Monday, January 8, 2018

Smoothopia, Another Smoothies Heaven in Town

Anyone wanna make any wild guess which type of place it would be? Yeah, I thought that ‘smooth’ in the Smoothopia highlighted it clear enough, the home to smoothie bowls and smoothies drink. 


As colorful as the fruits were, that would be the way I represented the petite venue residing at a hook behind Ara hotel at Gading Serpong. It played with the smooth tone and abstract combination of shapes, but the joint colors flawlessly delivered the cheerful and fresh ambiance. 





I was impressed by the front corner right after the entrance, which looked like a perfect minimalist living room for me. Unfortunately it’s pretty busy at my time of visit as someone’s having a photoshoot. Nonetheless, I surely didn’t miss to capture it regardless the hectic view. 



Though the space was quite limited, the setting was efficient enough with individual seating facing the window and several tables attached to the wall. Nevertheless, if you came in big group, it might be quite cumbersome as all tables were only for 2. 


 
The menu offered was so focused that they only served mainly smoothie-based foods and drinks. The names were mostly ear-catchy, such as Will You Berry Me, She Cai Yes, and many more. 



Nutty Job (IDR 47k)
For my premiere trial, I surely picked my number one flavor for smoothie bowl, anything containing peanut butter. Luckily the attendant told me in prior that the actual bowl wouldn’t turn out as in the picture since the toppings given would be only banana, granola, and coconut flakes though the picture on the menu showed strawberry and seeds as well. 


The fact made me decided to add additional joy to my bowl to transform it into a total satisfaction. My pick was the set of 1 fruit 2 seeds, for which there were several choices namely strawberry, kiwi, peach and pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed respectively. I ordered the first from fruit options and the first couple from seeds selections. Woooww! Now my bowl looked like a very rich one when presented on the table. 

When I first got exposed to this healthy food, I underestimated it by thinking the size was kind of mine, which was typically small in others’ eyes. But it’s right that you’d better try finishing it before judging as it’s actually fulfilling for average tummy size I believed. I was grateful that I picked milk as the base solution to my bowl as it made me the overall smoothie turned out smooth and creamy in an indulging way. You could have the other options like apple juice which was free as the milk, or added IDR 3k for soy milk or yakult as the substitute. For first timer, I recommended milk, which I believed your palate would be pretty familiar with. Yeppp, apple did sound peculiar and I bet it would be on my second. I guessed the texture would then be slightly thinner and prolly more into refreshing one. 


The bowl was perfectly executed that everything came in the right doze, creating a wonderful balance in texture and taste. I could get the crunchy toppings of fruits and seeds well-complemented the blend of banana, cacao, and peanut butter. As always, my big crush, mr peanut never failed to spoil my taste bud. Overall, this bowl did deserve the price tag attached to it, both in terms of quality and quantity!

Granola Bar (IDR 15k for 3)


Packaged in small plastic pack and put next to the cashier, this was surely a tiny-sized snack which could create huge temptation for someone fancying sweet light-bites too much, as my self. Well, trying to make my self justification, I tried to tell my brain that it’s healthy one so I felt less sinful despite my bowl could fill my tummy to its full capacity. This little trio wasn’t bad at all, being crispy and not overly sweet, besides the combination put together was just like my preference with dried fruits and seeds! Less worry on the hips (winking). 


In a nutshell I was quite sad that the place was pretty hidden that many people might not notice it, even I myself found it from Instagram and never aware of its existence despite it’s been there for quite some time. This was surely a treasure for those demanding for healthier lifestyle, realized through better nutrition intake. So let’s spread out to the happy news!


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


Thanks for reading! :)


SMOOTHOPIA
Address: Ruko Neo Arcade A33, Jl Lilin Utara II, Gading Serpong, Tangerang
Phone: (+62) 8122 894 9998
Operating Hours: Mon - Sun 10am - 10pm


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Thursday, December 28, 2017

First Crack Coffee

Could you mention the feeling of being able to crack a mystery for the very first time? It would absolutely be an astonishing one, the second you had that AHA! moment and felt proud of yourself for being able to nail it. This awesome experience would prolly be my best way to describe why First Crack name seemed to be so memorable for me. 


Finally, having been to the coffee shop for the second time, I had the time to write a simple review about my visit. It might sound quite funny but indeed was the reality, I went for exactly the same food and beverage at the second visit, just added another one I did feel curious to try. Yepp, that’s me, able to stick to something I’ve fallen for, and could go back to it again and again without feeling bored or sick. 

As at the initial visit I anyway didn’t take any snaps and simply just enjoyed my foods, so this repeating one was the chance to do so. If you later made your first one, I hoped you didn’t get lost like me. Just one clue, it’s occupying a space inside the Altira Business Park so just set your online map to it, then got the security at the ticket corner guided you for detailed direction. 




Opening the door, you could right away noticed that First Crack did have their own roaster from the decoration including the equipment. Wow, looked like they’re indeed going serious with coffee, beyond just opening a simple coffee shop. The design which mainly featured black and white combined with red bricks, made the venue looked classic and elegant, not just like simple and casual cafes. 




Based on my quick scanning on the whole corners, most guests went for their coffee above anything else. Some did give companions to their caffeine cups by adding light bites, cakes, or other pastries, but I could clearly spot the coffee was almost never missed. Yeah for sure it’s unquestionable especially because they even had their own roastery. 




Hot Cappuccino (IDR 30k)
Two cups directly landed on my order list; with one being mild version and the other being strong, first went hot while the latter served cold. For sure it’s indeed purposely done to ensure I tried more from the portfolio. 


Let’s begin with the hot one, the standard coffee menu which I mostly set as the benchmark to determine if a coffee shop passed my approval or not (giggling). At my first trial, I had it originally as-is and I shortly said I loved it! The scent was so indulging even before I took my initial sip. It gave a strong kick of coffee flavor on the palate with slightly-biting bitterness. With the smooth finishing at the end, it’s like my flawless morning ‘dopping’. 

For my second visit I tried to be more inventive, which ended up made me get the regrets. I requested for additional vanilla syrup (IDR 5k) and I seemed to ruin my perfect caffeine cup. It turned out too sweet and I simply wanted my pure coffee cup back (deeply frowned). I promised I would no longer have such random idea. 

Iced Hazelnut Coffee Papua (IDR 35k)


On the menu which was dominated by coffee, there’s a special tiny section featuring the signatures of the house, which I guessed were mostly cold brew. My pick was this Hazelnut Coffee Papua, which I (again) estimated was iced coffee made with the beans from Papua, but to ensure it didn’t go too strong, First Crack paired it with Hazelnut syrup. When I first made the order I honestly didn’t know it’s black coffee. Surprisingly, my first sip made me deeply fall in love with this one and I found myself couldn’t stop till the last drop. You needn’t be worry if you’re not used to strong one as this was mild on the taste bud and so refreshing!

Honey Cake (IDR 29k)



Coffee only without the cake for me would surely turn incomplete; just like going to a movie then leaving 10 minutes before it finished. To ensure my coffee cups weren’t lonely, I got them a slice of companion, the Honey Cake! Bluntly said I was a bit dissatisfied at my second attempt on this cake as it turned out quite dry. 


Nevertheless, I was so much into my first one. Everything seemed impeccable, having the texture being precisely at the right level between soft and dense, the caramel faultlessly added the sweetness element to the overall cake, and the crumbles covering the cake gave the final indulging touch. If you’re more into adventurous side, you gotta give this cake a try as you might not commonly meet it elsewhere. 



Those residing or having the radar within North area, First Crack does worth to visit and who knows it will turn to be on your repeating-visit list ;)


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



Thanks for reading! :)


FIRST CRACK COFFEE
Address: Altira Business Park B12-15, Jl. Yos Sudarso Kav 85, Sunter, Jakarta
Operating Hours: Mon - Sat 9.30am - 7.30pm, Sun 8am - 8pm


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Gopek Restaurant, the Youngest Baby of Sarirasa

1945, Tesate, Sate Khas Senayan; sounds familiar? I guessed for sure those names weren’t strange for you as they’ve had tons of outlets spread all around the town.  However, do you happen to know what’s the relation among all of them? The question might be easy peasy for some of you, but for those who have no idea, they’re coming from the same roof of Sarirasa group. 

Being extremely successful with their existing brands, Sarirasa seemed to be not yet earning its complete satisfaction. This has been proven by their newly opened one this year, Gopek Restaurant. If you wondered if all menu were priced at IDR 500/pax, for sure they’re not. Oops, sorry for destroying your sweet dream fellas but I had to tell you the truth LOL. Then what’s behind the name? Well, it just simply wanted to point out that the restaurant tried to offer Indonesian traditional street foods, but served them in better presentation and for sure let you enjoy them with restaurant ambiance. 

The first and currently still the only venue occupied a quite sizable space next to Sate Khas Senayan, its sister brand, in Grand Indonesia. The bright orange logo would surely become a clear sign to guide you finding the restaurant easily. 

Lumpia Goreng (IDR 35k)


Could you make a guess on what usually became the starter for Indonesian dining set? Something most of us treated as breakie, afternoon snacks, and sometimes side dishes as well; fried foods! For this first trial on Gopek, my choice was the spring roll with various veggies as the stuffings. I wouldn’t say it’s the yummiest one, but not a bad opening for sure. 

Chicken Satay (IDR 25k for 3)


Yeaaayyy! The food that I guessed no single Indonesian hated, well yeah at least from those I’ve met in lifetime. Serving tender chicken coated with luscious seasoning, Gopek’s version was a lovely one to be enjoyed as side dish to accompany my main courses. 

Rujak Tahu (IDR 40k)
 

As clearly stated, the dish main actor was tofu, cut into medium-sized cubes. I wasn’t sure if this dish was originally from Sumatra or Java, but the thing I knew it’s good! The water-based sauce blended coconut sugar, tamarind, shallots, shrimp paste, and crushed nuts; I believed you could now picture how nice was the combination between sweet and savory flavors in this plate. For you who missed this kind of street food, you might get your craving satisfied here :)

Mie Bakso Pangsit (IDR 55k)
Another comfort food which I believed most of us had had for thousand times since childhood. It might be either at school, at neighborhood bought from those selling using carts carrying them around, at small stalls, or even at restaurants! Simply said, another all-time favorite <3. 


Gopek’s version featured sweet shredded chicken, meatballs, bean sprouts, and green veggies; which overall was dominated more by sweet flavor. Of course the components that you usually kept to be enjoyed as the finishing (perfect example of saving the best for the last), the crispy wontons weren’t missed here. Overall, the dish was okay but I had to honestly say that I still had other versions I favored better. 

Nasi Gopek Speaial (IDR 62k)


Finally arriving at my most favorite among all I had at my first dining experience in Gopek. Before you swiped up right away even prior to reading it, please wait and lemme tell you “It’s not pork! Yes you heard me right, it’s chicken and beed including that red one”. 


Basically they intentionally made it similar to the non-halal one in terms of presentation and combination of flavors, compiling beef in honey glazed, roasted chicken colored in red, beef satay, ngohiong, boiled egg, and beef stew (a.k.a semur). Yes I knew my palate did love the ‘original’ one better, but this was surely great alternative. The beef satay would absolutely win the number 1 spot for being the most luscious component among others in this dish. 

Es Kacang (IDR 38k)


Not only fine dining had the complete set of appetizer-main course-dessert, even traditional street food could do. Perfect one for our hot sunny capital city would definitely be something refreshing like this Es Kacang, featuring shaved ice with syrup, mixed with kidney bean, mung bean, bird nest, sugar palm fruits (kolang kaling), and basil seed; exactly like the one I used to enjoy under the simple tent but brought to the next level. I highly recommended you to share it as for me the size was more than fulfilling especially if you took heavy dish in prior. 

Es Koteng (IDR 38k)


Other option if you might be not that much into beans or nuts, was this Es Koteng. This cutie pinky one did serve some Indonesia’s signature ingredients including those not commonly found in any dishes from other countries. Presenting bird nest, yam bean (bengkoang), job’s tears or adlay (jali-jali), kitna, sugar palm fruits (kolang kaling), orange, and basil seed, my favorite from the glass was surely the chewy bird nest that I enjoyed having with the precise sweetness level from the syrup. 

Lemon Sugar Cane Juice (IDR 30k)


Though the desserts were pretty much similar to drinks, I still had my purely liquid drink to quench the thirst. My big crush, sugar cane juice, but this one coming with additional happiness from the fresh lemon; so when life gives you lemon then find sugar cane? LOL. I rarely met lemon mixed with sugar cane but I thought it sounded like awesome pair so why not giving a try. Amazingly, my guesstimate was proven right as I loved each sip of it; flawless couple of sweet and sour!

In a nutshell, if you’re a big fan of street food but you just wanted to have it with cozier ambiance where you could indulge yourself with nice food and comfy place, Gopek might add one more line to your options list.


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


Thanks for reading! :)


GOPEK RESTAURANT
Address: Grand Indonesia  Sky Bridge 5th Floor
Phone: (+62 21) 2358 1359
Operating Hours: Mon - Sun 10am - 10pm


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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Stillwater Coffee & Co

Occupying a quite huge space located right across Le Quartier, Stillwater Coffee just joined the crowd brought by tons of restaurants and cafes residing nearby. The good thing about having spacious area would be definitely the bigger parking space, which was indeed like valuable treasure to be found when dining around here especially on weekend. 







Though the venue looked like other coffee shops with indoor and outdoor corners, petite and communal tables, Stillwater did try to make itself distinctive by carrying more invention, focusing on croissant and sandwich. They provided several options on the menu, combining various ingredients in each variant, which in my view were mostly innovative combinations. They did offer other options, but mainly pastries and cakes; yeah you got it right if you just thought it would be like my kind of comfort zone. 
















Tuna Melt Sandwich (IDR 73k)



Opening the stage’s curtain with something savory, here’s my Tuna Melt Sandwich. Well, the appearance didn’t turn out as mesmerizing as my expectation but let’s not judge till giving a try. The stuffings mixed in between the wheat bread were simply like the common Tuna Melt you met elsewhere. Perhaps you could guess it if you often ordered this variant for pizza. Tuna, mayo, onion, green pepper, cucumber, and cheese; which were served in quite generous portion. 


Nevertheless, honestly speaking I still thought this sandwich was pretty pricey. The taste was okay-ish and I guessed what I enjoyed best from it was how it’s freshly made to order so you would enjoy it while warm. Another plus point would be the additional customization feature on the complementary sauces, for which they gave quite abundant options including miso, salted egg, honey mustard, barbecue, and many more! Grab as much as you want, mix it as creative as you can be :)


Peanut Cake Croissant (IDR 38k)
Before you imagine too far about how the peanut cake would turn out, I would right away tell you that it’s a simple marriage of peanut butter and dulce de leche. I had noticed it from the beginning as told by the description mentioned on the menu. Though I did sense it’s pricey, but my addiction toward peanut butter made me ended up lost to the temptation to order this sweet one. 


Commenting on the taste, I wouldn’t say much about the peanut-butter-dulce-de-leche couple as I was a big fan of both and that might lead to bias. They’re defining yummy, but I couldn’t really say that Stillwater’s version had something distinctive to call out. I preferred highlighting the croissant which was flawless in texture and taste, being impeccably flaky and superbly aromatic. That buttery flavor was such a killing formula that might lead to addiction.  

Hot Cappuccino (IDR 43k)


I wasn't sure if Stillwater Coffee in Jakarta had any relation to the one in Wisconsin, but one thing I noticed, the coffee reminded me of my favorite morning cups in Sydney. Even the latte art was so into Sydney style, having that finishing touch by cocoa power on top. The aroma and taste were at the same page as well. I was deeply in love with how the coffee flavor could be bold but not acidic, and the after-taste stayed clean as well. I did admit that it's relatively more expensive compared to the similar ones offered in other coffee shops, but I didn't mind to pay extra for having this morning self-indulgence. 


Following what I've shared based on my experience, you could absolutely call out what I would recommend in the end as the must-try from Stillwater. YESSS, certainly their caffeine cups! So if you called yourself a coffee lover, you now knew where you would go next ;)


Taste: 6.5/10 (Food), 8/10 (Coffee)
Place: 6.5/10
Service: 7/10
Price: 6/10


Thanks for reading! :)


STILLWATER COFFEE & CO
Address: Jl. Gunawarman 67, Jakarta
Phone: (+62) 8222 700 1003
Operating Hours: Mon - Sun 6.30am - 10pm