it. The custard was sweet and creamy, they sure did put a lot of sugar in it but I didn't mind because it was just right for my taste. The caramelized top blended well with the Nutella, making the Créme Brûlee more enjoyable and pleasing. I didn't regret spending some Rupiah for this dessert.

One creme brûlee coming right up!

Preparing the sweet dessert to be served to people

"You have to wait for 10 seconds until the upper part of the dessert hardens," said the seller

I'm craving for more of these!

After we had our dessert, we continued our journey at the hipster palace. Like I said, there were numerous kiosk at Pasar Santa, and each kiosks has its' own uniqueness. For instance, a dinner booth named Claypot Popo that sells cooked rice with tofu, your choice of meat, and veggies that was overflowing with customers which served a nice cup of hot tea to accompany your meal with. The kiosk was at the corner of the building, rather large compared to the other kiosk, and we can see them cook in their mini kitchen with their clay-based cooking utensils as we wait for our food to be served. 

And then, there are a couple of vinyl store adjacent to Claypot Popo that allowed us to try out the vinyls with funky old-fashioned gramophones. They were playing out a funky jazzy tunes which I'm not familiar with, yet pleasing to the ears. 

The narrow and slightly dark alleys gave out this grunge feeling, especially those walls that were decorated with funky stickers, Halloween party invitations, and reward posters for a missing dog. 

The narrow alleys at Pasar Santa

Endless surprises at every corner of the building

Some stickers that caught my attention whilst strolling around


An invitation to a Halloween celebration last October

Our next stop was a waffle stand, named Dream Waffle. Each waffle hold the price of Rp12.000,00. The waffle has a rather unique shape that reminds me of a banana, instead of the usual square-shaped ones. Each waffles were filled with fillings of their own. 
I went with the Banana and Chocolate waffle, while my friend Gavin bought the Chocolate Cream Milk waffle one. My waffle tasted good, but it was lacking of banana - they only put a tiny bit of it inside my waffle. I personally liked Gavin's more because the filling was sweeter compared to mine and overflowing. Dream Waffle was not that dreamy after all. 

A simple and funky mural from Dream Waffle

My Choco Banana waffle
There was this vinyl store that grabbed my attention. The name is Sub Store, and they sell not only vinyls in here, but also vintage clothing. The store was decorated with Japanese themed banners even though the products that they sell didn't have anything related with Japan stuff whatsoever.

Loving these banners

They also sell cds and tshirts here at Sub Store

Anyone care for some punk music?

Dominated with black as it color, DOG (Dudes of Gourmet) is a hotdog booth in Pasar Santa famous for its' one and only menu: Black Dog. What makes Black Dog different compared to any other hotdog is that they use black hotdog buns, also known as Charcoal Buns -
 buns that are made black with bamboo charcoal. People showed great interest toward this particular hotdog booth there was this long line of people queueing to get a taste of the famous Black Dog. To end my curiosity, I decided to wait in line like other people did. 20 minutes long, but I didn't regret every second of it. 

Sold Out

The only thing that they sell here is Black Dog, but it comes in three different ways of serving: single, double, and triple - with, or without cheese sauce. I went with the single Black Dog with cheese sauce, which costed me Rp38.000.

First is that, when we came up to the ordering booth, the guy would jot down our order under our name and let us wait for our hotdogs to be prepared. They will call out your name when your order is served. There were only five active workers at DOG, and hundreds hungry people waiting for their orders to be made, so it was pretty hectic. 

They only sell Black Dog hotdog here at DOG

Three people were handling the barbecue table. I was very fascinated by how quick they prepared all the ingredient needed to make a single hotdog. Each person handled a job of their own, yet in the end, they ended up doing an excellent team job. 

A small bbq table where they prepare their famous black hotdog

The Dynamic Duo

Putting some smoked beef to the hotdogs

Caramelized onions to enhance the flavor

Funky how they use black buns instead of regular buns

I didn't lie about DOG using black buns for their hotdogs, right?

Black Dog consisted of smoked beef and grilled wurst, topped with caramelized onion, then glazed with chilly and cheese sauce. My first bite of DOG's famous hotdog was not disappointing. I didn't regret having to wait in line for 20 minute just for a piece of hotdog because it tasted good! The black bun was chewy and slightly sweet, it had this crispy edges from being heated on the barbecue table. Both smoke beef and sausage were very oily, yet perfectly grilled according to my taste. The chilly sauce was nice, although it didn't stand out much, and the cheese sauce was very enjoyable. Highly recommended!

Selamat makan!

After we were done with our hotdogs, we continued our exploration. We visited a few vintage stores and creative entrepreneurs - there was this kiosk named book, gatherings & all things creative that had this comic interpretation of the Beatles' song. The guy from the kiosk had this quirky cut, with the cool side cuts and Harry Potter glasses dangling on his nose, and he was explaining to us about one of the Beatles' song "Revolution 9" that has a rather creepy and mysterious sound effect.  

An interpretation of what's going on in one of the Beatles' song, Revolution 9

The Beatles' I Am the Walrus

Photos of the store owner's daughter to sweeten up the store

Any of you are KISS's fans? 

Our last stop was at this vintage store which name escaped me. There were lots of cute adorable vintage stuff at this store - clothes, satchel bags, posters, stamps, and many more. I couldn't help but to shop for a piece of cute vest for Rp135.000,00, a Rp30.000,00 worth of poster, and an old tin toy that costed me Rp50.000,00. I lost myself for a second and ended up spending so much on things that I wanted, yet didn't actually need.

Calling all stamp collectors!

It was fun spending my Saturday night at Pasar Santa. I might actually pay another visit to the marketplace sometimes in the future. 

So, if you're a fan of vinyl and anything vintage, or if you're just bored of going to the same mall every weekend, then Pasar Santa is the right place for you to visit. Make sure you bring some cash if you're planning to have a food-venture, not to mention if you involuntary get caught up in some cute vintage stuff.

Pasar Santa
Jalan Cisanggiri III
Petogoan, Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta Selatan, 12170 - Indonesia 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Reminiscing Kantin Kespen

There is this cafeteria inside my institution territory that we, cadets, always visit everyday. It doesn't have a name, so we named it after its' division area: Kespen. Kespen stands for Keselamatan Penerbangan, or Aviation Safety Division, which is one of four main majors in Sekolah Tinggi Penerbangan Indonesia (STPI). Kantin Kespen, or Kespen Cafeteria, is located in the old Kespen area -adjacent to where my division is, the Pilot Division. We, pilot cadets, are easily hungry, and the only budget-friendly dining place is Kantin Kespen. So, don't be surprised if we keep coming back to this particular cafeteria within two to three hours span in just a day. 

The atmosphere at Kantin Kespen

At Kantin Kespen, you can find pretty much everything to fill your empty stomach with. Sure, you might not find anything fancy here, but every food and drinks that are sold here are both budget-friendly and stomach-filling. What more can a cadet with Rp10.000,00 in his pocket possibly ask, right? 

The first thing that you will find here is a buffet of dishes that you can have for your meal. You can have your warm fluffy rice with any dishes that you like - either it be vegetables or beef, seafood or eggs, fried chicken or grilled eggplants, you name it. My kind of meal would me a plate of Rp2000,00 worth of white rice, accompanied with a scoop of marinated mussels, a spoonful of stir-fried baby squid, fried tempe marinated in sweet soy sauce, and a piece of tempe fritter - and it goes pretty damn well with a glass of cold and thirst-quenching american-orange-flavored Nutrisari.

Your selection of dishes to go with your rice

Sometimes, the cafeteria serves fried rice instead of plain white rice

When my favorite dishes were sold out, I usually go with other dishes to sought for solace

If you don't feel like having a meal, you can browse through the snack section to ease your craving. On the table, you will find lots of snacks, such as candies, biscuits, and crisps, and a couple tray of fritters. Most snacks are worth a thousand rupiah, but there are some which are half price less. Whenever I come to Kantin Kespen with a full stomach, yet have the urge to nibble on something, I usually go with the fritter. My favorite would be the banana fritter and sweet-potato fritter, but sometimes I like to have me a plate of sambal and sweet soy sauce covered tempe fritter. Pure awesomeness.

A table full of snack

One of the worker at Kantin Kespen who take over the frying section 

In the midst of making deep-fried tempe

A plate of fried tempe glazed with sweet soy sauce and sambal

When you're not in the mood to eat anything and just looking for something to quench your thirst, you can always go to the so-called "bar" and order yourself a drink. It's not like those bars that you usually find at pubs and night clubs, but it is how it is, and it's got a bartender who make us drinks as well. The drinks that they served here are at Kantin Kespen are mostly instant and in sachets, such as instant cappuccino, condensed milk, fruit-flavored drinks (which is known as Kool-Ais in America), and oat milk drinks named Energen. If you prefer to have canned drinks and bottled drinks, you can always head to the fridge and chose the drink you like. But, you can always grab yourself a glass of water if you're not in the mood for something with flavor though, not to mention it's free of charge.

What kind of drink will you have today?

In the middle of mixing a drink

The rush hour in the cafeteria is usually in the morning, between 7 to 9 AM, followed by an hour after mid day, and during tea-time. Usually, during tea-time, there will be food vendors parking their carts to sell their food products. The regulars are rujak vendor, es podeng vendor, and bakso vendor - and when those three vendors come, I will definitely spend some more rupiah to ease the crave.

The sight of Kantin Kespen during rush hour

Breakfast has never been this good at STPI