After my rather extensive listing of Best Food in Jakarta on my previous trip, I returned and visited an Indonesian friend who brought me around. In order of ranking:
#1. Union Jakarta Cafe/ Brasserie/ Bakery. Menu
Plaza Senayan courtyard, ground floor, Jl. Asia Africa No. 8
Main: +62 21 5790 5861/ +62 21 5790 5861, Bakery: +62 21 5790 5863
Street Gallery Terrace, ground floor, Pondok Indah mall 1
Main: +62 21 2952 9781/ +62 21 2952 9781, Bakery: +62 21 2952 9783
If there is a cafe you must visit, it is Union. The Plaza Senayan outlet was gorgeous, like a French bistro. The union burger w/ foie gras (100K/130K rp) was juicy as hell, the red velvet cake was commonly known as the best in Jakarta, and I tabao cronut back to Singapore, so much better than Da Paolo’s ones. Spent about 600K rp for two for lunch, and then another 100K rp for cronuts.
#2. Kembang Goela Restaurant Indonesian cuisine
Plaza Sentral, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 47-48, Jakarta 12930
T: +62 21 5205625
Although almost patrons were Singaporeans that night (because few Indonesians would pay for Indonesian food), the food was surprisingly refined and complex (and spicy). Don’t worry if you don’t know what to order: there is a Specialty section in the menu with 5 dishes. Just choose from them. My favorite was iga bakar cabe idjo (grilled short ribs with green chilli and green tomato): crunchy green chilli was so saliva-inducing! We two ordered 4 dishes, and spent about 550K rp.
#3. Kopi Luwak Cafe/Indonesian Cuisine
Ground Fl, Komplex Rasuna Epicentrum (also known as Epiwalk), Jl. H R Rasuna Said, 12860
T: +62 21 2358 1040
Many outlets around Jakarta. I didn’t drink kopi luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world harvested from undigested coffee beans found in Civet Cat’s shit, because they use unethical methods to farm so much coffee beans, and to be able to sell it so cheaply. Instead, I had food, iga bakar rawon, a short rib that meat fell off the bone, and came with a very tasty soup.
#4. Pizza e Birra Pizza/ Beer/ Bar Menu
Multiple outlets. We went twice, once in Jakarta, and once at Bandung. You can see how much we liked it. It is under Ismaya group, which also owns the upscale Social House and Skye, which I went on my first trip. Ismaya earns a lot of my money. I’d compare Ismaya Group with Singapore’s Les Amis Group. Back to Pizza e Birra. Very funky beer flavors (cinnamon, ginger, coconut, raspberry lemonade, etc), high standards of pizza, bar grub, and interesting pizza desserts. Bands play on certain locations. Rowdy, crowded, but fun.
#5. Warjok Asli Traditional Indonesian
Multiple outlets. Sop tulang – you suck out the bone marrow, which has been cooked in the soup. Quite tasty, but I have a sneaky suspicion the food is cooked elsewhere and heated up at the restaurant. And the food cooled so quickly even with a burner, I couldn’t understand why. I dislike cold food.
On your way to the airport…
If you’re afraid of the infamous Jakarta jam, and want to head out to the airport early, you can drop by Rukan Garden (10-15 minutes from airport) for a meal and desserts. There are many Korean restaurants, and a few Japanese and American restaurants. There is a long row of Chinese dessert shops too.
On your way to Rukan Garden, watch out for the insane houses where rich people live! Can you see it in the photo? It’s a 5-storey palace, with a hideous beige annex! Money can’t buy taste.
I wouldn’t recommend eating any of the Chinese desserts. My friend introduced Hong Tang Oriental Dessert (Rukan Garden Blok B 18D, Bukit Gold Mediterania, +62 21 9898 9585), which was the most popular of the dessert shops, but way overpriced at 79K rp for two bowls.
We also tried Tong Fu Dessert House (Rukan Garden House Blok B No. 28, Pantai Indah Kapuk, Jakarta Utara, +62 21 2903 3265), and Cafe Snowbowl (Rukan Exclusive Blok A No. 16 Pantai Indah Kapuk), both of which, to me, were sama sama as Hong Tang. All three’s standards weren’t very high, I think any Singapore’s hawker dessert can beat it. But you know what they say, no fish, prawn also good.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.