Sunday, September 24, 2017

Paradigma Kafe, A Brand New Ambiance at the Heart of the Town

If you spotted this mainly yellow space at Central Jakarta area, being so packed of people and vehicles in it parking space, then you started to think if tons of people suddenly started to join this long-standing political party that’s been always associated with yellow color, then you got it wrong. No guys, it’s not that they’re all coming there for signing-up to be part of the organization, neither do they support any particular campaign. If you began wondering what’s in there then, you needn’t worry as I would tell you what's going-on in the space I'd just been to this weekend.

Named as Paradigma, the Indonesian term for paradigm, you would firstly meet an open window when entering the venue, a perfect way to reflect the word paradigm as it somehow worked well to be the analogy of an open mind. Occupying the space of Golkar’s office, this joint space was such a gigantic one with stunning view and ambiance. It offered totally different concept from what’s mostly carried out by recently opened coffee shops, featuring so spacious open-air spot with artificial grass where the guests could simply sit on or even lay down, enjoying the view of clear blue sky and green hanging plants covering the building. This was surely healthy food for the eyes, which nowadays could be quite a treasure! Some of you look like getting excited and even more curious to visit the place yourself, don’t you? The puzzle of why the spot’s so crowded seemed to be revealed now ;)

Some of the tenants were not ready yet, but some have been fully operating, including the cafe which offered foods and beverages to accompany people enjoying the circumstances. There were also florists, housewares store, stationary shops, and many more. 

Despite the heat, people are still busy taking pictures in many corners, and a lot do prefer sitting at the outdoor area, which was actually made for the smokers. Perhaps as fresh air got more scarce in this beloved capital city, the desire to have it beat everything now. 

Nonetheless, for me the indoor space wasn’t less competitive with various types of seats, ranging from communal table, petite one for pairs, till floor seating with cushions. Yeah, I guess they wanted to deliver that so-called casual and enjoyable theme, feeling as if you’re home. 

All the dishes offered there were merely Indonesians; the traditional ones which were signature dishes of several cities. It’s such a great consistency since this area was indeed very historical, reminding us of the era back then when we were still not on our own independence. Furthermore, it’s an awesome chance to introduce our culinary to the world. 

Ice Chocolate (IDR 40k)

Sitting in the middle of the area where I could ‘enjoy my natural tanning’, I felt extremely thirsty that my eyes immediately scanned through the menu, trying to find something refreshing. Besides, I did gaze around and somehow I captured that almost all tables ordered their Ice Chocolate. Without further thoughts, I opted to have it on my order list with less ice. It came in a huge glass, very fulfilling portion and might be the reason of why this drink was pretty pricey. A tiny jug of liquid sugar was given for you to adjust the sweetness based on your preference. I did need to add as bluntly said it was bland. For the chocolate itself, my chocolate-addict palate demanded something thicker with stronger dark choco flavor. 

Magic (IDR 35k)

I might say that one of Indonesia’s signature commodity export was coffee, particularly the beans. Thus, I had no wonder this place did serve various types of coffee-based beverages, both in hot and cold version, for the guests to enjoy. My choice was the Hot Magic, Cappuccino with double shot of espresso to give that ‘wake-up slap on the face’. A hint of acidity in it did leave that tangy after-taste, yet overall it was an aromatic cup of coffee with strong body. 

Colenak (IDR 34k)

Not a big fan of rice and indeed not desiring to go for something heavy, this was the dish finally landed on my dining table, the signature snack of the city of flowers - Bandung. I have been a long-standing fan of the base element of the dish, the fermented cassava, which I had always failed to resist regardless the way it’s served. Enjoying it ‘naked’ had been a big pleasure for me, let alone when it’s served in this fancy presentation, accompanied by extra happiness on its surroundings just like this Colenak. 

Perhaps you thought it didn’t seem like the real one, since it’s indeed the fusion version with modern concept. The base was of course still the grilled fermented cassava overflown by the sweet liquid coconut sugar and topped with the shredded coconut. But as the additional touch, Paradigma Kafe’s version added vanilla ice cream and cookie crumbles, giving extra heavenly sensation to pamper the tummy. I fell on this dish at the very first trial as it flawlessly added that contemporary twist into the traditional dish, yet still strongly maintained the original characteristic. 

Being such a spoiling place, Paradigma Kafe would definitely attract the crowd to come and stay. Besides the quite high price, I could visualize people still come as repetitive visitors, especially to ‘buy the ambiance’ that might be quite a treasure in the midst of the metropolitan city.

Taste: 7/10
Place: 7.5/10
Service: 7/10
Price: 7/10

Thanks for reading! :)

Address: Jl. Pegangsaan Barat No. 4, Cikini, Jakarta
Phone: (+62 21) 2992 4491
Operating Hours: Mon - Sun 11am - 10pm

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Reuni Coffee and Eatery, Get Re-united while Spoiling the Palate

What a concept carried out here; an amusing idea which might not come up in others' mind, but creatively invented and realized by the owner of Reuni Coffee & Eatery. Yes, they literally wanted to make the place a space for meeting-up, gathering with your 'long-lost ones', a stop for the long-awaited REUNION. 

Spotting the classic and elegant white theme featured by the venue's first floor, Lady M outlet in Singapore suddenly came across my mind. They somehow had similar characteristic with that bright clean walls and furniture. Reunion nonetheless made its own uniqueness by having the artificial grasses and plants at some corners, making the overall design looking more gorgeous and somehow 'girly yet lovely' in my own impression. My most favorite spot was the front space, the area guests would firstly meet when entering the venue. It's indoor and full air-conditioned, yet delivering the ambiance of open-air space with the surrounding glass windows. 

While I was busy taking pictures of the key corners, I was offered a 'tour' to the second floor by both the friendly owner and the waiter. I really appreciated their high excitement in showing what they offered as well as trying to entertain the customers. Responding with positive feedback, I went upstairs, getting myself exposed to the 'different tone' of the cafe. This time it's more to dark color, featuring brown and black. Great mixture of theme there as they could offer two distinctive concepts in their single venue. Here there's the real outdoor spot occupying the balcony area. 

When they mentioned reunion, they did take it seriously, not only offering the place but also trying to facilitate those who did utilize the space for this particular purpose. They provided photogenic spots for crafting memories in pictures - walls with beautiful decoration as well as paintings. Furthermore, they even provided photo props which were all bringing the main theme of reunion. What a great consistency!

Looking at the selections of dishes offered, it was more like a bistro with various types of menu from the light to heavy ones, local to international coming from various countries including Asian and Western. As they didn't specialize in any particular cuisines, I did put my finger crossed in the beginning, hoping the taste would all turn-out satisfying. Being a new place, I still had quite limited recommendations on which dishes to try so I just picked my orders following my random guesstimate upon reading each menu's descriptions. 

Hot Piccolo (IDR 32k)
Waking up quite early in the morning to have my routine Sunday cardio. I felt extremely sleepy at that critical hours, the moment I was waiting for lunch time. Getting rid of the sleepiness, well probably honestly just making excuses for having this morning favorite cup of mine, I ordered the Hot Piccolo as my friend who reached there earlier and had had their cap mentioned that it's too milky. Trusting his coffee sense, this tinier cup landed on my table. Having a sip of it, in my perception it's slightly too sour leaving not-that-smooth after taste. I guessed it's the bean itself, which wasn't that bold yet having bitter flavor. 

As the waiter overheard our convo about the coffee and right away told the barista, he then came and offered us another cup of cappuccino with double ristretto. It's true that the coffee wasn't milky anymore and having stronger kick of coffee scent and flavor in it, yet my palate still demanded cleaner after taste from this cup of addiction. 

Mango Green (IDR 32k)

Coming with first-class hospitality, they offered us another signature drink from the house as the complimentary one, and actually it's a smart alternative as the offer wasn't coffee anymore but tea instead. Served by Seventea and named as Mango Green, this cute transparent hot cup presented the blend of green tea, with mango and pineapple. It's not that you got fruit chunks in the cup, but you would get the flavor of the fruits infused in the tea, together with the mallow petals. A decent one to warm up yourself while having light talks. 

3 Cheese Parmigiana (IDR 65k)
Initially wanted to go for the grilled cheese, I unfortunately had to replace my order with this Parmigiana as the desired one was sold out. Yes this was offered as the alternative perhaps because they both came from the same group on the menu, the dishes for sharing. Landed on the table, I clearly understood why it's to be had by groups looking at the huge portion. My pick was surely the poultry version though it's also available in veggie version, serving eggplant as the substitute to the chicken fillet. 

Serving chicken schnitzel, it's basically bread-crumbed chicken fillet topped with smoked beef, and napoli sauce. It's quite nice that the chicken was juicy though I preferred it to come at slightly thinner layer as this was a bit too much. Nonetheless, luckily they balanced it with thin batter, avoiding the eaters from getting nauseated. The 3 types melted cheese overflowing on top was doubtlessly the key highlight especially for a cheese craze like me. Having it served warm would be best as the cheese was still perfectly molten. Not to forget, the side dishes which shouldn't be underestimated. The fresh house salad that gave the healthy yet yummy element, as well as the golden brown potato wedges which were surely da bomb, being scrumptiously seasoned and super crispy. Again to remind you, I would once again mention this's for sharing. Trust me, it's something beyond fulfilling!

Teriyaki Rice Bowl (IDR 42k)

OK rice eaters, now we started moving to your kind of dining table as the other dishes I tried were those featuring rice. It's a bit funny as it's indeed not our intention yet turned out become the reality that the dishes came from various origin country. The first was Japanese, serving tender grilled chicken in sweet and flavorful teriyaki sauce. Put aside the slightly overcooked parts, it's smart choice made by the chef there by picking chicken's thigh since it indeed had more suitable texture for this type of dishes. Stirring it together with the runny yolk from the sunny side up and then having the miso soup as well, you could find the 'party' of flavors on the palate. 

Kalbi Pork Belly Bowl
Well, the presentation did surprise me as it's not as 'WOW' as in my imagination. Especially, when I spotted the long slice of fat layer, because I could take pork belly as long as it's not purely containing the chewy fat parts since my taste bud always had automatic resistance towards the texture. Trying to ignore those pieces and just enjoyed the other slices, actually the dish was overall delectable. The seasoning was lovely being well-infused to each of these protein cuts. 

As the owner asked for our inputs on the meal, we did call this out and she was really sorry for the coincidence as it didn't suppose to be the case that those whole fat layers came together in the bowl. Another thumbs up from us for the team's responsiveness there ;)

Reuni's Balinese Fish Bongkot (IDR 69k)

Finally, the last dish on the table, with another different protein as well as different cuisine. It's now gindara fish cooked in signature Balinese style! The dish somehow proved that something coming from our own home was indeed something's closest to the heart. All my friends and I awarded this one the best among all we tried at this particular day. The picture might not look that marvelous as the presentation was indeed pretty common in my view, yet that sambal matah taste couldn't lie, being so spicy yet succulent, making me enjoy that tongue-burnt sensation. The main component itself, the gindara, being so fresh and smooth that it would literally melt once touching your palate. The delicacy didn't end there, since you got another one to pamper your taste bud, the chicken bongkot, which said in common language was chicken cooked with torch ginger or more well-known as kecombrang, one of Bali's signature herbs. All the elements on the plate weren't only give more colors to the presentation, but also to the party of flavors on your palate. Awesome combi!

Having tasted some of the selections from the house, I guessed this place was a nice option to have meet-ups, noting it's lovely ambiance and generally fair foods. The distinctive one like the Balinese Fish Bongkot was doubtlessly must-have when you're being a first-timer.

Taste: 7.5/10
Place: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Price: 7.5/10

Thanks for reading! :)

Address: Jl. Muara Karang Barat No. 47, Jakarta
Phone: (+62 21) 2266 2579
Operating Hours: Mon - Sun 9am - 9pm