Saturday, August 25, 2012


Hello patients, Happy Eid Ul Fitr :)

For me, Chinese food in Jakarta is divided into three types. First, the authentic (usually contains pork) chinese resturant, spreading through north, west and central (kota) Jakarta. Then there's modern chinese restaurant, the ones in Malls and Hotels. The third one is equally authentic but authentic in terms of Indonesian taste. Mandala goes to the third type.

As one of Jakarta's Legendary chinese restaurant. One that is halal and actually tastes good. The place itself is quite small., very packed but fortunately still cool. This place looks like those chinese restaurant in old movies. With patrons coming mostly from South Jakarta, this place serves halal chinese food. I'm a bit disappointed since IMHO pork and chinese food can't be separated.

The food:
1. Mun Tahu

I lost the receipt so I can't write the price. I think it's around 70K, pretty pricey! The mun tahu appeared like soup... Served in a pot, it's very soupy and silky. The taste, yummy :) The tofu is smooth and silky, melts in your mouth as you sip. The minced meat gives that crunchy yet meaty texture. Very fragrant and comforting. The kind of dish that you'd expect when you are sick.

2. Kakap Cah Asparagus

Another yummy dish! Asparagus is not something we often see in a chinese resturant. Usually comes in the form of soup, asparagus is a unique ingredients which tastes better in western style cooking. Mandala make this amazing dish that consists of snapper fillet, asparagus and onions in buttery sweet sauce Surprisingly tasty!

3.  Bistik Ayam

The Bistik Ayam is a huge disappointment. Weird tasting sauce, thin slices of battered chicken on a plate of lettuce, boohoo. The sauce is too thick and too sweet. The chicken is sooo thin I taste more of the batter than the chicken.

Mandala's portion is BIG! But... the price is also pricey. For me, I still prefer Kota's chinese food but among those indonesian chinese restaurant, this is the best :)

Rating: 7/10
Location: Wolter Monginsidi, Jakarta

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Otel Lobby

Otel Lobby is one of Jakarta's hippest hang out spot. I've read many stellar reviews about this place but haven't tried it myself. One day, I answered this quiz on Twitter and... I won!!! Yeayyy, the prize is a free beef wellington, Otel Lobby's specials :)

Upon entering the premise, I was quite amazed. The Epicentrum area has its spell on me. I really really love the urban feel there. The neon signboard of Otel Lobby is certainly an eye catcher. Contrasting through the night sky, inviting us to have a sip of cocktail after a long day at work. The reception area is actuallly a Lobby. Mimicking an old school kind of hotel, with silent film on the backdrop, this place is a total classic.

Seated on a big leather sofa at the lounge area, I was a bit confused. How am I gonna eat sitting on a sofa like this (yeah yeah, I'm such a fuzzy customer). Is it because I got it for free? The lounge area is very cozy though, not recommended for dinner but an absolute choice for pre-party.

The food:
1. Beef Wellington (Rp. 145.000)
This is actually my first time having Beef Wellington. Not many places in Jakarta have this dish (or maybe I can't afford those who has them) so I'm a wellington virgin. I know this dish from Ramsay's TV show, Hell's Kitchen and been drooling over them for a long long time. According to the menu description, it contains mushroom duxelles. Duxelles is a finely chopped (minced) mixture of mushrooms or mushroom stems, onions, shallots and herbs sautéed in butter, and reduced to a paste (wikipedia) I just googled it :p

Basically it is a puff pastry containing beef. I asked for the beef to be medium well and it turned out medium well. Don't ask me how the cook it, I just know how to eat it :) The puff pastry, excellent. Slightly buttery and crackles the moment you cut it with a knife. The beef, perfect. Great cut, cooked precisely medium well and tender. I have a problem with tough meat so I am very very very fuzzy about the tenderness of a meat. Otel Lobby's Wellington pass with flying colors. Served with a small plate of heavenly smooth and silky mashed potato (need a bit more cream and butter though), this Beef Wellington is definitely a must try. Yummy!!!!

2. Herbed Papardelle with Braised Short Ribs (Rp. 85.000)
Let's get started... Judging from the menu, Otel Lobby served american/western classic dish with asian twist. The moment I read that this papardelle has soft cooked eggs AND ribs, I recommend this to Asmet. Simply because I want to try it :p

Served in two size, Asmet opted the large one. Smart move since he knew I'll be hijacking his dish also :p It was yummylicious!!! I don't know what makes it so delicious. The perfectly cooked papardelle, the spot on creamy meaty sauce, the tender boneless ribs or the beautiful soft cooked egg in the middle of what I think is one of the best pasta dish I ever had.

Papardelle is wide and al dente, like a pasta version of Singaporean char kway teow. The sauce is very rich, very herby, creamy and has all that goodness of a beef stock. The beef ribs is very very tender. We can taste the beautiful texture differences of the chewy pasta, the shredded tender ribs AND the gooey eggs. It's not only good in the tongue but also on your teeth.

Thank you Otel Lobby for the experience, well done!

Rating: 8/10
Location: Kuningan Epicentrum

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Downtown Bistro

Fresh from the oven... Downtown Bistro!!!!

As usual, Jakarta never runs out of new hip and trendy hang out spot. Meet Downtown Bistro. One of the must try spot for all food enthusiasts, social climbers, alcoholics and gossipers like us :)Went there for my birthday dinner with my besties and had a really really really good time.

Located in Jakarta downtown area, Downtown Bistro offers a cool yet comfy place to blow some steam for all the eksmud in Sudirman Area. The classic library decor with huge old sofa and the old looking books make it more library-ish. The smoking area is exceptionally comfy and invites you to blow some smoke with colleagues and friends.

The food:
1. Purple Pig (Rp. 74.000)

Slow cooked pork belly with some berry sauce (guessing cranberry) with mashed chickpeas and sauteed vegetables. The peas and veggie is ok, nothing special there except the mini portion. The pork is yummy but smells weird in the layer of fat, a part where all the goodness is. The sauce, heavenly :) Pork and berries are a match made in heaven.

2. Mother Vessel (Rp. 57.000)

It's basically fish and chips with pretty plating. The dory is kinda undercooked. Too flaky.... I dunno what went wrong but something is off with this dish. The batter is great, love it. The herbs and dips for the fish is also good but when I ate the fish, the herbs didn't help the fish to shine. Is it the fish? Or the cooking technique? Well for sure, not gonna order that one again. Pudel Perek can't finish this dish.. Too bad huh

3. BBQ Pork Ribs (Rp. 139.000)

A big pork ribs with some bbq honey sauce. Sauce is excellent and the meat is basted wonderfully. Has that burnt taste that makes it very rustic and the meat is tender. Just pull it with a fork and there you are, yummy pork :)

4. The George Sandwich (Rp. 63.000)

5. Country Chicken (Rp. 63.000)

I didn't try the last two dishes, Ratu Iblis and Ciwalit finished them so fast I couldn't get a bite grrrrrr

Well, the food aren't disappointing and more affordable than it's competitor (Otel Lobby, Bluegrass, Skye, etc)  The place is nice and not too crowded. The thing to do is make the portion bigger!!! Geez... The portion is so small, none of us said "I'm full" at the end of dinner. Service tax is 10%!!!!!! Thank God their service is excellent, otherwise I'll go Rambo

 Pudel Perek - dr. B - Asmet - Ciwalit - Ratu Iblis

Rating: 7/10
Location: Landmark Building, Jakarta