Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mediterranean Food Feast at Sea Grain

Being one of the 13 hotels under Hilton group, Double Tree is indeed as stunning as the rest of the group members. I was there last weekend, having my very first step into the hotel, and was immediately blown away with its setting. Those high ceiling, huge glass windows, giant lagoon pool, green views, and spoiling scent have successfully hypnotized me, making me ended up wishing I could spend the rest of my day there just to enjoy every single thing on my surroundings.

Bringing back myself to the reality, my friends and I were warmly greet by the team there, who then assisted us to go to their Sea Grain restaurant. It’s just one of the four dining venues Double Tree has besides Krem Pool Bar for dining by the pool, Open} Restaurant as the all-day dining venue, and T Lounge to hold casual business meeting or afternoon tea time while enjoying views over the outdoor swimming pool. This casual restaurant, which is intended to serve dinner only, is inspired by Mediterranean coast combination with a local Indonesian twist. Such a unique concept to be delivered, which can rarely be found recently.



Located at the third floor of the hotel, this restaurant can only be accessed starting 5pm, which’s exactly its opening time. The 640sqm-sized venue consists of both indoor and outdoor area, including 3 various-sized private rooms. Not stopping at the hotel design only in mesmerizing me, the restaurant again fascinates me with its contemporary concept with distinctive paintings by Ines Katamso, a French-Indonesian muralist, covering the walls.

It’s a hot and sunny afternoon when my friends and I went there last weekend. Lucky us, we were greet by the homemade Sangria (IDR 150k/glass, IDR 496k/pitcher), one of Sea Grain’s best signature cocktail, combining red wine, brandy, orange, lemon, apple, and ginger ale. It’s a very refreshing one, bringing out the blend of tropical fruits with a slight touch of alcohol. Aside of this, the bar featured a selection of classic cocktails as well as Mediterranean inspired cocktails.


Coming as the starter to the Mediterranean food feast, there it’s served, a basket of Complimentary Bread whose variants might change on daily basis. The signature one, Jalapeno Cheese Bread which immediately became my favorite, was definitely not to be missed! Flawless mix of spicy and savory taste delivered in a moist bread. To accompany it, there were several condiments to enjoy, including butter, olive oil, and beetroot paste.

Mezze Platter (IDR 88k)

Now it’s the turn for something from Middle East, the Mezze Platter, consisting soft Pitta bread and lavash (crispy thin unleavened flatbread) that came with various toppings; Baba Ganoush and Mutabal (both were basically eggplant dipping that mixed eggplant, onions, tomatoes, olive oil and various seasonings), Tabbouleh (Arabian salad), Ezme (looks alike with tomato salsa sauce containing tomatoes, onion, herbs, olive oil, and slight touch of red pepper), Hummus (mashed chickpeas or other beans, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic), Olive, and Feta Cheese. Most favorite one? Hmm. Hard to pick as I loved to have everything mixed then got chewed at once.

Prawn Mango Salad (IDR 95k)

When people said being healthy was something painful, I would say they should wait until they tried this Prawn Mango Salad, beautifully presenting pan-seared king prawn, mango, taro, capsicum, balsamic reduction, sun-dried tomato and garlic crumble with crispy lavash on top. Not only the veggies, the king prawns were all so fresh, giving that chewy delightful texture. Not to mention, the sweet mango and taro, which have successfully stolen my heart away.

Steamed Seabass (IDR 165k)

Another dish with olive oil was this Steamed Seabass. Yes, Mediterranean cuisine was indeed inseparable with olive oil, its key ingredient. This dish was too good to be true with that super moist fish texture, which literally melted in your mouth! Delivering a hint of pomegranate in the lemon butter sauce, which made it become even more succulent, this dish unquestionably had to be in the first row on the must-try list in Sea Grain. Completing the carbo part, the mashed cassava plated next to the fish came as another flavorful companion.
Rendang Lasagna (IDR 130k)

Another indulgence served on the table was this Rendang Lasagna served with cassava cheese balls. Let me confess first before I mentioned more things about this dish, I was such a freak for Lasagna, especially the one which came with generous mozzarella and béchamel sauce. I would surely have my calorie amnesia for that. Unlike the common lasagna, this one came up with rendang as its protein. Another peculiar mixture brought out by Sea Grain, and once again another one I fell for (well, I guessed I fell for every single dish already LOL).  If you said Rendang’s best at Padang restaurant, you’d better try this before giving more comments ;) .
Frito Octopus Pizza (IDR 125k)

Hands up for those who love Oncom! Yes, you heard it right, Oncom, Indonesian’s signature traditional dish, which was loved by many of the people. This fermented soy bean ingredient came as the main topping of the tiny crust pizza, accompanied by octopus, squid, coriander, herb basil, mozzarella, cheddar cheese, and fruit salsa. Well, it might sound a little bit strange in the beginning, yet surprisingly it suited my palate very well and even got me addicted. Simply saying, I wouldn’t be able to tell it’s oncom and would think it’s meat instead, in case I wasn’t told in prior.

Baklava (IDR 110k)

Finally, the part that would forever have reserved space in my belly, what else than desserts? If we previously started with something from Middle East for main course, now we again had our dessert session starting with something originating in the Middle East. I assumed most of you have been familiar with Baklava as it’s one of the most-selling Middle Eastern desserts. But for those who might have just heard it for the first time, it’s basically crispy phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts (mainly pistachio) and soaked in honey. Though the original Baklava supposed to be much sweeter than Sea Grain’s, but I did love this one as I thought it suited my Indonesian’s taste bud better with this level of sweetness.

Luwak Crepes Tiramisu* (IDR 185k)
*Contains alcohol
Serving many exceptional dishes meant that the feast should also be ended with something distinctive. Yes, I found this one very unique as I’ve never before found Luwak coffee being used as the ingredient for desserts. Stuffing the soft thin crepes with Luwak coffee and Tiramisu crème, plus adding a little touch of alcohols and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this exclusive dessert faultlessly ended the delightful Mediterranean full-course I had at Sea Grain. Coffee and ice cream might be common for desserts, but as this one served the premium ones, it brought the dessert to the next level.

Honestly saying, when my friends and I were on our way to Double Tree, we already thought that we wouldn’t be able to take much food anymore into our tummy as we’d been extremely full having 2 full-courses in prior in 2 different restaurants. Astonishingly, we made it to the very last round, the dessert, and we did almost clean up all the plates. We could even say that we failed to hold ourselves from finishing everything as they’re just too scrumptious to be left. I wasn’t paid or whatsoever to write this review. I simply loved loved loved all the dishes served too much and I absolutely would come back here to try their other menu and I even didn’t mind to have exactly the same ones. In the end, I could just say that I really wish the upcoming visit would be some time real real soon!

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

Thanks for Reading! :)

Sea Grain at Double Tree by Hilton
Address: Jl Pegangsaan Timur No. 17, Cikini-Menteng, Jakarta
Phone: +62 21 2985 7093 / +62 21 3190 4433
Operating Hours: Mon – Sun 5pm – 1am

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Inputs & comments: jessicagaby@ymail.com

Sunday, August 21, 2016

'GREEN' Afternoon Tea at Peacock Lounge

I still can clearly remember approximately a year ago, when I was still on my short-term working assignment in Tokyo, Peacock Lounge at Fairmont Hotel Jakarta opened its door for the very first time. As expected, it didn’t require long waiting time before my timeline was “overwhelmed” with the pictures of that elegant jewelry box used by Peacock Lounge to serve its signature afternoon tea set.  Since then, I’ve been looking forward to having my very first visit to this place.

Call it a coincidence, last weekend I was just talking to my friend about my curiosity in trying Peacock Lounge afternoon tea, then this weekend, there I was, finally bringing it into reality! Stepping into the venue, I could already feel the classic and exclusive ambience. Each corner looks stylist and all the props used as decoration seem very well-structured. The place was so cozy that I thought I could spend the whole day there, just sit back, sip my hot tea, spoil my palate with the canapes, and have long series of chats with my friends.

Starting from Jul 11th, Peacock Lounge actually have been having a special event called “Show your True Colors”, which basically brought out different theme every 2 weeks for its afternoon tea time. Applying the colors of rainbow as the themes, they’ve started with red, following by orange and yellow, then green, which will start just next Monday (22nd August) and last till 4th September. The series will then be ended with pink color, prevailing for the whole October month, which is also intended to celebrate the month of breast cancer awareness.

During the existence of this special theme, Peacock Lounge does provide special gift for its guests. While having the Peacock Lounge Signature Afternoon Tea set (IDR 488k++), the guest has to wear the attire based on the prevailing color-theme, take photo, and post on Instagram using #SYTC and #PeacockLounge. A lucky winner will be picked from each color-theme, who will get gifts including complimentary PINK Afternoon Tea in October, to a one-night weekend stay in Fairmont Jakarta Signature Suite (including breakfast for two).

Peacock Lounge Signature Afternoon Tea set (IDR 488k++)
For this visit, I got the special privilege to enjoy the ‘GREEN’ afternoon tea set prior to the launch time. Reflecting the theme, almost everything served in the dazzling jewelry box came in green color. Basically, this tea set served various light bites from savory to sweet ones, all of which were impeccable companions to your cup of tea/coffee. It was actually intended to serve 2 people as it came with 2 cups of either TWG tea or premium coffee, depending on the guest’s choice. Nonetheless, looking at the generous portion, I honestly thought it would be suitable to enjoy it with 4 people, so the remaining 2 just needed to order additional beverages.

Answering your curiosity on what’s actually brought-out by the tea set, I would give brief hints to all of you. Starting from the savory ones, there were foie gras, tuna sandwich, zucchini, and salmon rolls. Additionally, there were the trio of fried springroll, mushroom & truffle quiche, and bitterballen; served in a separated tray. From this first group, my most favorite was the salmon rolls as it’s not only beautifully presented, yet also fresh and succulent.

Now moving to the sweet ones, which I could say was the majority as well. If you happen to know that I’m a severe dessert addict, you can already guess how extremely happy I was looking at these pieces of sinful indulgence. On top, there were pandan roll, chocolate & avocado mousse cake, matcha opera, matcha-dipped strawberry, pistachio macaron, matcha choux, cheesecake, kiwi panna cotta, chocolate-coated biscuit, and praline. As usual, cheesecake came as my top-of-mind, but also to note, the matcha choux was doubtlessly the crème de la crème!

It’s not over yet, there were another two drawers we had for sweets, containing scones with various choices of spreads, madeline, kiwi tartlets, and lemon financier. My most favorite? Hmmm. I didn’t wanna choose this time. Gotta have them all! ;)

Enough talking about foods, let’s see what my friends and I opted for drinks. First one was the perfect match to the color-theme, Matcha Tea Latte (IDR 80k). First disclaimer, please don’t call me silly but I did forget to try this :(. Yes, it’s actually my friend’s order and I totally forgot to have even a single sip of it. Let’s quickly move on before I fell deeper in my disappointment, next one was my all-time favorite Chocolate Earlgrey (IDR 70k/pot), which came from the selections of black tea. I wouldn’t comment much, simply said, you would love it if you were in love with Earl Grey as much as I did. Nevertheless, if you fancied something milkier, I highly recommended you to try London Fog (IDR 70k), the blend of French Earl Grey, vanilla syrup, and milk. Well, apologize in advance if it’s just me, but I didn’t know why, only by reading the ingredients I could immediately tell it must taste awesome and I did proof myself 100% accurate in the end. OK I now revise my first statement, I don’t highly recommend you to try, I oblige you to have it and never blame me for any addiction.

Chocolate Earlgrey (IDR 70k/pot) & London Fog (IDR 70k)

Matcha Tea Latte (IDR 80k)
In a nutshell, looking at what’s served in the set, I could say that the price paid was totally worthy. I couldn’t get more satisfied with my afternoon tea experience today at Peacock Lounge. I got my taste bud pampered, and I was delighted with the first-class service. Besides, I could join the photo competition, which hopefully *fingercrossed brought me to my first-time experience staying in Fairmont Hotel ;) *wink wink*. Don't want to keep this for myself only, hence I'm calling all of you guys to enjoy the high-tea and try your luck as well!

Photo by: @yennymakanmulu

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

Thanks for Reading! :)

Peacock Lounge
Address: Fairmont Hotel GF, Jl. Asia Afrika No. 8, Jakarta
Phone: +62 21 2970 3333
Operating Hours: Mon – Sun 9am – 9pm (Afternoon tea: 1pm – 5pm)

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Inputs & comments: jessicagaby@ymail.com

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Real Pappa at PappaRich

Already having more than 100 outlets in 10 countries hasn’t made PappaRich satisfied enough. This 10-year-old franchise-based Malaysian restaurant then entered Indonesia as the 11th country where it spread its wings. PappaRich has been highly well-known in various Asian countries (even Australia and Los Angeles!) it had entered prior to Indonesia, as one of the best Malaysian restaurants. It has even won quite many top brand awards since 2010. Knowing about this, I was getting beyond excited to taste the dishes they served, which had successfully made people deeply in love with the restaurant.

Resided at Mandara Permai area at PIK, PappaRich became another new comer adding the crowd to this particular spot in PIK, which used to be quite deserted. If you happened to know Native Coffee Tribe or Pepperloin Steakhouse, or perhaps the recently hyped Boon Tong Kee or Saine Daise; PappaRich was just next to all of them, located at the edge position. It’s a huge 2-storey building, which I guesstimated able to accommodate more than 100 guests. Once nice thing I recognized, they even provided an elevator which I guessed was intended to serve the needs of the elders or family with little kids, who might find it troublesome to climb up the stairs. Such a lovely and thoughtful family restaurant! :)    

Following its nature as a Malaysian restaurant, the venue itself was mainly decorated with pictures reflecting Malaysian theme. I was madly in love with the idea of putting giant windows covering all sides of the place, allowing the natural light to come in. Not to mention the marble tables, making it a flawlessly-Instagenic place.

However, when it came to service, I sadly had to admit that in my humble view it did require improvement; in terms of speed, quality, and knowledge of the waiter/waitress. To maintain the guest’s satisfaction, they need to ensure that the waiter/waitress is responsive and completely knowing the dishes they’re selling. The presentation of the dishes should also match the one displayed on the menu, to ascertain the guest’s expectation is met.

Chicken Satay (IDR 35k)

Preventing the dragons in my friends and my tummy from causing destruction as we’re so starving, we had this chicken satay as the appetizer of our Malaysian food feast. The peanut sauce was flavorful and the chicken was well-seasoned though I expected it to be a bit juicier.

Penang Prawn Mee (IDR 48k)

Please don’t mistakenly think this is laksa as it’s indeed not. It’s the well-known Penang Prawn Mee, which was usually so loved for its prawn-head broth. Carrying one of Malaysian’s signature dish, this bowl was quite yummy especially with those fresh prawns. I was just quite upset with that little crack at the edge of the bowl :( .

Hainan Chicken Rice with Steamed Chicken (IDR 49k)

Hmmm. It was quite hard for me to comment on this one as the first time it’s served on the table, I was a bit surprised that it looked quite too different to the one I saw on the menu. I didn’t know if it’s only me but well, you could judge it by yourself so I wouldn’t call out here what’s the key difference I meant. Taste wise, it was actually quite good with that tender chicken; nonetheless I couldn’t say it’s the best Hainan Chicken Rice.

Nasi Lemak with Chicken Curry + Sambal Prawns (IDR 58k)

Tons of thanks to this Nasi Lemak since it came as the super potion. From all the meals I had, this was certainly the shining star. Put aside the sambal prawns which I wished to come in more generous portion; the rice was well-cooked and tasty, and the chicken curry was served with rich blend of spices.  

Briyani Rice with Chicken Curry + Beef Rendang + Sambal Prawns (IDR 78k)

Quite similar to the prior dish, but this one came with Briyani rice and extra beef rendang. We almost missed the sambal prawns as it’s initially not served on the plate but then we reminded the waiter and it’s then served on separated plate. The beef rendang, which was not in the previous one, was an extra delicacy as it was luscious and the texture was delightful. For the rice, I was still ‘Nasi Lemak’ team, but please consider this as subjective view as I was indeed not really into Briyani ;)

Hainan Steamed Bread with Butter + Kaya (IDR 30k)

If the first thing coming into your mind was Kaya Toast once you heard the word ‘Kaya’, then this one might be quite distinctive for you. Yes, you got it right, it’s steamed bread. Nevertheless, you needn’t worry as this exceptional point did pamper my taste bud with exceptional flavor as well! The steamed bread was sooo moist that it straightly melted in your mouth. The butter tasted superb as well and surprisingly I loved loved it much more than the kaya!

3 Layer Tea (IDR 30k)

Done with all the foods, let’s go the beverages! The name of this drink itself made it sound unique and did represent how it actually looked as you could clearly see three separated layer with different colors. Looking quite similar to Thai Tea, the taste did go not far from Thai Tea. The taste was pretty nice and refreshing, but perhaps could be even better if it’s slightly sweeter :) .

Milo Dinosaur (IDR 36k)
And finally, the one that was absolutely a must-have in every visit to Malaysian restaurant. Yesss, no other than Milo Dinosaur! Gladly, this drink came as a great ending to the Malaysian food feast I had at PappaRich. The thick texture with strong Milo flavor has successfully blown my mind up and immaculately spoiled my taste bud. Well, who cared about calorie when it tasted this good?

Overall, good luck for PappaRich’s very first branch in Indonesia! In my next visit, I guess it’s the turn to try more of the desserts, especially the durian and milo dinosaur cheesecake, which have successfully stolen my curiosity!

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

Thanks for Reading! :)

Address: Ruko The Metro Blok 6 JA, Jl. Mandara Permai VII Blok G8, Pantai Indah Kapuk, Jakarta
Phone: +62 21 2970 4981 ext. 765
Operating Hours: Mon – Sun 7am – 1am

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Inputs & comments: jessicagaby@ymail.com