Friday, December 30, 2016

Expat.Roasters, from the Expats to another Expats and non-Expats

If you just thought that the title I picked was cheesy, well you might judge *LOL* and I did apologize for that as I was just trying to choose a catchy one yet couldn't find any so I ended up coming with the current one you've just read. Nonetheless, yes you just read it right, the name of this new kid on the block, who's also the sibling to Sisterfields and Bossman, is indeed Expat Roasters. However, the name doesn't represent the target customers as it does serve the caffeine doze of both the expats and non-expats one, since everyone is welcome. Nevertheless, it's not without reason that the coffee shop was named as Expat. 

It's basically brought-out by 2 Aussie expats; the international award winning barista Shae Macnamara and the Australian entrepreneur Adam McAsey. These two gentlemen had so much passion in coffee that they fell in love with Indonesian's great beans and they did want to help the farmers and the producers to have their coffee marketed throughout the whole Indonesia. 

If you wonder why I called it as the family of Sisterfields and Bossman, then I will shortly let you know. So basically these 3 dining places belong to a single owner and thereby, the location's next to each other. Now he's even planning to build another restaurant, which is just right next to Expat, yet I won't reveal any information regarding this new comer so it will be a greater surprise for all of you.

Residing at the center of Seminyak area, just very close to Seminyak Village, it must be very easy for everyone to find this 'mini' cafe. Especially for those who have been very familiar with Bali, I just need to mention Sisterfields or Monsieur Spoon Seminyak, then it's just a hand-flip to search for the location. I named it 'mini' as the space's indeed very tiny, perhaps only able to accommodate less than 10 people in total, already combining the indoor and outdoor area. Based on my wild guess, it's indeed designed mostly for take-away or simply to accompany the people who're queuing for either Sisterfields or Bossman. Honestly speaking, with this petite size, it's indeed not designed for spending long time. It would be just for having your caffeine crave satisfied, then left to another place. 

The design of the venue itself was very very simple, mainly themed with monochromatic color; dark and black. Nothing's fancy, nothing's too much. 

Starting the day with something moderately light for breakfast, my friends and I opted for their banana bread. It's the dish name which successfully captured my interest initially as it's said to be served with single-origin espresso butter. This catchy combination served made the dish winning against the other two which were also displayed in the showcase; Wonderboys (brownie cookies stuffed with flavored buttercream) and Filled Donuts. Hmm.. Espresso Butter... It's even hard for me to imagine the taste as it sounded very unique and rarely or even never be found before. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out as amusing as my thought as the banana bread itself was a bit too dry and the espresso flavor in the butter was quite minimum. 

Banana Bread with Single-Origin Espresso Butter (IDR 35k)
Then moving to the star of the place, the coffee. Using Expat's own house blend, Nomad, both the Cappuccino (IDR 35k) and the Piccolo (IDR 35k) were basically representing the blend of three Indonesian coffee; Arche Gayo from Sumatra and two local Balinese beans from Kintamani. Decorated with various gorgeous latte arts by the talented and friendly barista, this cup couldn't look more appealing.

Hot Cappuccino / White 6 oz (IDR 35k)
Hot Cappuccino / White 6 oz (IDR 35k)
Hot Piccolo / White 4 oz (IDR 35k)
Hot Piccolo / White 4 oz (IDR 35k)
Coming to the after-sip part, I personally preferred the coffee to have bolder taste as it's quite too milky for my palate. The aroma also needed to be slightly stronger to make it a more indulging cup. Well, perhaps for my taste bud, the piccolo was executed better than the cappuccino as it's closer to my expectation. Yet, I did expect something beyond this cup ;). And if your palate was caffeine intolerant, actually they did serve Hot Chocolate - 6oz (IDR 45k), the one held by my friend in the picture below. For me who fancied my hot chocolate coming in stronger dark chocolate flavor, this was quite too light, but who knew if you might prefer this version :) 

Having this strategic location, I'm quite confident that Expat will be well-noticed by the people passing by. As I desired more improvement on the coffee, in the end I would say good luck and keep the success sustainable. Hopefully I could get back sometime soon to try their main breakfast menu :)

Taste: 7.5/10
Place: 7/10
Service: 8.5/10
Price: 7.5/10

Thanks for Reading! :)

Address: Jl. Kayu Cendana Blok C003, Seminyak, Bali
Operating Hours: Mon - Sun 7am - 5pm

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

KAUM, The Genuine Indonesian Taste

The group of Potato Head beach club now spread its wings to a 180-degree different type of cuisine, serving authentic Indonesian dishes at its new restaurant, Kaum. Located just at the second floor of the existing Potato Head at Seminyak, Kaum's Bali outlet's actually the second one after the initial outlet in Hongkong. 

Having the desire to emphasize the genuine concept of our country Indonesia, the venue was designed with several touch points showing traditional Indonesian remarks. Walls with Torajan wood carvings (known as pa’sura or “the writing”), ethic ceramic tablewares by Gaya, and most importantly the long communal table in the centre which invited the guests to experience the traditional family-style manner of Indonesia’s tribes. Yes, simply said the togetherness, which has always made me fell in love with this special value our beautiful country consistently held across generations. 

Besides delivering the strong ambiance of Indonesian culture, the venue itself had several eye-catchy corners, including the saddle, the helmet, and the horsetail without the horse-rider, located at the entrance, just right after the staircase. Sitting at the restaurant, the guest could also enjoy the panoramic scenery of the private pool and the private beach belong to Potato Head. Such a breathtaking one, especially at sunset time. 

Though the dishes served were all Indonesians, this didn't stop the tourists to dine in here as well. At my visit, I did see some tables occupied by non-Indonesians, even the Westerners. Yeah, Kaum's mission to introduce Indonesian traditional cuisines to the entire world's apparently attained here. 

Offering casual semi fine dining concept, the service given was top-notch, having the waiters and waitresses being highly responsive to every single request raised. Kaum did require to provide such service remembering that the foreign guests might be unaware of Indonesian dishes and therefore needed the close guidance from the restaurant crews.

When my friends and I reached the place, we were craving for something refreshing as it's pretty dry despite the light rain. Going mainstream, I opted for Coconut Water (IDR 50k), which for sure never went wrong, especially with that hint of lime. Then the turn of the 'more adventurous' group, who went for the mocktails. The duo chosen were Rocket Juice (IDR 65k) and Indo Calypso (IDR 65k), which were basically strawberry-pomegranate and mango-pineapple blend, respectively. I tried neither of them, yet my friend did comment on both. The first one was okay, yet not that special as the strong flavor was coming from the strawberry. Nonetheless, the second one captured my friend's interest as it's quite unique especially the grated nutmeg toppings which enriched the flavor. 

Coconut Water (IDR 50k)
Indo Calypso (IDR 65k) 
Mango,  citrus,  pineapple, sugar cane juice with grated nutmeg toppings
Rocket Juice (IDR 65k) 
Strawberry, pomegranate juice, citrus,  rosella syrup

Urutan Babi Sambal Bawang (IDR 75k)

In Bali, even appetizer could contain pork. Yes, this supposed to be the light bites to start the big feast. Too fancy? Exactly what I thought, it's indeed heaven on earth to be able to have sautéed Balinese pork sausage as starter. Served with spicy shallot & red chili, it was slightly spicy, giving a little surprise on the tongue before we started with the heavy meals. 

Terong Balado (IDR 65k)

Fancying some veggie? Don't shake your head prior to trying this sautéed eggplant by KAUM. Again coming with garlic, shallot, and red chili sauce, this veggie was a healthy indulgence and even turned to be one of my most favorites from KAUM. I could say that KAUM has successfully brought this simple Indonesian veggie, which was usually served at simple depot, to the next level both in terms of taste and quality.  

Ayam Betutu Klungkung (IDR 225k)

First time looking at the dish, I had no idea why but it reminded me of The Ugly Swan. LOL. Yeah, honestly admitted, it wasn't the most beautiful dish ever, and it's even quite pale to be snapped. Nonetheless, appearance didn't matter for this one as unexpectedly, it turned to be the most favorite of almost all my friends. Different from the common Betutu, which usually came in soup, this one was providing slowly roasted whole baby chicken wrapped in banana leaf. The aroma impeccably hypnotized all of us as you could strongly smelled rich combination of spices in it. No wonder why, the stuffing was indeed a surprise, as it mixed Balinese various herbs. Perfect representative of Indonesian dishes' rich blend of flavors. Once it came to taste, the aroma was proven to be honest. The chicken was juicy and tender, and indeed so flavorful including the stuffing.

Udang Bakar dengan Pacri Nanas (IDR 280k)

Look at those jumbo prawns! You definitely lay if you said you weren't drooling. Even from the picture you could tell how fresh they were and how indulging the taste was. Simply said, that blissful chewy texture of the prawn in each bite, faultlessly combined with the sour, sweet, and spicy taste from the pickled  spicy pineapple sauce. Voila!

Nasi Goreng Cabe Asap (IDR 130k)

Wondering where's the carbo? No worries guys, it's right there on the table as well and this time, it's seafood. YEAY! Yeah, as I was originally from Makassar, the city which's very famous for its seafood, thereby my excitement was always boosted once I heard of it. One more thing, my hometown's people were indeed created with special palate having very high tolerance on spiciness. Thus, this blend of chili paste, fresh prawns, fermented krill, lemon basil, and stinky beans, couldn't go more flawless in spoiling my taste bud. When fried rice was served warm, I could rarely find it go wrong and that's exactly what I found in this dish.        

Sambal Mbe (IDR 30k)

What's so special with Indonesian genuine dish, which could hardly be found in any other countries? If you just said sauce or dipping, you couldn't go more right. The signature characteristic of most Indonesian palates was indeed spiciness-tolerant. And when we were talking about sauce or dipping or what so called 'sambal', it's never something simple since the ingredients blended were always heterogeneous. KAUM again raised this uniqueness in their menu, by serving various types of sauces, coming from different areas in Indonesia. The one I tried was their Sambal Mbe, the burning combination of fried crispy shallot, garlic, red chili, kaffir lime leaves, and coconut oil. Born in Makassar, where people ate almost anything with chili, this hot Sambal Mbe has doubtlessly satisfied my palate, which highly fancied anything spicy.
Klappertaart (IDR 75k)

Having spoiled the tongue with mostly savory dishes, now it's the turn to 'neutralize' it with sweets. Yeps, just another excuse from my mind, which did require desserts after any meals. From the various selections provided under the dessert tab in the menu, my friends and I chose to go with the two most favorite. First one was the Klappertaart, which for me didn't look any Klappertaart at all. Nonetheless, please don't get me wrong. Regardless the fact that it was quite different from the common one, this set of coconut bread  pudding, chocolate meringue, and rhum-soaked raisins was a delightful one with its moist texture, right sweetness, and strong rhum touch. The coconut taste in the pudding was actually not that bold, yet luckily the coconut sorbet came as the perfect complement, ensuring this Klappertaart didn't miss its coconut flavor.

Kacang Mete Karamel (IDR 75k)

When you heard of the name initially, what came into your mind? If you had the same thought as mine, you might think it's kind of nougat. Just nodded your head? Then you're partly correct, but great news, this dessert gave you more than that. This 'nougat' was actually served on top of delicious tart base, accompanied by special Bedugul vanilla  ice cream. The 'nougat' itself was a marriage of ingredients from various places in Indonesia; blending Flores cashew nuts and Amed  sea salt together with caramel and coconut shortbread. The flavor totally blew my mind away, so so so good that my friends and I finished it in just a blink.

Kopi Martini (IDR 130k)

Finally arriving at the last dessert, which perfectly closed our Indonesian big feast on that day. Hmm, I didn't know if I was right calling it dessert, as it's actually cocktail. At first my friends and I were in the dilemma if we should go for this Kopi Martini. Yet our curiosity was bigger than our doubt, making us end up having this blend of kettle vodka and coffee bean infused arak, Mexican coffee liqueur, double shot of espresso, and a dash of spiced sugar syrup. Though I preferred it to be slightly less sweet, I loved the combination of liqueur served in this cocktail glass. Beautiful end of the day!

Overall, I was completely mesmerized by my dining experience in KAUM. For me, it has efficaciously made Indonesia proud by bringing all the traditional cuisines of our country to the level that worth to be respected. Suprise surprise, being well-accepted in both Hongkong and Bali, Kaum will soon come to its next destination, our beloved capital city Jakarta, next May 2017. Resided in the heart of the city, Menteng, I'm really excited waiting for the grand opening, when I can get reunited with Kaum's palatable Indonesian dishes.

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

Thanks for Reading! :)

Address: Jl. Petitenget No. 51B, Seminyak, Bali
Phone: (+62 361) 300 7990 
Operating Hours: Mon - Sun 12pm - 4pm, 5pm - 11.30pm

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Fat Shogun, where Japanese Meets Peruvian

Call it a coincidence, kinda funny yet it's indeed the reality. Last Saturday, I visited Atico by Javanegra, the brand new Spanish restaurant residing in Menara BTPN Mega Kuningan. Then the next day, I again came to exactly the same place, righnt next to Atico, Fat Shogun. No, it's not because I noticed Fat Shogun when I went to Atico. I knew that Fat Shogun's there in Menara BTPN, yet I didn't know the exact spot where it's located. The restaurant's actually quite hidden as when you went out of the elevator, Atico's right in front of you, while for reaching Fat Shogun, you had to walk passing the alley and it's at the end of it. I finally came here as my friend, @whats_up_jakarta, kept nagging me to come there with him as he fell in love at the first sight with the design of this one-month-old restaurant when he looked at its picture. 

The arrays of Japanese-temple-alike gates stood at the center of the venue as well as the knight paintings covering some of the walls showed how they tried to give Japanese touch on the concept. Those gates did remind me of the signature orange-colored ones available at almost all temples in Japan, particularly Kyoto. The squared-wooden walls strengthened the Japanese theme in the design. Nevertheless, it's indeed not the traditional Japanese one like typical restaurants in Japan where black and brown became the most dominant colors and the lighting was so dim. Fat Shogun went oppositely with huge windows covering the venue, allowing natural light to come in, gorgeously blended with its marble tables and grey sofas. 

The outdoor area didn't fail to amuse me with its mainly wooden decoration. If only the building was not surrounded by skyscrapers, it must have served mind-blowing scenery. Nonetheless, it was still nice to be able to enjoy such relaxing venue, escaping for awhile from the hectic Jakarta regardless the location was actually at one of the capital city's busiest spots.

Bringing the tagline of 'Nikkei Rediscovered', Fat Shogun has successfully stolen my curiosity to figure out what's actually the meaning behind it. When I did a little information research about this new kid on the block, I then got exposed to the interesting fact causing it called itself as Nikkei, which actually meant Japanese emigrants and their descendants who have actually been people with mixed-racial as they're moving out from Japan and got married to people from other origin countries. Basically, Fat Shogun was indeed serving the fusion of Japanese and Peruvian dishes; being the pioneer in Jakarta as none has ever come with such combination before. 

Listening to this distinctive fact, I believe you're now getting more excited to know what they actually served. The first time my friends and I were looking at the menu, we actually got confused since the food menu was only a one-page list, while the drink menu was a thick book with quite many pages. We then questioned the waiter and he told us that yes, they did want to bring the concept of bar and lounge as well here, thereby they served lots of options for drinks. This reminded me of my good old time in Japan, where the people did love to move from one restaurant to another, just for having more and more drinks. Well, might be Fat Shogun did want to serve the Japanese habit of drinking as well here. However, there was actually another reason behind the limited choice of foods served. It's because they're still on their soft opening and hence, they would serve much more at the grand opening, which would come at January next year. 

Having to make the decision on what to order with limited variances provided, we let the waiter came up with several recommendations on their most favorite ones. Luckily, he was so patient in answering us when we then asked the details on each of the dishes he mentioned (*two thumbs of for you, mas!*). 

Fat Shogun Iced Tea (IDR 35k)

Despite the continuous rain in the last few days, the weather was still very humid, making me always felt that it's hot and I was almsot always thirsty. Thus, I looked for refreshing thirst-quencher and my option fell to this specialty iced tea of Fat Shogun. Basically, it blended several fruits, including strawberry, lemon, and apple, with tea. It was a very satisfying one for me, not only the taste, but also the size. Perfect choice for drink!

Red Shogun (IDR 50k)

My sister opted for mocktail and her choice was Red Shogun, the one serving soursop sorbet as its main ingredient. It was quite a unique one since I quite rarely met mocktail bringing soursop as its component. It was quite a nice one, though it was quite too sweet for my palate and I would prefer it to come with more ice cubes to neutralize its sweetness. However, my sister loved it so much.

Unagi Fideua (IDR 150k)

Squid ink pasta served with unagi? Such a distinctive one! Hearing about it for the first time, I immediately decided I should go for it. Usually, the squid ink pasta was combined with either squid or prawn, yet this one came with unagi; must be an interesting one to try. Don't judge the dish by its appearance please, yes, it might look black and not appealing, yet wait till you had a try on it. 

Despite the fact that I didn't find any particular taste from the squid ink, the fettuccine was cooked al dente and the mixture of savory and spicy taste was so luscious. The key highlight was surely those big chunks of Unagi. Before the dish was served on the table, I initially thought this pasta was quite pricey but once I looked at the thick grilled eel slices, the price paid was absolutely worthy. The eel was flawlessly seasoned and the texture was mind-blowing, literally melt in the mouth!

Nagoya Bowl (IDR 125k)

If you were more into rice than pasta, Nagoya Bowl was surely you. Serving the same generous size of unagi, yet on top of rice in a hot stone. As the companion, there was broth and seaweed as well to be enjoyed with the rice, just like Japanese hitsumabushi. Another taste bud spoiler, just with different type of carbo.

Fatsho Roll (IDR 150k)

Named quite similar to the restaurant's name, this roll boosted my friend's eagerness to try it regardless the waiter's recommendation on the Loco Maguro. Though the waiting time was quite long prior to having the two sushi rolls on the table, the stunning presentation cured the irritation. No wonder they did take long time to serve the dish. I guessed the chef paid attention to every single detail when setting up the sushi roll. The arrangement was so complicated, successfully giving impeccable view on the plate. Beautiful blend of colors from the fresh tuna and salmon standing side by side. Having it first, quite palatable one, but not till I tried the next one.

Loco Maguro (IDR 160k)

Another sushi roll to try, the one that kept being recommended by the waiter as the most favorite among the sushi rolls. It's such a fortune that we in the end trusted him and ended up ordering the dish, otherwise it would be such a regret. This wonderfully looking dish was super duper good! Hands up to this awesome combination of aburi salmon and spicy tuna, perfectly executed by Fat Shogun. Admirable look, mesmerizing flavor super fresh seafood! Slightly burning my taste bud with its little-bit spiciness, it's certainly rich mixture of seasonings. This roll would unquestionably occupy the first line on my list of dishes to try from Fat Shogun as well as my list of most favorite sushi rolls.  

Honestly speaking, I was initially quite reluctant when my friend asked me to come here as I indeed have quite high standard for Japanese dishes since I've tried the authentic ones in Japan and that makes my palate demands the same taste and quality. Therefore, when people asked me to try new Japanese restaurant, I was always not that excited till there's someone saying it did serve succulent foods. Since Fat Shogun's still very new, we haven't heard any review yet about it, making me not that interested to go there. Surprisingly, tons of thanks to @whats_up_jakarta for kept insisting to come here. Every single dishes served on the table was not only amusing in terms of presentation, but also the taste. I will surely come back here, especially on their grand opening, where I believe they'll serve much more dishes to spoil my taste bud ;)

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

Thanks for Reading! :)

Address: Menara BTPN R Floor, Mega Kuningan, Jakarta
Phone: (+62) 2295 8196
Operating Hours: Sun - Thu 11am - 00am, Fri - Sat 11am - 2am

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