Postcards From Central Java: A Short Getaway With A Lifetime Memory

Going for a meeting during Jakarta’s rush hour can be quite a tough decision-making moment that its citizens have to face. You gotta choose between driving your car – or sitting comfortably at the backset of your Uber ride – but will be most likely late for your meeting, and order an online ojek (bicycle ride) that is twice faster yet could be quite tormenting with the humid weather and pollution rate.

If it’s for a meeting, or any time constraint events, I’d always choose the later.

Last Friday, I had an after office meeting, and only had about 1,5 hour to get into the meeting point. Thanks to Jakarta’s traffic, Google Maps told me that it would take about 2 hours. Not wanting to be late and in the name of trying to impress my potential client, I ordered the online ojek and hoped that I could get there in only 30 minutes.

However, I spent 1 hour and 15 minutes sitting on the motorcycle, with my driver trying his best to avoid every traffic jam that we encountered. The moment I arrived at the meeting point, I was drenched in sweat, and I stink like an old bus muffler. I walked directly to Topman to buy new clothes only for the meeting, and well, yeah for a wardrobe upgrade (LOL).

Anyway, spending 1 hour – which almost caused me a back pain – on a motorcycle, fighting your way through Jakarta’s cruel traffic made me missing a short getaway that I had just few months ago to Central Java. I’ll post details about several places and experiences that I got from the trip in another post. It was quite a short getaway over the weekend, yet it gave me one of the most remarkable memory that would last a lifetime.

As for now, please enjoy 9 best photos from that trip!

 

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The sky is blushing when the sun greets her in the morning.

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Sun-kissed.

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A loner looking for some gold.

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Because everything today has to be captured.

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Rockin’ my yellow jacket.

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Sitting above the clouds.

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A nice morning talk on the top of a hill.

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When you have the gleaming sunrise as your backdrop.

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The heights didn’t scare me. Imagining my camera fall down and hit the rocky bottom did.

Wait for more details of this trip, will ya?! Geesh, I literally have tons of content lining up to be posted here. Speaking of which, one of them will be good news and A BRAND NEW EXCITING stuff for The Perks of Being 20! Curious enough?

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

 

Grills Gone Wild at AB Steak by Chef Akira Back!

Jakarta people, “meat” the newest creation of Chef Akira Back, AB Steak! Located in the Mezzanine Floor of MD Place Building, AB Steak brings a revolutionary modern Korean Steakhouse that incorporates American style steakhouse. This innovative steakhouse has been developed by Chef Back for quite some times and we are lucky to be chosen as the first city to have AB Steak. TODAY (April 23rd), this restaurants opens its doors for the first time and ready to bring you a whole ‘notha level of luncheon/dining experience!

Big thanks to Astrid Suryatenggara (our favorite super bubbly “Cici”) for giving us the preview of AB Steak’s wide range of menu along with several other bloggers and media friends. DR & I were lucky enough to taste some of their highlighted menus a week before the official opening.

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AB Steak by Chef Akira Back, MD Place Building Mezzanine floor, Jalan Setiabudi Selatan No.7, Jakarta

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Unlike its “brother”, the Akira Back, AB Steak offers a dim-lighted ambience with black and grey dominated the interior. Size-wise, it’s less spacious compared to Akira Back however it provides a comfortable “private” atmosphere for me. The moment a waiter opened its wooden front door for me, I was greeted by a window glass on my right side, which shows three refrigerators where they dry-aged the beef.

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Chef Andri Dionysius was being interviewed by one of the media.

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Paper Cranes on the wall as a symbol of luck, and also a catchy wall decoration.

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Honestly, I came with no expectation. Wait, on a second thought, I came with one and only expectation. Every time Astrid invites me to one of her events, I’d go home in a food comma condition. So that’s kinda my expectation. To get bloated with huge portions of meats, and glorified grilled wagyu. Apparently, that’s not the scenario.

The whole luncheon experience was like a well-scripted action slash sci-fi movie, where you get a lot of teasing introduction that somehow drags you into wanting for the climax point of the whole story to be revealed. Yet, the director decides to keep you waiting, just for a little longer. That’s how AB Steak created the momentum on this luncheon. They served like 7 appetizers, only to tickle our tastebuds, before finally releasing the main course to our tables.

Let’s get started!

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Scallop Crudo. 135k.

Our luncheon was opened with a bowl of fresh scallop (crudo means raw in Spanish), served with chive & kimchee gel, jicama (read: hee-cama, a Mexican yam bean), truffled yuja (citrus) soy. If you’re into a sour & tangy flavor, this one is definitely for you.

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The Perks of Being Twenty Gerson Henry Demas Ryan AB Steak Akira Back Grills Gone Wild Foodies Lifestyle Restaurant Japanese Foods Jakarta Indonesia 11
Amberjack “Carpaccio”. 195k.

Carpaccio, according to Mr. Wiki, is a dish of raw meat or fish, thinly sliced or pounded thin and served mainly as an appetizer. In AB Steak, they serve delightful pink Amberjack meats, with blood orange soy, slices of oranges, plus roasted Jalapeno salsa! The flavor was simply as exotic as the presentation.

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Shitake Croquette. 225k.

This is my favorite! And probably, everyone else’s on my table. Deep fried croquette placed on top of smoked potato foam, topped with sweet shrimp gejang, sea urchin, and caviar!

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Black Mussels. 135k.

This one is also my favorite. In AB Steak, they served this bowl of delicious black mussels with little meatballs, and what makes it unique is they serve it with crispy rice cake (tteobokki) and kochujang butter sauce. I completely forgot about tasting the tteobokki and meatballs because I was too hooked with the mussels!

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Steamed Bun. 150k.

Next one on my table was this set of three buns, topped with well-seasoned bbq duck, which was so tender, and seared foie gras that literally melts in my mouth. The scrumptious bun was gone in a single bite!

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Steak Tartare. 185k.

I’m not really a fan of bone marrow, not that I don’t like it but I’m always worried with the cholesterol level (haha). However, when this plate of raw wagyu was placed before me, I couldn’t resist not to taste it. The freshness of raw beef mixed with the buttery bone marrow was indeed a sinful indulgence!

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AB’s Caesar. 110k.

Look at that fat salmon, served with grilled romaine, herbed yoghurt caesar dressing and those tiny caramel macadamia. A plate of healthy foods balanced with tiny sweet treats!

Okay, after 7 various starter menus, I was more than ready to experience the real “Grill Gone Wild”!

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Chef Andri Dionysius, ready to grill the meats live in front of the guests.

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Flat Iron Australian Wagyu 225k/100g.

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Wagyu See, Wagyu Get!

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The first one on the list was three juicy slices of Flat Iron Australian Wagyu  225k. Other than this mouth-watering goodness, they also have other Premium Wagyu selections, like Hokkaido “Snow” Rib Eye A5, Hokkaido “Snow NY Strip A4, Chuck Eye Steak A4, Rump A4, Knuckle A4, ranging from 185k to 850k per 100 grams.

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The dipping sauces.

What made the whole Grills Gone Wild experience was even more delightful was their five different kinds of salt and dipping sauce. My favorite was the truffle salt and garlic salt! As for the dipping sauce, I love the bulgogi and soy sauce.

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45 Days Porterhouse 200 Days Grain Fed 185k/100g (500g minimum).

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Next up, they spoiled us with two selections of their House Aged Beef: the 45 days Porterhouse and 45 Days Bone-in Ribeye. From this category, you can also order other various selections like the 60 days Whiskey Aged Bone-in Wagyu Ribeye MBS +6, 45 Days T-bone, 21 Days Kiwami Wagyu Top Sirloin 9+, and 15 Days Belgian White Tongue, ranging from 123k – 199k per 100grams.

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45 Days Bone-in RIbeye 200 Days Grain Fed 199k/100g (300g minimum).

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Those three selections of meats were all equally delicious and juicy, especially because they served it medium rare, just the way I like it. One of the things that makes this steak house unique is the fact that you can have your meats exactly how you like it, because the grilling machine is right in front of you. However, with such advanced technology, you don’t have to worry about getting that smell of smoke on your hair and clothes.

By the way, if you asked me which one is my favorite, I’d answer the Flat Iron Australian Wagyu! I would definitely come back for more, perhaps on a special occasion like a romantic dinner? Uhm, sadly not in anytime soon.

Anyways, after 7 starters and 3 main course menus, AB Steak continued to pamper us with 3 desserts!

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Coconut Mochi Cake. 60k.

Love the moist texture and chewy mochi cake, plus the salted caramel popcorn and macadamia! DR was already back to his office by the time they served the desserts. My new foodies friend, @yennymakanmulu was being super kind as she let me finish the whole plate. After the cake, they also let us have a taste of the super yummy Molten Chocolate Souffle, which was to die for! And, they close the whole luncheon experience by having a live cooking of their Brandy & Maple Crepes!

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Molten Chocolate Souffle. 150k.

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The ingredients.

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Brandy & Maple with Nashi & Crepé Flambe. 150k.

Thank you again AB Steak for the warm and delightful preview! We wish you all the best of luck on your first day of opening today. Cheers!

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All the best of luck, AB Steak!

Write to you later,

 

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Twelve Hours in Surabaya

We’re always in the search of happiness. Some people find it through social interaction, some through building networks. Some through relationships, some through achievements. I, myself, often find happiness through exploring new places and getting lost in between. This is why traveling seems to be one of the primary tools that would keep me refreshed. Just like what DR said in his latest post, travel is essential. If I may add, it’s essential to keep me sane.

Perhaps it’s the millennials part of me, I don’t mind spending some of my savings for a little break from the daily routines and crazy schedules. Some people argue that our generation don’t really care about settling down, let alone buying a house for our future family. All we care for is making memories through a series of adventures. Is this really becoming a dangerous trait for our generation? Well, everyone can have their own thought about this. Let’s have a convo over coffee if you’re interested to have a further discussion about this. But for now, I’m not here for that subject.

I’m here to share one of the exploration I had during my last visit to the capital of East Java. Some of you have already asked me to share the complete itinerary via Instagram’s message, pardon me for the delay, but it’ll be up in the blog soon.

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12 hours train ride to the east of Java.

So after spending two days in Banyuwangi for a hike to Ijen Crater and a motor-ride to Baluran National Park, I took a train ride to Surabaya and had about 12 hours to kill before my flight back to Jakarta. All I could think about the moment my train arrived in Gubeng Station (Surabaya’s train station) was to immediately order online transportation and go to Depot Bali (Jalan Makam Peneleh 30). If you’re in Surabaya, their Nasi Babi Peneleh is A MUST! Tripadvisor even put it as Surabaya’s Best Balinese Nasi Babi. Good news is, they-re available in Go-Food so you can easily order and have it delivered to your front door.

I’ll let the picture tickle your curiosity even more.

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You can forget about any other things I put in this post, but NOT this one!

Basically, it’s a plate of freshly cooked rice with tender-crisp pork belly, pork satay, a bowl of tasty broth soup and three different type of Sambal. I’ve fallen in love with this one since the first time I gave it a try a year ago, and have been craving for it ever since. Who could resist a huge portion of greatly tasted meal that comes in a very affordable price?

Next on my list was to put my bag in the airport, and then go to Madura by crossing the Suramadu Bridge. I was in the spirit of exploring those beautiful beaches that I stumbled upon in Google. Sadly, I had not enough time to do all that. It would take about an hour from my breakfast spot to the airport, and it would take another 1,5 hour to go back to the city, plus it would take another 1 hour from Suramadu Bridge to the center of Madura. After a lot of consideration, I settled on just crossing the bridge for the sake of experience, spent about 30 minutes there, and went back to the city.

The details of my short visit to Madura will be up in another post. As for now, let’s focus on this city that is known as “Kota Pahlawan” (the City of Heroes). So, it was almost 11am when I finished exploring a tiny part of Madura. I haven’t even showered, and I was still carrying my 60L carrier. Those yummy porks from Depot Bali were already gone untraceable. My tummy was once again empty. My eyes were pretty tired and needed to rest. My back was started to ache due to carrying the heavy backpack for hours.

The super kind Gojek driver, Mas Adit (I’ll share about him on the next post), suggested me to rent a cheap room at a homestay located in the downtown area so I could shower and have some rest. He even helped me search for the most strategic place that has best price on Google (yeap, on Google through his smartphone!) as I told him that my budget was only about 100k or even lower than that.

Long story short, I picked a homestay, thank God there was still one empty room left. After a much needed showers and power nap, I was all ready to be back on the road again. But first, I needed to have a lunch. A friend of mine recommended me to try the famous Kwetiau Medan Apeng at Jl. Kedungdoro No.267, which was only within a walking distance from my rented room.

I forgot what I ordered, but it tasted good!

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Kwetiaw Goreng Apeng Medan

Next up on the list was to visit House of Sampoerna, a museum, café & gift shop located at Taman Sampoerna No. 6. What’s so appealing about this place? You can take a bus tour around Surabaya’s most historical and touristy spots with a professional tour guide. The best part is, it’s free! All you have to do is register yourself at the front desk and wait for the next bus (ready every 2 hours if I’m not mistaken) to take you around. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to wait for the bus. So, although I had the bus ticket in my hands, I decided to skip it and chose to explore the city by foot.

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The Bus Ticket.

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Captured by the super helpful front desk receptionist.

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Lovin my handy wooden card holder from @_projectkristal

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The guys from my childhood. Anyone knows who they are?

I spent the next 15 minutes exploring the museum and taking some photos before I moved to Zangrandi. Some of my friends told me to pay it a visit. Well, it was all sunny that day, so I thought a cone of ice cream would be great. The place was quite empty when I arrived, even though it is located in one of Surabaya’s busy streets. Then I remember, oh yeah it was weekdays; most people were still at their office. I ordered a combination of avocado and chocolate ice cream, which I finished in just about two minutes (or maybe less, haha). I kinda regret visiting Zangrandi, because apparently we have it here in North Jakarta! Oh well…

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Oldschool.

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It’s gone in less than a minute after this photo was taken.

The excitement of exploring new place while at the same time candidly capturing random people or scenery that I stumbled upon was uncontainable. After paying my Zangrandi bills, I stepped onto the side of the road, letting the sun pinching my skin. It was hot and dry, but my feet urged me to keep on walking.

I love how clean the city is. I love how organized and structured the city is. There’s a bit of Singapore that I kept on finding in some places. I must admit, the city major is doing her job excellently. People are crossing the street using the zebra cross and pedestrian bridge. They even have CCTV on each pedestrian bridge, so that people would feel safe when crossing the bridge at night. There were no homeless people using the bridge as shelters. Everything was so organized. If only this could happen in Jakarta.

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Brotherhood.

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One more people to go.

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Very clean indeed.

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The real urban hustler.

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Just Chillin’

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Taken by a super kind security guard.

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It does feel like Singapore.

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Pedestrians are well protected in this city.

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Hard Worker.

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On Duty.

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Well-Maintained.

After about an hour of strolling around, a text from one of my good friends, Aveline Gunawan, popped out on my phone screen. Apparently she was in town and was enjoying the afternoon at a newly opened coffee shop in Surabaya, Caturra Espresso (Sorry, but this is also for next post.)

It was quite a well-spent afternoon, because I didn’t expect to encounter some familiar faces during this trip, let alone having a good laughs over good coffee. As a real Surabayan, Ave recommended me, one of Surabaya’s classic restaurants that have been her favorite since she was a kid, Ayam Goreng Pemuda. It was located at Jalan Tidar, No 21, only two minutes away from Caturra! She wanted to order an Uber, but I was like, “Are you kidding? Let’s just walk!”

Two minutes later, we were already at Ayam Goreng Pemuda enjoying plates of Ayam Goreng (traditional deep fried chicken cooked with local herbs and spices), Sayur Asam, and the bomb for me was the Cumi Goreng (fried squid) – the one inside the pink bowl on the right. Indonesian foods, so far, have never failed to amuse me. This restaurant was also the last place I visited in Surabaya. And, within only about 3 hours, I was already sitting in the airport waiting for my plane to come.

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Ayam Goreng Pemuda

If you ever encounter the same situation like mine, where you have to wait about 10 hours before you catch your next flight, here are some few things you can do:

  1. Ask for some recommendations on what’s good to check. People nowadays are so keen in sharing their information. I, myself, got plenty of replies via Instagram story and Facebook.
  2. Use your time wisely. Choose to visit several places that take fewer hours to reach, rather than one place that would take hours to reach.
  3. Don’t be afraid to talk to local people as they could be the best guide to show you around.
  4. Always check on Google maps how far you are to your next destination, this will help you to explore effectively (with minimal risk of getting lost, and waste too much time on the road).
  5. Throw your pride away when you find a good ootd spot, then ask a stranger to capture your photo.

 

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Taste to Dine at Cassis Kitchen!

People think that the life of a blogger is only filled with attending events and going for a fun trip, but we can assure you, it’s not just about that. Well, it’s partly true, but it’s not the whole truth. Anyway, a few weeks ago, while I had a solo trip to East Java, which was filled with mostly clouds and mist, DR had the privilege of a tasteful luncheon experience at Cassis Kitchen. Last week, we kinda switched place. While he had a fun vacation to (also) East Java (we’ll share it to you about both version of the trip soon), I had the privilege to enjoy Cassis Kitchen’s  new 2-course menu, which was launched at the end of February.

I’m not gonna talk a lot about the foods or the menu, I’m just gonna let the photos speak to you and encourage you to quickly reserve a table at Cassis Kitchen to taste it yourself!

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Table situation.

So the 2-course menu is filled with several selection of starters and main courses menu. The first on the list was, Parsnip Soup, which is more like a bowl of comfort, showered with garlic croutons and chives as toppings.

The second one on the starter was one my favorite! The crab toast that serves as a perfect choice to open your meal. Imagine having an abundant portion of juicy crab meats as a spread for your toast. This is exactly why you should experience the unordinary brunch/luncheon/dinner at Cassis Kitchen as they are always on the road of creating new menu. And by the way, this is only the second menu. More photos of delicious meals will tease you as you scroll down through this post.

Now, for the last choice of the starter menu was the Churrasco Style Wagyu. This one is also a must have. Where else can you have a plate of rare wagyu beef, cooked with ponzu (citrun-based sauce) and chimicchurri sauce, topped with fried shallots as an appetizer?

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Parsnip Soup

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Crab Toast

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Churrasco Style Wagyu

While the starter consists of three different choices, the main course consists of 9 different delicacies served in a satisfying portion. First up, which is also one of the meals that I’m gonna recommend to you, is the Seafood Risotto, a plate of seafood (scallop, prawn, and squid) party with risotto as their host, cooked together with mascarpone and basil oil.

Second and third one is the Spaghetti Carbonara and Beef Bolognese. As you can see in the pictures, both are covered in a rich portion of grated parmesan cheese. The carbonara is topped with green peas and poached egg, while the bolognese is served with penne, spicy beef ragout and herbs. These two would definitely satisfy your craving of Italian foods!

Now if you’re more of a big bite kind of foodie, you should really try their huge portion of Fish and Chips (beer battered dory) served with french fries and tartare sauce, and also the CK Cheese Burger, which is a double beef patties, placed within sesame brioche buns, and also served with french fries. It’s finger-lickin’ good!

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Seafood Risotto

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Spaghetti Carbonara

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Beef Bolognese

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Fish and Chips

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CK Cheese Burger

The next three are all for you seafood freaks. The first one is Patagonian Tootfish, placed artistically on top of cauliflower puree and showered with exotic mango salsa that brings a an ultimate freshness to the flavor. Another “must try” in Cassis Kitchen’s new menu is the Steamed Monkfish, which was made of pancetta, braised short ribs, parsnip puree and port jus. This one does not only give you a great taste, but it also gives you an eye-pleasing plating. You surely want to snap it for your Instagram.

If you’re a Lobster lover, then the Roasted Lobster Tail is what you should order next. It’s cooked perfectly with truffle chicken cream baby cos and completed with sweet potato veloutte, which doesn’t only perfected the flavor but also the whole look of the plating as the yellow color pop ups beautifully in the midst of all the other colors.

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Patagonian Toothfish

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Steamed Monkfish

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Roasted Lobster Tail

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Last but  not least on the main course list is the Curry Chicken Kiev, the name says it all I suppose. However, when the food came out, I secretly wondered about the curry sauce. Where is it? I didn’t see any. Apparently you have to slice open the Curry Chicken Kiev to find the curry sauce!

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Chicken Curry Kiev

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Hello there curry sauce!

Now to complete the 2-course menu, you can order their newly launched fashion-inspired cocktails, which came in a very creative packaging. They have the Elyx Kits, (the pink cocktail) served inside an acrylic music box, the Mademoiselle which comes in a headless mini mannequin, Fashion Victim, that literally comes in a small leather bag! And, the Concoctioner, served in conditioner bottle. Be careful not to apply it on your hair.

Ladies, if you are looking for a good time chillin with your friends, these drinks are not only a great companion but also a good Instagram material indeed!

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Elyx Kits

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Fashion Victim, modeled by @yossicostephanie.

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Mademoiselle.

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Concoctioner

Now I totally got what DR put as title in our former post about Cassis Kitchen. Plus, I came home with a real food comma. Stop imagining how the food tastes like in Cassis Kitchen, and start the experience soon this week! It’s definitely worth your time and penny.

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Thank you for having us @CassisKitchen!

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

A Lunch Date at Da Maria

Okay, it wasn’t really a date.

It was more of a late lunch catch up. She’s a long time high school buddy who has been too busy to meet me. Such an attitude, right? She probably thinks she’s better than me. Meh.

But I got to give her some credits for picking the place. I’ve never heard of Da Maria until she told me about it. It turns out to be one of the most picturesque restaurants in Bali! I can simply summarise it  as the bougie version of Motel Mexicola. No kidding.

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Interior.

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Exterior.

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Lunch date.

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Still taking photos alone.

Take a visit to Petitenget and you will find hundreds of cafes and restaurants along the street. But trust me, you will find nothing like Da Maria. After roaming around the restaurant for more photo opp, I found that Da Maria has a taste of its own. What I liked most about the place was its interior and exterior designs. From the chairs to the walls, everything was consistently coloured in blue, white or yellow. I realized that interior design should be quite a big thing in Bali.

I spent a lot of time roaming around the restaurant, especially its outdoor area. With the sun setting, we quickly took as much photos as we can in Da Maria.

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Needless to say, that this restaurant should be a perfect place for a fine dining experience. At night, the colours turn melodramatic and the lights are dimmed to create such a romantic ambiance. During the daylight, the place is somehow more playful for friends and family.

Once the sun sets, my friend and I noticed a couple of lovers walking in the restaurant. We thought that it was the right time to go. So after a glass of iced coffee and orange juice, we left Da Maria for the lovers.

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Da Maria opens everyday from 12.00 to 02.00 in the morning. For a photo opp, come early. For a romantic date night, come late. Whatever you prefer, prepare Rp 200k for a dining experience for each person since the coffee itself was more expensive than Starbucks. However, one day, I will definitely comeback with someone special for a romantic dinner. I guess it’s safe to say that it will be quite an experience!

Keep exploring.

DR. (@demasryan)

 

 

Say Hello to Onokabe, A One-Stop-Dining-Junction!

Finally our so called crazily hectic October meets its end today. We decided to really enjoy the weekend by having a fun party with our friends and also saying yes to the invitation that came to our desk from Boga Group.

This particular food and beverages group will be opening their new restaurant this week, Onokabe, an all you can eat suki & grill. After indulging us with their famous brands such as Bakerzin, Pepper Lunch, Kintan Buffet and Shaburi, they offer us a new option to satisfy our cravings for suki & grill!

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Welcome to Onokabe!

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Obviously, it would be quite a loss for us to say no to their invitation.

Located in Alam Sutera Town Center, BSD, Onokabe restaurants promises a one-stop -dining-junction that offers a yummy culinary experience through more than 100 menu variants. I kid you not, they literally have like everything on the menu!

You could find variety of delicious meats (chicken, beef, fish, squids and prawn) ready to be grilled with plenty of sauce options, plates of seafood, noodles, dumpling and vegetables circling around on a conveyor belt ready to be dipped into the hot pot, any kind of traditional to international desserts, cakes, ice cream, and even pop corn!

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Oh hello, you beautiful thing!

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What’s even more interesting about Onokabe is that they excellently come up with a well-thought plan to make their customers feel comfortable while queuing. Onokabe has an entertainment area on its 2nd floor, completed with reflexology corner, foos ball, kids playground, and perfected with wifi and complimentary snacks!

Price wise, you can enjoy all of the above with a very reasonable price starting from IDR 85,000.

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So there we were, sitting on our table, busy grilling and dipping meats. We certainly don’t mind to have more of this chillaxing and tummy-indulging Sunday!

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Cirebon: Culinary Experience at its Best!

 After 8 hours (yeap, 8 hours, that’s like traveling to Sydney by plane) on the road, thanks to the bad traffic, we finally arrived in Cirebon. I still remember that everyone was starting to get cranky. Who wouldn’t? We were on a mission of escaping Jakarta with its unbearable traffic only to find ourselves stuck in a worse traffic. Like, seriously? The only food we had during that long 8 hours were Pringles and Lays.

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So, as soon as we exited the new highway that connects Jakarta and Cirebon, Lukas, our friend, who knows Cirebon inside out and who kindly offered himself to drive us around in Cirebon, took us to try Nasi Lengko.

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Lukas had warned us that we might not gonna like Nasi Lengko. According to him, plenty of “Jakartans” don’t find this particular food as delicious and tasty as the other signature cuisines in Cirebon. So it’s really okay if we didn’t want to give it a try, considering that we were really hungry at that time it might be wise for us to just feed ourselves with something that is more guaranteed.

We convinced Lukas that we wanted to give it a try (and I made a promise to myself that if Nasi Lengko couldn’t satisfy my tastebuds I shall just deal with it). On the bright side, DR & I are not really that demanding when it comes to foods. Give us anything (well, not literally), we’ll eat it right away.

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Nasi Lengko is basically rice served with tempeh (Indonesian soybean cake), tofu, bean sprouts,  sliced cucumber with peanut sauce and soy sauce. We also ordered a portion of Sate Kambing (goat satay), just in case the Nasi Lengko didn’t impress us. Well, my first impression of Nasi Lengko was, not bad. But, I had to agree with plenty of other Jakartans who didn’t find this food impressive. It didn’t taste bad at all, it just tasted rather plain. I might not have a sudden crave towards Nasi Lengko. The Sate Kambing did more work in satisfying my tummy.

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After finishing my portion I went out to get more photos. I was tempted to order a cup of durian ice cream as a dessert. But, remembering that I just had Sate Kambing, having a durian intake might not be the wisest thing to do haha. Cholesterol alert, people!

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Later on that day, after having a nice shower at the hotel and a short nap. Lukas took us to Cirebon’s second-most famous cuisine after Empal Gentong, Nasi Jamblang (steamed rice wrapped in Java plum leave). You would find plenty of food trucks and even small restaurants selling Nasi Jamblang in almost every spot of the city. I have tried Nasi Jamblang before in my former visitation to Cirebon two years ago and this one tasted way better.

If you happen to visit Cirebon, you should really try Nasi Jamblang at Jl. Perujakan. It’s a  decent place on the side of the road, consisting of one big table where they put all the side dishes in bowls that you can handpick to accompany your nasi jamblang, plus three wooden benches.

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Some of the dishes that we would recommend for you to try are:
1. Cumi Hitam (black squid)
2. Perkedel Kentang (potato fritters) – this is really da bomb! 1 wouldn’t be enough for you, as we got ourselves 10 of it!

3. Paru (beef lung)

We fell in love deeply with it at the first bite, we quickly decided to go back tomorrow night before heading back to Jakarta. I actually still wanted to have the second round, but I gotta save my tummy because the culinary exploration didn’t stop there.

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Roti Bakar (toast) Gaternia was next! It is famous for its ice choco milk, toast and also grilled banana with several toppings like cheese, choco sprinkles, condensed milk, peanut butter, eggs, canned corned beef, etc. Every menu they had screamed, “Fat! Fat! Fat!” loudly to my ear. I immediately put a reminder on my iPhone to not skip exercise once I’m back in Jakarta and burn all these calories intake.

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I ordered the grilled banana with condensed milk, cheese and peanuts on top. While DR went for something salty. He ordered the toast with eggs, cheese and corned beef. To accompany our “sinful” night we ordered ice choco milk. On the other side of the world drinking milk and eating toast is considered as breakfast. But here in Indonesia, we love to enjoy it at night. As desserts. Sometimes, even after having a big dinner.

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The moment I hopped into the car,  I began to feel slightly bloated. All I could think of was closing my eyes and sleep. But, we still have one more food to try, Martabak (stuffed pancake). We ordered the thin and crunchy one, with chocolate filling. There were other filling such as cheese, nutella, ovomaltine and peanut butter. In Jakarta, you can also find martabak with red velvet and green tea filling. Yeap, Indonesians are that creative when it comes to food. Anyway, the martabak here in Cirebon is very cheap (IDR 25,000 per box) compared to the ones in Jakarta that would cost around IDR 100,000 per box. We decided to have this tomorrow as a take away to accompany our drive back to Jakarta.

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Day 2 started a bit late. We enjoyed the long weekend too much we stayed in bed until Lukas called us and told us to get ready. No breakfast for us, as we headed right away for brunch. When you read that word “brunch” don’t imagine us having a fancy western country kind of brunch. We went to the ultimate signature cuisine of Cirebon, Empal Gentong. It is a spicy curry-like beef soup cooked in a clay pot (gentong). The soup consists of beef meat, intestine, tripes, lungs, etc and made out of coconut milk. Best served with rice and chilli powder. Oh, and we also had (Kerupuk Kulit) spicy cattle skin crackers to accompany our brunch.

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We had one of the best tonguegasm experience the moment we sipped the soup, chewed the soft and juicy beef meat, and dipped the tasty skin crackers into the soup.

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Next destination was, Mitang. The place was located in the local habitation in Cirebon. We had to park our car and walked across a small bridge that led us to a narrow street with colorful houses standing side by side. Mitang is a deep fried sliced potato powdered with several flavors like cheese, barbecue sauce, seaweed, corn flour (this is the best flavor, no kidding), etc. They sell them in little plastic bags for IDR 10,000 each.

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As a number one fan of french fries, it didn’t take me too long to decide that I want more of this tasty and crunchy mitang. I realized that IDR 10,000 is not enough for my greedy tummy. I was very happy when Lukas told me that we can actually order mitang in a bigger portion and bring it back to Jakarta. DR & I quickly placed our order, each of us bought ourselves IDR 50,000 of mitang (that is 5 times the normal size). I grinned happily as I left the place.

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Few hours later, after some exploration around the city, Lukas took us to try Mie Koclok (shook noodle). It’s actually a chicken noodle, but the soup is made out of chicken broth, coconut milk and tapioca. This made the white-colored and extra-thick soup looks similar to a porridge. The noodle had chicken breast, bean sprouts, hard boiled egg and fried shallot. Mie Koclok is definitely a must have and a come back material.

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Before leaving Cirebon we went back to Nasi Jamblang and satisfied our tummy knowing that we would not be able to taste it again in quite a long run. It felt as if I was saying goodbye to someone I deeply fell in love with. After Nasi Jamblang, we had the Martabak for take away, and we also went back to Mitang to take our orders.

Cirebon, you’ve been spoiling my tongue and tummy in such a way that no Michellin-starred restaurant could ever substitute. I would definitely keep you as one of the easiest culinary getaway whenever I have the opportunity to revisit you.

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)