Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thanksgiving Sunday Brunch at Arts Cafe @ The Raffles Hotel

December is always the month I’m really looking forward to. Family gathering, Christmas celebration, gift exchange, and definitely thanksgiving! I don’t know what this month actually means to you but for me, it’s always the time for gathering, which means eating a lot, yes like REALLY A LOT of foods together. It’s been my family’s tradition since I was a kid that December should be celebrated by a giant feast.
This year is somehow different for me as I’ve been so busy lately and I’ve been tied up by deadlines. Weekdays were really exhausting with sleepless nights and cups of caffeine. Besides, I don’t have my family here with me as they’re staying in my hometown, 2.5 hour away by plane from Jakarta *deep sigh*. Okay, let’s stop complaining, when my friend told me last week that we would have an early Thanksgiving brunch together at Arts Cafe, I was extremely excited! Finally I can catch my breath for awhile and just spend the whole day sitting and having never-ending chats.

For you who’ve just heard of Arts Cafe, it is located at The Raffles Hotel, just next to Somerset and Ascott. Yes, it’s a newly opened 5-star hotel connected to Lotte Shopping Avenue so you can also access this place through this mall. First time stepping into the hotel, you could already feel its 5-star ambience with the classic high-ceiling decoration and the pampering cinnamon scent. I was immediately greeted with the warm service of the security, who immediately requested the hotel attendant to guide me to the Arts Cafe. They were just so professional, creating great impression for a first visit.

Entering the Arts Cafe, I could smell Christmas already. Trees, mistletoes, red socks, gift boxes, and many other decorations. The venue itself was not as big as the ones I usually found in other similar 5-star hotels, however I could immediately enjoy the atmosphere as for me, it was neither too formal nor too casual. It’s simply at the balanced level so you could get the luxury impression, yet still feel the homey circumstance.

In the morning, Arts Cafe is actually the breakfast venue for the Raffles hotel guests. While at lunch and dinner time, it serves both buffet and ala carte dishes. Special in Sunday only, Arts Cafe serves brunch buffet starting at 11.30am up to 3.30pm with the price of IDR 550k++ per pax. This was the one I tried at my visit to Arts.

As the welcoming dish, Arts cafe served very exceptional menu, which was various types of homemade chips including Salmon Skin and Squid Ink ones. At first, I didn’t even know they were chips and I though they were just table decoration instead. Surprisingly, the squid ink one tasted awesome, especially if you enjoyed it with the mustard dipping.

Similar to other typical buffet venues, there were several stations serving various types of foods, coming from different countries. The first one was Japanese station, serving colorful nigiri sushi, fresh sashimi, wakame salad, and iidako (octopus). The sushi and sashimi were good enough to come as starters, and the iidako was the champion! Besides, you could also find the selections of wine right next to this counter. I couldn’t take alcohol that much, so I picked the white wine as it’s sweet. For a non-alcoholic like me, it’s pretty satisfying. However, if you were alcohol intolerance, you needn’t worry as they did serve other choices of beverages which were part of the price you paid. I also tried their Raffles Jakarta tea, which was TWG tea, being customized only for Raffles Jakarta, bringing the combination of fruits and herbs taste.

Continue with the food, going to the center part of the venue, there were 3 stations available, each of which had different theme for the foods they served. The first one was ultimately my most favorite. For you who knew me, you might have made the correct wild guess. If you just thought about desserts, yes you did know me so well. There were many selections of cakes, starting from the traditional ones like Kue Lumpur, Pukis, Kue Lapis, Onde-onde, and many more; classic ones like chocolate fudge brownie, apple pie, cheese cake; until recently hip ones like red velvet, lemon meringue, carrot cake, and chocolate soil. Additionally, you could find choices of pies, bread, croissants, pizza, and bagels. My recommendation were the pecan pie and chocolate fudge brownie, which might sound too generic, but once tried could be mind-blowing. Another happiness was the special cake served during this Christmas season, the red lodge-shaped vanilla-custard-based cake served with chocolate and raspberry, which was not only good-looking but also mouth-watering. Not to forget, one of the most wanted dessert in any buffet, the Chocolate Fountain! I personally thought that Arts Cafe’s Chocolate Fountain was the most unique one I’d ever seen as it contained many layers and it separated between milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Ok sorry, you could drool now.


Moving to the second station, here they served various selections of appetizers like salad, fruits, cold cuts, and fresh raw seafood. Apologize in advance for those who don’t eat pork, but great news for those who’re mad of pork, because they served it here! As I belonged to the latter group, of course this was surely a plus point for me! They were sooo good that I had to hold myself, otherwise I would get bloated only by having the appetizers.

The third station located at the center was the one serving Asian dishes coming from various countries. You could find rice-based ones like Briyani Rice and Hainanese Rice, noodles like Spicy Japanese Udon, and different types of seafood and poultry including grilled chicken, beef bulgogi, steamed snapper, cereal pawn, stewed beef, and many more. From this corner, my choice went to the snapper.

Not yet finishing there, there were 2 other corners, serving poultry dishes. The first one was the station serving the special Thanksgiving menu, Traditional Roast Turkey with Trimmings. The taste was rich and luscious, bringing the combination of roast turkey with chestnut stuffing, brussel sprouts, roasted baby carrots, and braised leeks. Besides, there’s one component of this dish, the Chipolatas sausages, which satisfied my appetite the best although it’s only a complementary part instead of the main one. Moving on to the next poultry dish, they also served Baked Tenderloin Wellington served with black pepper sauce, truffle mashed potato, and sautéed mushrooms. Despite the fact that the turkey was actually the special one for this Thanksgiving celebration, this second poultry dish was the one successfully stole my heart. It perfectly suited my palate as the beef was juicy, tender, and well-seasoned. Besides, I loved the flaky pastry layer covering the beef as it’s tasty and the texture was just perfect.

Having told you about all the stations, now we finally arrive at the most interesting part. There’s actually one distinctive point Arts Cafe has, which’s not available in other similar buffet places, the Show Kitchen. This Show Kitchen usually serves 5 up to 10 dishes in small portion, which are all served with stunning presentation. They’re intentionally made as the best parts of the course the guest has in Arts cafe. The dishes are freshly made there and immediately served to the guest’s table. At my visit, there were 7 of them (it’s my bad that I only took individual picure of some of them :( ): Choquette with Truffle Cheese, Salmon Teriyaki, Vanilla Cauliflower Soup, Capellini Pasta Gorgonzola, Seared Scallop Green Pea, Chix-Breast Carrot Corn, and Foie Gras Terrine. 

Seared Scallop Green Pea

Foie Gras Terrine

I was not paid or whatsoever to write this, but all of them were just extremely too good to be true! I was already bloated when I had the rest 4 of them but I just couldn’t resist to finish them. It’s hard if you asked me to choose which was the best, but if I really had to, my pick would go to the Salmon Teriyaki and Seared Scallop Green Pea. The Salmon was so fresh and the Teriyaki sauce was flawless, bringing the right balance of sweet and savory taste. It’s beautifully served on top of simple sushi roll. The Seared Scallop Green Pea was also an addiction as the scallop had first-class taste. Usually, I thought that scallop was kind of tasteless and I had to have it with sauce to satisfy my taste bud. However, I had 180-degree different opinion with this scallop as having it by itself was already highly satisfying. But don’t get it wrong, the green pea did come as plus plus plus point for this dish. Top notch! 

Coming to the perfect end of the super heavy full course, we’re given two scoops of homemade ice cream, whose flavors were based on our personal selection. This was not displayed at the station, but it’s available upon request. The flavors provided were vanilla, chocolate, green tea, mango, blueberry, and coconut. My choice were green tea and coconut, but I did try all other flavors as my friends did intentionally pick different ones. For me, the top 3 were blueberry, coconut, and green tea. The first two ones were so refreshing as they’re more to sorbet-alike. However, if you opted for milkier one, then green tea would be totally you.

Overall, I really really enjoy my Sunday Brunch at Arts Cafe. Looking at the price, you might think it’s a bit pricey, but once you try it, the price does worth the taste and quality. I was fully satisfied with each dish served, the ambience, and the service. Will definitely come back here some time soon!

Taste: 8.5/10
Place: 8.5/10
Service: 9/10
Price: 8/10

Thanks for Reading! :)
Arts Cafe at Raffles Hotel Jakarta
Address: Ciputra World 1, Jl. Prof. Dr. Satrio
Phone: +62 21 2988 8080
Opening Hours and Price/pax:
Breakfast (Mon – Sun 6am – 10.30am)
Lunch (Mon – Sat 12pm – 2.30pm) at IDR 320k++/pax
Dinner (Mon – Sun 6pm – 10.30pm) at IDR 380k++/pax
Brunch (Sun 11.30am – 3.30pm) at IDR 550k++/pax

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Inputs & comments: jessicagaby@ymail.com