..It's a journey after all.. : Food and Travel Blog based in Jakarta: April 2013

Sunday, 28 April 2013

12 cupcakes from Twelve Cupcakes

First thing first, I may offend some of you for what I am about to state, and what I am about to state is  none other than the fact how some Indonesians are easily influenced with, what so called, the booming trend (in almost every aspect). 'Food fever', what I like to call it, is one of the examples how some of us may turn ourselves into this bias-judge-it-from-the-cover consumers. Take rainbow and red velvet cake for instance. Some of the people hasn't really moved on from that trend and up to this day, some are still crazy about it.

BIAS.. When the cake itself is basically an ordinary cake but with a lot more

of coloring. Due to the crazy off the charts demand, it is simply overrated.. and over priced. Get my point? Maybe, you are one of those people who are still crazy for red velvet and rainbow cakes, hey, I'm not saying that you can't. I'm just saying this to enlighten you with a little bit of a sensible perspective.

Okay enough of that..

Now, it is the part where you might throw some sentimental-senjata-makan-tuan comments. A while ago, I have been given the chance to try out what supposed to be the number one cupcake from Singapore. Twelve Cupcakes, bringing you with the best quality of cupcakes. Freshly made everyday, they guarantee you with a moist fluffy little sweet treats.

Starting from the left : Rainbow Vanilla, Strawberry Chocolate, Vanilla Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, Chocolate Vanilla, Peanut Butter Jelly, Mocha
My instant reflect was to try their Vanilla Chocolate and Peanut Butter Jelly. 
They do keep their promise for a fresh moist and fluffy cupcake. It is so moist that it can make crumbles from each bite. The icing itself fulfills the expectation for what it is named after and for the flavors that you'll expect from hearing that name. The icing for Peanut Butter Jelly, for example, has a really nutty scent and sweet sour blueberry jam in the middle, perfect combo to be put on the moist vanilla cupcake. Both cute and practical, not forgetting yummy.

Starting from the top left to its right, then the next row : Lychee, Chocolate Salt Caramel, Strawberry Chocolate, PB Chocolate, Strawberry Vanilla, Red Velvet, PB Jelly, Rainbow Vanilla, Chocolate Chocolate, Mocha, Chocolate Vanilla, Vanilla Chocolate
12 cupcakes from Twelve Cupcakes

Pardon the photos taken at my home, it was night time and since I have worked, all of my bright sun shiny days are spent at the office. 

Anyway, I have tried a bite out of all the cupcakes. Even my Mother, who is an expert at pointing out flaws out of anything, said it was good. My siblings ate it in no time. The verdict : they really give you for what they promised you. One cupcake will cost you Rp.20k. They also take special custom orders for private events. From what they have to offer, everything sounds great.

Going back to the first real deal, cupcakes has once been a 'food trend' in Indonesia, and they have submerged to a downfall cause I think people started to think, for that kind of price, it just doesn't address enough satisfaction for the belly. For 20k, we can get a simple lunch set worth of meal. Therefore, the cupcake eating trend has ended. 

Since it was originally established in 2011, maybe Twelve Cupcakes has gotten on the train a bit late, but with their strategy for custom made orders, I think they still can survive. The cupcake eating trend might have died, but people still order custom ones as substitutes for birthday cakes (and many other events). 

By the way, even after days of staying in the fridge, I still can feel the moist texture from the cake, aside from the fact that of course, it has turned a bit firm. Well, money talks, doesn't it? Now you know why such a little sweet (also cute) treat may cost you a price of a simple lunch meal. 

Twelve Cupcakes
Central Park LG #156
Website : http://twelvecupcakes.com
Twitter : @12cupcakesID
Facebook : TwelveCupcakesIndonesia

Sunday, 21 April 2013

PUBLICO : full of 1920's classics

With that classic 1920 underground mafia setting, Publico has definitely completed my expectations for what it might feel like to be in a mafia movie setting. The whole level is basically divided into two parts, one is the brighter side with enough sunlight coming naturally from above, and the other one is the dimmer side which is filled with leather sofas. The only missing thing was men with long coats, fedora hats, and vintage guns. It really made me feel that this is the place to be for a conspiratorial meeting.

The brick walls and the black shelves, chairs, tables are perfect! It really brought up that sense of vintage elegance. To sum up, the place is what I would call a 'vin-chic' (not trying to be emo with the whole black theme, but I have always loved the color black)

The bar was gorgeous and it is presented like it's the center piece of the whole place. You might not be able to see this, but there are classic green table lamps on the bar. I feel like stealing one home.. hihihi.. Pardon moi on the interior photo, as you can see, it was quite packed and I didn't feel like making the other customers and myself uncomfortable with me roaming around the whole place snapping pictures.

We didn't order much that day because we were still going some place else for dessert. The thing is, I forgot to take the receipt with me, thus, I lost track to some of the names and prices. Sorry -____-?

Besides from serving western food with charcoal-grilled oven, which they have pride upon, some of the food has strong Asian influence.. It's kind of a set back to the whole theme of the place because the food might sound like they're taking the easy way out.
Orange Latte. I would call this a "cute" drink. It has a pungent citrus smell and taste mixed with that velvety thick latte..
Stuffed chicken wings (45k)--> not sure, once again SORRY! This was one of the dishes with the most Asian influence that we ordered that day.  The waiter said that this is the most favorite appetizer. However, it was kind of a let down because there was nothing special actually. The sauce was basically oyster sauce-like with sprinkles of sesame seeds.
This, I completely forgot. What I only remembered, it was written to be spicy in the menu. It turned out to be not spicy  (and I am one of those people who can't stand spicy food). The mayo was way very heavy that it has overtaken the whole flavor. The salad itself was very much coated with mayo. Trying to cut back some calories won't be reaching any success with this dish. The chicken itself was good though.
Creamy smoked scallop pasta (80k). I am really not trying to make it sound bad, but this pasta was really creamy! The scallop texture was almost similar to crabstick's texture. 
I didn't know whether they are trying to adapt their dishes to typical Indonesian taste buds so they can be easily accepted by most people, or maybe I just ordered the wrong things, but the whole experience was ended with a disappointment to the meals, after an overlapped expectations due to the  harlequin exciting rush of being in such a wonderful "vin-chic" mafia setting. The food wasn't that bad, but they just seemed not to compete with the beautiful interiors and the prices given.

However, I love the place so much that I think I will come back to taste more, especially the food using their charcoal-grilled oven (Now I'm being one of those mainstreams who go to places for only the place itself).

Senopati Raya No.65
Kebayoran baru, Jakarta, Indonesia
Phone : 021-52964960
Facebook : PUBLICO

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Outback Steakhouse : Meat Savages!

Alert to all the meat lovers, the protein diet folks, or maybe just the ordinary omnivores, this post might drive you into a zombie drooling mode. Last Saturday, I was (over) indulged with quite an amount of what I would call a 'meaty om nom nom'. Yes, Outback Steakhouse is definitely the place to visit when one is in deep cravings for meat!

I remember the first time ordering myself a steak when I was 7 years old. I didn't know a thing about steak and randomly ordered for a medium one. My mother can never handle to see the red bloody juice oozing out of the meat and she called me a savage for eating them (with no hesitation of course). From that moment on, well, let's just say, I would never order a well done steak.

The thing about finding the right steakhouse is the problem of whether they can cook the meat up to your expectation (aside from the quality of the meat itself). I found many have failed to brought up their bar to my satisfaction. Now, the thing about a good steak is that they need no sauce to make it perfect. The aroma from the meat should be able to captivate all of your senses, from your smelling to tasting senses. The natural juices should be enough to moisten up the whole meal.

Enough with the steak talking, now is the time for some drooling..

The place has a laid back ambiance with wooden interior. I say it looks like a rather old fashioned diner with a Down Under feeling. It fits for a family day out..
The drinks
Virgin Mojito and Peach Mojito (33k). Nothing can go wrong with sweet minty soda. 
Left to right (33k) - Mango Spritzer, Orange Squash, Cherry Limeade. They were all very refreshing. Almost all of the nonalcoholic drinks contain soda. 
The appetizers

Kookaburra Wings (79k). It was beautifully seasoned. It has a crunchy outer layer. Perfect perfect perfect...
Crispy Fried Mushroom (69k). I am a huge fan of all types of mushroom. The fried ones are the best.. Again, it was a satisfying appetizer. Definitely will build up your appetite before the main course. 
While waiting for our orders, we were given the permission to go inside the kitchen.. I happened to snap a few pictures of the meat in process.. 

The kitchen
The smell was amazing. Seeing this amazing view was just WOW.. more drooling to come
Look at that thick meat.. I couldn't wait no more..
Aussie Cheese Fries in the making.. Generous portions of cheese.. Melted to perfection..
The Main Stars..
Baby Back Ribs (full 14 oz. 340k, half 7 oz. 180k). The outer layer of the baby back was too smoky. However, the inside has perfectly sealed the aroma and it was really tender. The scent was intoxicating. It was generously coated with a sweet BBQ sauce..
Alice Springs Chicken (126k). Grilled chicken breast topped with sauteed mushrooms and bacon with melted Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese. Also very yummy, but I found it too cheesy.. 
New York Strip (250k). It was perfectly seasoned with their secret 17 seasoning blend. However, it came out a bit well done and has turned a bit chewy. 
The most favorite star of the show.Toowoomba Topped Fillet (330k). A thick fillet topped with tomato cream sauce with sauteed button mushrooms and shrimps. I was given a cut and oh my dear God, it literally melted in my mouth. All of the ingredients combined in a whole new kind of perfection. The meat aroma was strong enough to compete with the sauce. They managed to grill this baby to just the right amount of medium. I love this one the most.. 
Victoria's Fillet (300k). It is no Victoria's secret though.. I didn't have the chance to try this one. But from the juices oozing out, it drools me enough..
Prime rib (8 oz. 230k, 10 oz. 260k). The smokey aroma was perfectly sealed inside this baby. The 'fall off the bone' meat was very tender indeed.. I actually like the prime rib better than the baby back..
The desserts
Chocolate Thunder from Down Under (69k). A chocolate brownie cake topped with vanilla ice cream and yet another chocolate sunday sauce, with a scoop of whipped cream. For all the sweet tooth out there, this is it!
Banana Nut Cake (55k). Moist banana cake with just the right hint of everything. Again, topped with vanilla ice cream and a scoop of whipped cream. Oh also, a bit of caramel and chocolate sauce, simply because enough is not enough. lol.. I like this one better than the chocolate thunder (which I think is very sweet). 
Let me just zoom that in for you..
It was one of those days when I left the place with a happy satisfied smile and a bulged out tummy. From all of the meat business inside, I was one happy customer. Outback Steakhouse has really got it. The seasonings are bold, the quality is top notch, and the choice varies. It has definitely bring up the bar to complete people's expectations.. 

Outback Steakhouse (Kuningan City)
Mall Kuningan City, G FI Unit 28
Jl.Prof.Dr.Satrio Kav.8, Kuningan
Jakarta Selatan
Twitter : @OutbackIN
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/OutbackSteakhouseIN
Website : http://www.outbacksea.com/id

Monday, 8 April 2013

Mutiara Chinese Food : Chandra Building, Glodok

Reminiscing old sweet memories can sometimes draw a smile or two. Looking back at those younger days when everything was carefree and uncomplicated. This definitely is exceptional to no one. She has been visiting to Jakarta's own China town since she was still in Junior high. Now, she was a mother of four, passing on the Chinese traditions and family customs. My mother, ladies and gentlemen.

Being her daughter and an Indonesian Chinese descendant, it is inevitable not to get yourself entangled with Chinese matters. From the most favorable tradition of dispersing Hong Bao in Chinese New Year (I can vouch for everyone who are still getting their hong bao) to simple 'eating bak cang day' or 'onde day' or mooncake day', every tradition has its own symbolic meaning. 

I can't say I don't love Glodok. I have been going there since I was a kid and yet, I still find myself amazed by the things that you can buy there. The traditional market sells all kinds of street food from Indonesian to Chinese delicacies. Through those alleys between tenants and private houses, you can find yourself with many things, perhaps an acek selling weird stone rings, a moon cake factory or a real China citizen selling so far the best bapia I have ever had. For my Mom, it is her candy land. For me, it is a historical cite where the oldies assume everyone with small eyes can speak mandarin and also, a historical cite where I can shop for tasty snacks and food (and that is just why I simply love our China town)

When moving inside to the indoor arena, you will find yourself in a more modernized China Town and in the food court, there is one Mutiara (pearl) that I treasure since I was a kid. It is a simple unfancy food court with numerous tenants, but I have always favored Mutiara. Everytime we go there, we always order the same thing and never get bored of it.

The owner of Mutiara is also the owner of Red Bean (a chain restaurant), notice the similarity of this menu to red bean's.
Kangkung Hot Plate (50k). It was super steamy and it was difficult for me to snap a good picture.
You can choose between seafood, chicken, or beef. Look at that quail eggs inside.. Om nom nom!
We have always chosen the beef. Yummy salty brown sauce with little bits of dried prawns, garlic and chili. Perfect!
Second dish : Their specialty and their most famous dish..  Gurame Fish Soup (75k). It was boiling like crazy..
The difference between this fish soup with the other fish soup is the taro..
 Tofu Seafood Hotplate (60k). Yummy yummy yummy.. They coated everything with batter and deep fried it before mixing it with that gorgeous boiling brown sauce..
The ingredients continue to cook by themselves due to the hot plate and as you can see from this picture, the sauce has thickened and intensified the flavors.
thick yummy sauce..
Those three dishes above are compulsory if you are eating there.. Now moving on to other dishes..

Black Pepper beef (55k). I didn't get the chance to try because it was quite little.. 
Chicken Kuluyuk (sweet and sour sauce) for 55k. Not my favorite, it was just mundane. 
Fired Lomie (thick noodles) for 38k. Their portion was quite generous. You can request the taste according to your preference. We ordered the chef to cook it slightly saltier instead of sweet..
Numerous times coming here but still I crave for their heart warming fish soup, still I crave for their unique tofu hot plate (which I can't find anywhere else) and of course their steamy Kangkung hotplate. Beware though! Their consistency is sometimes unmanageable. I ate there twice in the last couple of weeks and found the taste of their fish soup has changed between the two. The latter visit was accompanied by overcrowded and slightly angry customers, demanding for their food to be brought to their table on an instant. Alas, the soup was not as creamy and fragrant as the previous one which was PERFECT (the best fish soup hands down!).You might want to consider your timing the next time you pay a visit.

While eating, I was conversing with my Mom about how this place used to be the 'it' place for youngsters. Oh how the time has changed, but again, we keep one or two things to ourselves to this very day, like keeping the family customs and following the Oriental traditions. Going here for a family meal is definitely one.

P.S : Oh please order and enjoy their oyster omelette (ocien). It is also a must order! 

Taman Makan Minum Stand 5
Chandra Building, lt. dasar
Jl. Pancoran no 33-35, Jakarta
Phone : 6391033

It's my Ma's birthday.. This post is a tribute for her.. Long live Bu Komandan~ ;)

Friday, 5 April 2013

the LAB ScienTEAs : Learning the Boba chemistry!

It is nothing new if I tell you that there is another bubble tea tenant in Pantai Indah Kapuk. From all the bubble tea tenants lining through out the whole PIK area, the LAB has been one of the tenants that emerged with a one-of-a-kind concept and literally sticks to it. From the interior to the uniform of the staffs, you can easily find yourself in a scientific industrial atmosphere where your bubble tea is formulated by a "ScienTEAs" (not a scientist though).

Enter the 1st Floor...

Bubble Tea menu

The lab coats worn by the staffs. The blue surgeon uniform underneath the coat is only worn by the "scienTEAs" who are responsible in formulating the drinks inside their little mixing lab.

As you can see from the pictures above, they really pay attention to the little details. They are able to design the whole area with real scientific appliances and managed to remain attractive (pardon my prejudice to the subject of chemistry or science, it's personal).

Enter the 2nd Floor...

Cute and smart on how they designed a cup holder for each chair.. 
Loyal customers..
A slight warning on the hazardous chemicals
Those are real test tubes on the ceiling..

The second floor is definitely brighter compared to the first floor. Unlike the industrial feel you'll get from down below, this level has more an urban touch to it.. In a way, it's almost cute, but they still managed to attach one or two of a few things to remain true to their concept..

Enter the drinks.. and later the food..

wild berry tea as a welcome drink on a real pyrex test tube.. Nothing alcoholic (relating to the appearance of this drink)
They have various flavors for their poppings. This one was mango flavored. Not too sweet which  I think is perfect.
Trying out their strawberry boba with a lychee yogurt tea.. Even their cups are different from the other normal ones. Trying to imitate a big test tube. You  might not be able to see this, but they have embedded measurements and their brand on each cup.
On the drinks  (20k - 30k) : I usually go with the aloe vera on normal occasions..
My first cup was pomegranate yogurt tea with small boba. I forget to ask for less sugar, so it came out to a what I think of an over sweet drink. I also didn't like the smell of artificial syrup on this drink. The small boba was perfect though.. 

My second cup was the lychee yogurt with strawberry boba. Well, this one I like. It's a perfect balance between the sour and the sweet. They claimed to be the only bubble tea tenant that has flavorings on their boba. From strawberry to pandan flavors, they give you a variety of choices for alternative preference. I also noticed that their popping has a wider selection of flavors compared to other bubble tea stores. 

The hazelnut milk tea was also satisfying. The milk is strong enough to compete with the hint of hazelnut. I like it.. I like it all..! And now I am left perplexed in choosing which one is my favorite.

I have tried their marshmallow milk on previous visit. I love love love it. It was fragrant enough and perfect for a before-to-sleep drink. I just wish they offer the warm version.

FYI, they also serve alcoholic bubble drinks.. 

Mani Moggo (120k). A sharing plate of japchae, kani salad, butter bap, soondogu kimchi jigae, paseutta jjajang, and tang soo yook. This portion was only for the purpose of the food tasting event.

Fried enoki
Soondogu Kimchi Jigae
Japchae in a beaker.. 
On the food :
Following the notable trends of K-pop, the LAB has decided to go Korean fusion for their food. On this event, I was given the chance to try out their Mani Moggo set.

The verdict : Even though it's a bit out of place from their concept, they were able to serve decent Korean food. I love how fragrant the japchae was. The chicken itself has thick fried batter with a dry coating of a red sour sauce. The sauce is definitely different from the other Korean chicken I have tasted.
To sum it all up, the set itself offers you with sweet savory flavors brought by the different dishes. It also has different textures from each distinctive items. I really enjoyed the Korean platter.

I have to give credit for the concept of the LAB and their selections of toppings. So far, I found them to be the one who offers you with wider selections of different toppings. I think they got what it takes to compete with the other dozen of bubble tea tenants on PIK. I wish the LAB an abundance of success and great luck on the future. Keep up your "scienTEAfic" work!

the LAB
Ruko Crown Golf, Blok D, no. 29
Pantai Indah Kapuk, Jakarta
twitter : theLAB_ID
instagram : thelab_id