Saturday, August 29, 2015

In Style Hong Kong Jakarta Celebrate with Walter Kei

You can always reach people's heart through food. That's why the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) invited celebrity chef Walter Kei to cook and introduce us his three signature dishes. The best one being Banana Brulee with Chinese Sticky Ball.
Chef Walter Kei's introduction
Held at Hong Kong Cafe as a part of In Style Hong Kong city wide promotion, the cooking demo (and competition) brought food bloggers together. Chef Walter Kei described Hong Kong cuisine as a mix of East and West. "Even though you know HongKong is mainly Chinese, but the food served are more of the contemporary Chinese cuisine because Hong Kong is a place that keeps moving and changing. Back in the early 90s, we're still a fishing village but in 1940s, we're already a melting pot."

The vibrant and friendly chef cooked three simple dishes: Beef Roll with Vegetables, Steamed Chicken with Chinese Mushroom and Banana Brulee with Chinese Sticky Ball. 

Beef Roll with Vegetables
"The Beef roll is inspired by Korean food and the idea of California roll. It's actually healthy because you're eating a lot of vegetables," he explained as he started making the rolls. The rolls are surprisingly easy to make with just shredded Cucumber, Carrot and Enoki Mushrooms bind together with Angus Beef Slices. The key of making this dishes is the mix of Korean chili paste, truffle oil and black pepper sauce which create an interesting and familiar Chinese flavor.

Then comes the main dish, Steamed Chicken with Chinese Mushroom, which Chef Walter described as "a simple concept with a twist." While the main ingredients are only chicken and mushroom, the list of seasonings used are far from few. Sesame Oil, Shaoxing (Chinese) wine, oyster sauce and light soy sauce are among them. "I realize Indonesian people takes food with strong flavors, but in Hong Kong, people just add a little bit of flavor. We also love steamed things."

Steamed Chicken with Chinese Mushroom
He does seem to have tons of energy and we're glad he decided to put them into cooking delicious dishes.

We figured with two healthy dishes, we can go all out for the dessert. A competition was held for the food bloggers, putting them into four different teams to create our own version of Banana brûlée. Seems easy, but there are a couple tricks to go with making the sticky ball and covering them with ground peanuts. The mochi-like peanut-butter-filled sticky balls are fun to make and is something you can easily do with your child. Just be careful with the torching. One tip from Chef Walter, if you want to have perfect caramelizing, the banana needs to be frozen for at least 24 hours. Then you can get that banana ice cream taste.

We even have to do our own plating and here's what we came up with.

Banana brûlée
Just like how celebrations are, we end the gathering with a party. Tables are filled with familiar Chinese foods like Steamed Prawn Dumplings (Ha Kau), Steamed Chicken & Prawn Dumpling (Siew Mai), BBQ Chicken Bun (Char Siew Pao), HK Crispy Fried Carrot Cake, and Fried Chicken Orange Sauce. 

Fried Chicken Orange Sauce
Steamed Prawn Dumplings (Ha Kau)
HK Crispy Fried Carrot Cake
We love the funny Chef Walter who described himself as a "lifestyle person" instead of just chef. The accidental chef recalled he started out with fashion before joining the culinary world. He joked how eating out is expensive so that's why he started cooking. Now, beside running a small gourmet, he went into writing, interior designing and also entrepreneurship.

Celebrating the In Style Hong Kong, which would be held on September 17 to 19 at Jakarta Convention Center, Hong Kong Cafe will serve the signature dishes of Chef Walter Kei along with other delicious food on their menu all month long in September. Check out what's happening in town at In Style Hong Kong Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you stop by and be a part of the style.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Your Comfort Food Reimagined at 1945 Fairmont

Fine dining at 1945 Fairmont turns out to be a pleasant surprise. Invitation arrived from the group who has Sate Khas Senayan and Tesate under its management, so our guess is this should be another Indonesian restaurant with unusual concept.

Welcome to 1945
The first impression? A minimalist interior with stones built similar to temples mixed with wooden element, something very Indonesian. At the door, friendly waitress with Kebaya, complete with their traditional hair bun and hair pin. Its lounge has asymmetrical short wooden table, wax decor and a pot full of one of the things Indonesia is famous for: Chili. At the end of the long tunnel, there is a long table with candle and janur kuning (literally translated as yellow coconut leaves, this traditional decor is usually placed outside to indicate celebrations happening inside a building or area). Definitely a mix of minimalist, luxury and modern feel.

At the dining room, a video showing historical clips of Indonesia's struggle for independence. On the carpet, there are numbers 1945 sewn into it. Tables from marbles with candle stick on every corner remind us of torches with a hint of contemporary through the red petals spreads on the table.

The feast begins with a Rijsttafel, or a rice table style of serving. Four waitresses arrive with two appetizers each, introducing the story and the name behind each dish. Emping (melinjo crackers) served with peanut sauce, steamed peanut and Kembang Goyang (Indonesian traditional snack made of flour). A twist on plating gave a different look and feel to the already familiar dishes for Indonesians. Each dish is served on custom crafted ceramic sets inspired by the traditional but created for the contemporary.

Four waitresses arrive with two appetizers each.

Emping with peanut sauce, steamed peanut and kembang goyang
Don't worry be thirsty after everything on the Rijsttafel. - Fruity Lime Granita Mulberry, shaved ice traditional with homemade syrup, is a childhood favorite with a sophisticated makeover.

Let's Check Out The Menu!

Also known as snack. Never know that Gorengan can be this delightful. Placed on a leaf mat, high-rise rempeyek (flour crackers with either salted fish or ground nuts) stands side-by-side with three-colored yam which are rich, crispy and tasty. Definitely a favorite. Bakwan (prawn fritters) comes with cabe rawit (chili) and smooth but thick peanut sauce dip.


Also known as satay, at 1945, the selections are from the best possible meat and seafood: Wagyu Beef, Chicken Oyster, Lamb Tenderloin. One portion consists of 8 skewers served on a unique bowl with hot charcoal underneath. Yin-Yang stone tray that can be attached to red-colored rice plate. As expected of satay, there are peanut sauce, sweet soy sauce and pickles. Give the lamb a try because it's soft and doesn't smell funny (a big kudos for lamb). But as always, soy sauce is preferred with lamb.

Pecel Kembang Salad grabs girls attention (probably something boys have to order when they have date here) due to its vibrant color and well, there are flowers. We think we spotted three kinds of flowers there: Begonia, Kembang Teleng (Blue Butterfly Pea) and Marigolds. All are mixed with greens including kemangi and cucumber. Rempeyek seems like a trend here. Even how you should eat this is real cool. First you have to mix them up together with the peanut sauce that is buried inside, then you mix it again with black sesame around the plate. It taste really good and the edible flowers got us to wonder a lot about the different taste and characteristics. Perfect collaboration of the sauce, tingly taste, sweet and sour.

But that's not all for opening. Oxtail Consomme is next. Stacked beautifully, the dish has meat, baby carrots, radish, and potato bowl. Soup is placed separately in an old-fashioned jar. Meat is soft and the soup is super tasty, makes you want to slurp some more.

Choose your Rice
Indonesia is identical with rice, especially when you're in Jakarta. Right before the main courses are served, waitresses went around to take everyone rice order from world-famous white rice, festivity's yellow rice and the healthy black (red) rice. Sambal Matah is also served at this time.

Main Course
Rejuvenate your meal with Rendang Wagyu. Served on top of cassava leaves with extra, extra paste. Yeay! It doesn't scream Wagyu right away but when you give it a try, you know it's not the ordinary meat used at Padang restaurant down the street. Super soft, definitely a high-quality beef. And such a beef can match perfectly with Rendang paste is a proof that Indonesian food can go as fancy. Cassava leaves aren't bitter (what a relief) and it's something to much on while talking with everyone on the table. The homemade and classic taste makes this dish worth the try.

Soft Tongseng Lamb Chop, fried with vibrant spices. It's another typical Indonesian stew dish which is packed with local spices and sweet soy sauce that makes the brown color on the soup. Curry sauce is very tasty. Rujak Chicken is boneless young chicken served with baby spinach and rujak sauce. Rujak usually refers a dish of fruits and vegetables mixed with sweet and spicy sauce. Its sauce is made of tamarind, palm sugar and ground nuts.

Tongseng Lamb Chop with three-colored rice
Rujak Chicken
The next dish is Lobster Pesmol Thermidor, stuffed-baked with golden, coconut milk-based sauce which is often found in West Java area. This sauce is often used for fish and other seafood. But with lobster? Well, a big fan of lobster, Fiona can guarantee that this particular dish is "to die for". Easily pulled the meat out of the shell, fresh and pesmol sauce apparently fit in. As Indonesian, rice is a must have, as a side dish.

Still on the seafood side, Gindara 1945 is a dish served with sweet terasi (shrimp paste) sauce. Soft and doesn't smell fishy. It's one dish that you can go over and over again without feeling guilty. The usually strong overpowering terasi blends well with the gindara.

Fried Rice
Lobster Fried Rice is cooked with curry is similar to Briyani Rice. Lobster is placed next to the rice that's cooked dry, just like what the traditional fried rice looks like. Nasi Goreng Kampung, the ones that's usually cooked by your mom (or the gerobak faithfully passing by late at night to ruin your diet) also received a boost.

With main courses like that, it's only fair to wonder what's the closing dishes look like. Nastar Cake arrived with a presentation as luxurious as expected. Fiona loves nastar, which is originally a pineapple-filled bite-size pastry, but when it comes out as cake, it loses the crispiness. How about extra crunch and a little more moist on the cake? Frozen Srikaya Souffle appears next. Imagine a large Srikaya-filled ongol-ongol topped with souffle and shredded coconut. Served with Pandan Sticky Rice on the side. Warm is definitely better. But, after an array of such a rich dishes, we expect more flavors on this one too. Srikaya and Pandan somehow taste too similar. 

Nastar Cake
Frozen Srikaya Souffle
Third time the charm. The last piece of dessert is arguably the best in town. Tape Cheesecake. Well, repeat after me, Tape Cheesecake. It's hard to imagine at first but once you give it a try, it's hard to stop. This cheesecake disappears at once. Fusing tape (fermented rice or cassava dessert) into the usually heavy cheesecake apparently balance the taste. Add on vanilla sauce and it soon becomes everyone's favorite dessert.

Tape Cheesecake
Final Thoughts?
Have to admit we're skeptical with the concept stated on the press release: Indonesian Fine Dining, elevating familiar dishes into exquisitely flavor and colorful creations. Indonesian food has always been comfort food and many admit its plating difficulty because, well, we used to eat them on the table regardless of how pretty their appearance can be. But our doubts, about whether Indonesian can enjoy this kind of fine dining concept with their comfort food, are instantly broken with 1945.

We'll bring our family here. It will be a new thing for them to experience. I think this concept will open everyone's eyes that Indonesian cuisine can get a revamp without compromising both the aesthetic aspects and authenticity.

Where is this?
Fairmont Hotel, 3rd Floor
Jl. Asia Afrika No.8 Jakarta - Indonesia
t: +62 21 2903 9179
f: +62 21 2903 9177
Opening hours:
Lounge 11.00 AM - 12.00 AM
Lunch 11.00 AM - 03.30 PM
Dinner 06.30 PM - 11.00 PM

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge Indonesia

We all have our moment, when a cup of tea means more than a warm drink in a rainy afternoon. Dilmah Indonesia took Real High Tea moments to the next level by bringing the concept to restaurants and cafes in Jakarta and Bandung. 

We're invited to attend the high-tea pairing (and dinner) at Dilmah Office in Panglima Polim last week.

Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge began in 2007 to restore the connection between tea and gastronomy. Quoting Dilhan C. Fernando, "Tea isn't just for your health or friendship, but it can also offer luxury, spoiling you with the beautiful combination with gastronomical art. This is also what Real High Tea Challenge Cafes and Restaurants trying to highlight."

Dilmah originated in Sri Lanka, a country with unique geography that enables them to grow the best tea in the world. The Watte series, consisting of four different black teas from four different regions in Ceylon. The teas are: Ran Watte (6000ft), Uda Watte (4000-5000ft), Meda Watte (2000-3000ft) and Yata Watte (1000ft). The higher the region, the lighter the color of the tea.

Returning the art of High Tea
In Indonesia, Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge Cafes and Restaurants is aimed to appreciate tea, moving the hype of nightlife to afternoon tea. Afternoon is slow business for most food business, but this challenge invited cafes and restaurants in Jakarta and Bandung to create special menu to be served as tea pairings. A great idea for the hospitality industry.

The challenge starts August 31 in Jakarta and September 7 in Bandung. Judges will visit the restaurants and cafe to judge the Hot Tea Pairing Dish, Mocktail or Cocktail Pairing Dish and Tea Inspired Cuisine.

The welcome drink is a tea mocktail
So, we were the first to try several pairings created by the Dilmah team. The savory mini burger paired with Brilliant Breakfast Tea. Cheesecake to go with Green Tea with Jasmine Flower. The last one is Chocolate Cake/Tiramisu with Moroccan Mint Green Tea. 

Mini burger paired with Brilliant Breakfast Tea

Cheesecake to go with Green Tea with Jasmine Flower

Chocolate Cake/Tiramisu with Moroccan Mint Green Tea
How do you make a perfect cup of tea? Boiled water to 100C and pour them right on your tea. Steep for 3-5 minutes and stir once. Add 1-2 minutes if you like them stronger. Make sure you keep the rest of your tea bags/leaves in an airtight container. Different kind of tea has different way of brewing as well as different water temperature.. The awesome thing about Dilmah is that you know how long you should steep your tea. It’s written in the handle. The Blueberry Vanila, for example, should be steeped between 3-5 minutes.

Drinking tea is often seen as something formal and serious (yes, even in Alice in the Wonderland it looks formal), but Eliawati Erly, Vice President David Roy Indonesia, encourages us that drinking tea should be fun! Make some ice tea, pair with your favorite food and get endless possibili-tea. 

So, come visit your favorite restaurant and vote for them by sharing your afternoon meal at social media. Go visit for details. We can't wait to tour around and try the pairings. We'll see you there soon.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Nusantara Food Festival at Grand Zuri BSD City

Saturday is time for culinary journey at Grand Zuri Hotel, BSD City. Serving food from Sabang to Merauke, the four-star hotel is educating its guests about the amazing (and of course delicious) Indonesian dishes with Nusantara Food Festival this August. What's not to love about them?

Hello, this is Ruth reporting from Cerenti Restaurant visit with fellow bloggers from Indonesia Food Bloggers (IDFB).


After a warm welcomed by Chef Robby, who started right away with the appetizers, we encounter Tahu Gimbal Semarang right next to lalapan. Gimbal is a shimp fried with flour. The dish is served with peanut sauce. You can find a lot of Gimbal sold alone by street vendors in Semarang or as the best friend of Tahu Pong. Okay, let's move on to another island.

Tahu Gimbal with Peanut Sauce
Rendang. Chef Robby invited a local Padangnese to cook the Rendang over trials and errors. The one served that night was one of the best Rendang I've ever tasted. Meat is soft, the color is right and the caramelized seasoning isn't too watery either. Provoking me to get up and add a scoop of white rice to finish the Rendang.

(L-R) Tahu Aci Tegal, Rendang, Ikan Woku and Terik Ayam
Terik Ayam is a Semarangan way to say Opor, chicken cooked with coconut milk and spices. Next to the chicken there's a fish dish from another island: Ikan Bakar Woku Manado. Chef Robby is using Gindara fillet which are cooked nicely with (again) spices and leaves. This dish is both fresh and spicy. If you like vegetables, give Genjer a try. Genjer (which according to wiki bears the Latin name of Limnocharis flava) is a tropical vegetable native to central and southern America but widely used in Southeast Asia.Despite being not a menu regular, stir-fried Genjer can often be found in Sundanese restaurants.

Moving on to the fried side, Tahu Aci Tegal is neatly stacked on the plate. Fried tofu filled with tapioca starch. A little chewy when bitten, this food has to be consumed fresh after fried.

When introducing Nasi Goreng Kampung, the chef quizzed us about the meaning behind the dish. "Nasi Goreng Kampung originated from the homemade fried rice. The first ones who made them are our mothers." It was spicy and caught us by surprised, but as Ruth once pointed out, spicy is the right flavor to cure your homesick, especially when you spend years studying abroad in a landlocked county. Mie Goreng Jogja is available for those wanting to avoid rice on dinnertime. 

"Our mission as chefs is to make people remember about our local culinary, about Indonesian food," said Chef Robby in the midst of explaining the different dishes.

But what's Indonesian food galore without Sambal? From what seems to be over the counter chili paste to the Colo colo spicy condiment brought from the Maluku region, Cerenti Restaurant has it all. Woku Fish can go with Dabu-dabu chili, while the rest can be paired with Sambal Terasi or Sambal Ijo.

Soto Betawi close the main food table. Served fresh when you order. But wait... before selecting your dessert, there's a secret counter for satay. BBQ is on the outside yard of the restaurant and that night, it was serving Satay Marrangi along with grilled chicken and fish fillet.


Dessert is sweet, from pudding to jajanan pasar. A beautifully decorated Colenak is on the spotlight. Colenak is a well-known Indonesian snack made of Tape (or Tapai), a fermented cassava with slightly alcoholic taste. Acquired taste for some, but hey, you're here to give those unique Indonesian taste a try. 

Assorted Jajan Pasar
All of these are available for Rp150,000 (nett) on weekends in August 2015 at Cerenti Restaurant, Grand Zuri BSD City. Let's visit now while it's last.

Where is this?
Cerenti Restaurant - Grand Zuri BSD City
Jl Pahlawan Seribu Kavling Ocean Walk
Blok CBD Lot.6 BSD City. Serpong
Tangerang Selatan 15322, Banten- Indonesia
TEL: +62 21 2940 4955