Friday, June 30, 2017

La.Ku, Pastries and Coffee in A Simple Homey Space


Special for this, I was writing from my home town, and about a cafe in my home town as well. It's been years since the last time I wrote about the food guide of Makassar. The reason was simply that every time I went home, I just spent my time enjoying the nostalgic moment with all the foods I terribly missed that I didn't think much of taking pictures and wrote anything about them. Another reason was that the best ones were indeed not photogenic LOL. I still believed that most of the traditional ones which I couldn't move on from, were served in definitely not fancy places. 

OK never mind, because this time it might not be totally the case. I couldn't get more wow-ed when I first spotted this coffee shop being posted by my friend. My impression was like 'What?? My hometown seemed to get cooler lately!'. Yeah, the booming trend of coffee shops and bistros, exactly like what's happening in Jakarta, Surabaya, and the other main cities in Indonesia. It's just like another coffee shop was born every single month or perhaps week. 

Not only the branded ones using franchise concept, but also the locals being established by the citizens, including La.Ku. Being said as established in 2011, actually I hadn't been aware of this brand before it finally opened this coffee shop nearby the two most well-known icons of Makassar, Pantai Losari and Fort Rotterdam. I guesstimated that it used to be home-based pastry and cake seller, but now they had the physical outlet for dine-in as well. 

I was beyond excited going home this time as I had more time to spend, meaning more time to visit this 'happening' coffee shops as well! Finally the day came and I met up with my high school buddies there. Arriving at the venue, I figured out it's packed with people and there's only one vacant table for two. Indeed it's a very petite one, only having approximately 5 small round tables in the indoor space and 2 tables right in front of the place. The tiny shop as well as the color brought by the design somehow reminded me of Animo Bakery in Jakarta, sadly I forgot to capture the front view so I couldn't show it here. Besides, it did offer various pastries and cakes at highly affordable prices, adding more similarities with Animo. What a funny-yet-real coincidence!

The interior was very simple, mainly white and tosca with some easy wall decoration. At one of the corner, there stood the chiller in which the cakes were lining up next to each other. Next to it was the pastry and bread display, being there to make everyone spotting at it got drooling. While most of them were 'shown live', there were also some brunch dishes being made-to-order and only listed on the menu. 

Despite the simple outlet La.Ku had, I was kinda amazed they actually employed quite many people as waiters/waitresses. I had no idea how many was behind the wall (read: kitchen), yet I assumed it would be more or less the same number, looking at the high turnover of the shop, both for those dined-in and took-home, let alone the phone or online order. 

Having many employees alone wouldn't solve anything without them being nimble, but no worries as that's not the case for La.Ku. All of them were so friendly, immediately offering their assistance right after you opened the entrance door for the first time. As it's my premiere visit there and I was a beginner for their products, thereby I asked tons of questions to solve my typical dilemma when about to place my order. What I liked was the prompt response they had when they're unable to explain the ingredients, they directly reached their more-experienced colleague to help me finding it out. Great teamwork there, buddies! ;)

I was quite lucky that I came with several friends so we could pick our orders as per our preference, then after that we could try each other's, well yeah, no deny, sharing's indeed caring!

Croque Madame (IDR 60k)
For the ones who're not reading my blog post for the very first time, you might have understood me well that I loved sweets more than savory, desserts more than full courses. So you might have guessed it right, if you had  known this wasn't my pick, but my friend's instead. Nevertheless, I wouldn't lie that breakie menu with egg-based and having tons of cheese, particularly mozzarella like this, would always cause me turn to be a lame. I unquestionably was very excited to try when my friend offered her dish to be shared by all of us on the table. 

Honestly it's a pretty simple one, just like typical croque madame, with slices of toast stuffed with corned beef and generous mozzarella cheese, then topped with half-done sunny side up. I did have my yolk being perfectly runny so the combination of texture was flawless. The 'generous' word was to be emphasized there, pretty much to represent my big crush on cheese that made me highly appreciate the generosity in giving this particular component. Overall, though I couldn't say this dish had something special in particular to make it stood out compared to other common ones, it was a delicious one. 

Tuna Croissant (IDR 40k)

This was another one from the made-to-order dish list. It wasn't displayed like other simple croissants. Basically, it was well-seasoned shredded tuna layer in between the flaky house-made croissant. It was an indulging one as the tuna was quite abundant making the pennies paid did worth the quantity. The croissant itself was lovely having fragrant buttery aroma to spoil the palate of the eaters. Besides, the complementary elements like fresh veggies not only added extra healthy elements in your dish, but also increased the indulgence.

Nutella Croissant (IDR 30k)

Yeah, now it came to my turn - the sweet part! The first was Nutella croissant, which you actually could find there sitting next to the other croissant and danish with different fillings and toppings. We could still enjoy it warm as all the pastries would be re-heated before served, unless you requested them not to do so. This was another delightful one, as the batter was actually the same with the previous savory variant, and as you might have thought, who on earth could resist Nutella? If only I could have more Nutella in my croissant, I would definitely be the loyal customer to it.

Red Velvet - Chocolate Devil Cake (IDR 25k)

Spotting the chiller, there were cupcakes, eclairs, Paris Brest, and several options of sliced cakes. The 3 available ones were Chocolate Devil, Red Velvet, and the combination of both, serving the cake with red and chocolate layers. In a glimpse, it looked similar to Izakaya Kai's, yet if you looked carefully to the detail, they actually quite differed. 

When the appearance told the distinction, so did the ingredients. Indeed La.Ku's version didn't use components like Rhum, however considering that the price was highly affordable, it was definitely understandable. The taste was quite good, being not overly sweet, only that the texture was slightly dry. The creme de la creme was surely the chocolate coating on top and at the side part, which came in bold and succulent dark chocolate flavor. Yummy taste, huge size, friendly price; couldn't be a better deal!

Hot Piccolo (IDR 20k)

As I hadn't tried much coffee coming from Makassar's coffee shops, I took this chance to give a try on their Piccolo. It's pretty weird that it's served in Espresso cup, meaning the doze was also smaller than general piccolo. Having my first sip, I knew this wasn't my cup of joe, not because it's acidic or too light, but due to the bitterness level that exceeded my palate's acceptance level. For the next visit, I guessed I would go for either cappuccino or latte, the ones with more milk content; who knew if I might end up loving either of them.

Coconut Mint Mojito (IDR 45k)

Fortunately my friends and I had another drink order, coming in sharing-jug portion. From the selections, we picked this blend of coconut, lime, mint, and soda, as we desired something refreshing. For those who might haven't tried this one, it's highly recommended, but you might need to share it as the size was quite huge. The taste was addicting, combining the natural sweetness from coconut and additional one from sugar, but not to the 'too-much' level. The slightly sour flavor from the lime and the fresh hint from the mint well-balanced the prior ingredients. Perfect closing to the meet-up over coffee and pastries!

It was such an enchanting dining session at La.Ku, not only because I was able to meet-up with friends after long long time, but also due to the nice companion served on the table and the pampering ambience to be enjoyed in the middle of our nice chats. 

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

Thanks for reading! :)

Address: Jl. Ujung Pandang No. 4, Makassar (across Fort Rotterdam)
Phone: (+62) 81 355 619 770
Operating Hours: Sun to Fri 7am - 8pm, Sat 8am - 9pm

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Peloton Supershop, the Single Stop for Dining and Shopping

As my last post talked about Bali, I decided to continue with another Bali blog post. If I previously shared about Seminyak, this time I moved a little bit further to Canggu. I knew most of you must have been there especially with the lately hype cafes mostly being established around this area. 

Again similar to Australia, they seemed to have super-good work-life balance for all the employees as they opened early in the morning (and when I said early, most of them were literally early like 7-8am in the morning) and closed earlier as well before the sun set. Thereby, it's highly recommended to start your day earlier when you're about to come here and explored a lot of places. Especially, most cafes were pretty tiny, meaning they could only accommodate limited number of people so did expect queuing for getting a seat, particularly if you're visiting new ones. 

This time the turn went to Peloton Supershop, a cafe as well as a bicycle shop. Perhaps you have noticed that currently there were increasing amount of similar coffee shops in Jakarta, especially at South area, whose owners were mostly cyclists. It suddenly became the trending habit that cyclists went for morning exercise together then continued having their morning coffee at those particular cafes.

Nevertheless, Peloton was actually slightly different from those available in Jakarta. It offered something special, which you might still rarely be able to find in our beloved capital city, Vegan Cafe. Some of you might be familiar with this term, especially if you've been to one of them in Bali or perhaps many of them overseas, yet I did believe many people were still wondering what vegan cafe actually meant and what they served. 

Carrying out the vegan concept, this cafe which would be 2 years old in October, basically serving all dishes made of natural ingredients mainly plants. However, that didn't mean they only served salad and fruits, as they did serve menu like common cafes, just that they substituted the meat-based ingredients with similar ones made of fruits and veggies. Some of them even had exactly the same texture and very similar taste that you wouldn't even really notice in case you're not immediately told that they're not meat or dairy products. 

Before going further into the meal I had, I would share a little bit about the cozy space that I fell into at my premiere visit. The cafe itself wasn't that huge, just like the other common cafes in Canggu. Entering the front door, you would first meet the open-kitchen where they had the 'live performance' of the chefs handcrafting some of the dishes like salad/taco/burito as all the ingredients were mostly displayed there. Then turning left, there were the shop selling any equipment hunted by cyclists, and then the cafe area. There was actually no such thing like big communal table as most of the visitors were also small group of people or even individuals; yeah as expected, many of them were foreign tourists who might go for their single-trip so no wonder that's the fact. Though the size wasn't that 'huge huge', they were open for events as well, but more into the open-space one.  

The same thing was seen at the second floor in terms of the table capacity. Actually the are of the second level wasn't as huge as the first one since it's only half of the building itself. Some people might prefer to sit here since they could enjoy the semi-open air space as it's designed to be like a balcony. They did have the long-tall table where people could enjoy their healthy meals while having the view from the surrounding or what so called "people watching" nowadays.

Mentioning about decoration, actually the key highlight was the 'transparent venue' as it's mostly covered by glass windows especially the first storey. This made the indoor space became naturally bright, and thus the marble furniture used there looked more elegant. Some plants were put at several corners to give earthy ambience to the space. Not to forget, there were also cycling stuffs displayed here and there, which made you completely got that it was also a shop besides a cafe.

Serving foods and drinks made of organic ingredients, I guessed most of them could still be called as in affordable price range, starting from IDR 50k up to IDR 85k. The menu could be further divided into 2 big groups; breakfast and lunch. At 8am - 12pm, the first group was there, mostly served healthy bowls ranging from savory to sweet ones, toast, and burito. Meanwhile later at 12pm to closing time, they provided lunch menu, mostly wraps, tacos, buritos, vegan pasta, as well as special Balinese traditional rice which definitely was vegan as well. The distinctive one was probably the salad lunch menu, which had quite rich varieties, each of which consisted generous mix of ingredients. If you came in group, sharing menu was also available. I could see the excitement as well as dilemma on the face of the healthy-dish lover now *giggling*.

Hot Cappuccino (IDR 30k)
Walking from the prior cafe I visited to Peloton, you might be able to imagine how badly I was in demand for something to drink. There were actually quite mountainous options, ranging from light and refreshing types like organic tea, mocktails, and kombucha (fermented tea); up to the heavy and fulfilling ones like smoothies and fresh juices. Those who fancied healthy shots would get their craving being satisfied here as well and great thing, they had several choices delivered for the shots. 

Having told you quite long story there, my option actually fell on their coffee. Yeah, I heard they served organic coffee, making me wonder how it would taste as I was a first-timer for this. The beans were sourced from the infamous Revolver cafe, yet the house milk was the element differentiating this cup. It's unquestionably non-dairy one, for which Peloton served coconut milk. The guests had the option to replace it with almond or soy milk with extra charge of IDR 10k. 

Thinking that coconut milk was kinda anti-mainstream, I went for it. The texture was much thicker than the cappuccino served with normal full-cream milk or skimmed milk. It's even kinda heavy for me and the coconut milk taste quite overpowered the coffee flavor in the cup. It might be the matter of preference but my palate surely still voted for the common dairy one. Nonetheless, nothing's wrong with trying, wasn't it?

Ms. Jackson Taco (IDR 65k)

With continuous dining rally my sister and I had in prior to arrive at Peloton, we're seeking for something not too heavy here. Looking that taco was one of the dishes listed on the menu, we then had it as our order and our choice was Ms. Jackson, the one served with marinated BBQ jackfruit as the replacement of the protein component. The texture was similar to either pulled beef or pulled pork, which usually got paired with taco. Regardless that all the ingredients were natural ones, the taste was surprisingly succulent, being flavorful at each bite. The cabbage, avocado, and coriander impeccably complemented the whole dish as they didn't only make the presentation looking good with combination of colors, but also adding more flavor into the meal itself. The rain of tropical salsa and cashew sour cream on top of my fat chipotle pepper tortilla that had been stuffed with tons of elements, were certainly extra excitement for the taste bud. This was absolutely my drug from Peloton, for which I would come back over and over again!

Being a first-timer for vegan brunch, I was astonished by the palatable taste of the dish! I might even say that I couldn't really notice it's vegan menu if I hadn't known it initially. One core competence Peloton might own was the ability to request for your own personalized menu by choosing the base - either rice/taco/others - then mixing the ingredients as what you desired. Final sayings, happy trying! :)

Taste: Food (8.5/10) / Coffee (7.5/10)
Place: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Price: 7.5/10

Thanks for reading! :)

Address: Jl. Raya Pantai Berawa No. 46, Canggu, Bali
Phone: (+62) 859 5413 1451
Operating hours: Mon - Sun 7.30am - 4.30pm (Juice Bar), 8am - 4pm (Kitchen)

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Kimsoo Home, from A Well-known Homeware to a Hype Cafe

Starting as a homeware and furniture shop, Kimsoo has been long well-known in Bali, but definitely not as a cafe. I still remember the time I visited Bali when Kimsoo hadn't established its cafe, accompanying my friend looking at tableware. It was such a unique shop, which I might haven't met before in Jakarta, providing items in vintage and classic design. 

The not-sizable shop wasn't only packed with stuffs being displayed, but also people walking around. All the alleys were mostly very narrow since they tried to show the combination of stuffs they sold into the real setting like bedroom, dining table, etc. 

The back space was doubtlessly the most favorite spot of majority of the guests since it provided the photogenic petite pool and park-benches just besides it. There's also the currently trending white stairs where almost all people visiting Kimsoo must have taken picture at. Yeah, I guessed people were delighted by the fact that Kimsoo allowed the guests to come inside, take pictures freely, and even experienced using some of the items they're actually selling. Just a note, this was applicable for all guests, regardless you're only coming for the cafe or for the homeware shop as well. 

Talking about the cafe, actually this visit when I could finally dine in there, wasn't my initial one. I had been there for the cafe  at my previous visit to Bali months before this one, yet it's already late in the afternoon and hence they're already closed. Not repeating the same mistake, at this particular one, I intentionally came early in the morning. Besides, I did hear that the venue's usually having very high occupancy rate so it might be hard to get vacant seats particularly in busy hours. 

Arriving there, I was kinda surprised that it's already that crowded at early morning. Luckily I could still get the seat at the outdoor area, which was actually located at the front space of the shop. Most tables there were only able to accommodate a group of five at max in my guesstimate. It's nice to sit at this corner since you could enjoy breathing the fresh air while watching the people passed-by. 

While the outdoor space was mainly white and minimalist, it's somehow the opposite for the indoor one. It's mostly dark brown with more ethnic touch. The long bar table standing at the right side as well as the huge round table at the center of the venue displayed various cakes to be enjoyed as either coffee companion, main meals for high tea session, or simply desserts to close the full-course.

Bali's always a paradise to me for domestic trip. Simply said, it's like you'd never get bored of it. Besides it always came up with something new to mesmerize everyone, the hospitality of the people was top notch, being very friendly and helpful to any tourists and locals. Not to exclude here in Kimsoo, where the waiters were very nimble, immediately giving a warm welcome to any guests coming in. They're also very knowledgeable and passionate in explaining the top recommendations based on your preference. 

My other crush on Bali would definitely be the brunch menu which was something not far from what I could get in Australia. Great stuff, wasn't it? At least I didn't have to spend a lot to get an indulging breakie on my dining table since it's much closer to home. 

Pittaya Bowl (IDR 49k)
When I mentioned that the menu was Australia's brunch alike, it didn't put an exception on either sweet or savory; it was a total package of both! You could even get rich variants from the appetizer, main course, till dessert. 

Every time it came to Bali trip, one of my biggest excitement would be the smoothie-bowl breakfast. There might be abundant places serving it already in Jakarta, yet I still thought very limited of them serving the palatable one. When I discovered that Kimsoo did serve it though only few variants were provided, I knew this was the perfect choice to go for in the middle of this hot sunny day. 

As expected, the presentation itself already looked so appealing with combination of colors, just like typical smoothie bowl. Having my first spoon, it both satisfied my hunger as well as quenched my thirst as the blended cold dragon fruit which came as the base was so refreshing. The natural sweet taste which was further complemented by other fruit cuts like strawberries and banana made me got terrifically spoiled by my meal with less guilt feeling as I knew what I ate was clean and healthy. The mixture of chia seed, granola, as well as shredded coconut made this bowl delivered complete play of textures, from the silky, chewy, to the crunchy one. Such an impeccable and healthy choice to start the day!

Hot Cappuccino (IDR 29k)

Though I might go for something refreshing for the meal, I still couldn't stop myself from having my morning caffeine doze though it might not be as restorative as having cold juices or smoothies. Well yes, I preferred it to be hot as well since it's my very first coffee cup of the day (yeah, it's like mandatory natural rule set up in my mind starting the time I also didn't know exactly when). I did hear that the baristas were individually trained by the owner's Italian friend who had a coffee roastery, so I expected my cup would turn out awesome.

Perhaps due to the high benchmark I'd set in prior, I actually didn't get hitched by my coffee cup as much as it sounded in prior. It was slightly too milky for my coffee preference which demanded stronger body. I did forget to ask for double ristretto so kind of my fault as well ;) and probably would be a learning for me for what I should go for the next visit. The good thing was the clean finishing and no acid flavor, which were the other two important criteria I demanded for my coffee. 

For you who might have never been to Kimsoo and feel curious, I would say it's a recommended place to visit. I wasn't only enchanted by the healthy meal, but most importantly the cozy and natural ambience which might cause you an addiction to stay for long time.

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

Thanks for reading! :)

Address: Jl. Kayu Aya No. 21, Kerobokan Kelod, Kuta Utara, Bali
Phone: (+62) 813 5350 0985
Operating hours: Mon - Sun 7.30am - 5.30pm

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