Friday, September 18, 2015

Gold Flakes and Magic Dishes at Huize Van Wely

Our returning visit to Huize Van Wely is for Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge.  On our previous visit, we were there for a brunch and it was satisfying, This time around they are still as consistent, giving the best by taking this challenge seriously down to the sparkling gold flakes. 

Huiz van Wely is dominated by white color, showing its luxury throughout the atmosphere. As we arrived, we're escorted to table by the bar.
There we met Mr. Cien Mahardi, the restaurant's Project Manager and Mr. Ade, the senior bartender. Huize van Wely is homey, Mr. Cien said, and they're determined to translate the comfort through everything served on the challenge. Let's take a taste of what's on their menu.

Jasmine Tea Apple
Refreshing.That's the first word that popped to our mind after gulping down the drink. The balance of apple and tea is perfect. Starting simple, the drink leave a lasting impression throughout the course.

Mini Hamburg Steak dan Dilmah Brilliant Breakfast
Mini Hamburg Steak dan Dilmah Brilliant Breakfast
As the first dish arrived, we can't wait to grab the burger right away. Too bad we have to take picture first. The juicy patty is paired with quail egg on top. Take the first bite and sip the tea, it's a combination of light and richness. Then we move on to the pretty red fruit (or is it vegetable?) next door. A tomato filled with something familiar. we're curious about what's inside the tomato and finally found out it was chesnut. Huize van Welly put a lot of details on this dish. The last bite is everything on the plate, a little bit of this and that, and washed down with Dilmah Brilliant Breakfast.

The swirling lemon zest teasing the tea enthusiasts
Chocolate Eclair pairing with Ceylon's Finest - Dilmah Peppermint Cinnamon, Martel VSOP and Home-made Coke Syrup
If you ever heard that Cocktail should be shaken otherwise it isn't cocktail, think again. Mr. Cien explained that tea shouldn't be shaken but stirred instead. That's how this cocktail is created. Dilmah Peppermint Cinnamon is brewed cold (we thought cold brew is only for coffee) and is mixed with alcohol. Served on tall pretty glass with teasing lemon zest. To pair this is chocolate eclair with edible gold flakes and "polkadot chocolate". Same rules applied: take the first bite and sip the drink. But we sip the drink first just because we were too curious and, uh oh, we love the drink despite being unshaken. The tea cocktail actually provoked us to crave for the stylish eclairs. Huize van Welly is famous for eclairs, so the taste is unquestionable. Dark chocolate fillings with crispy skin is perfect for Ceylon's Finest. Can we have another set? 

Chocolate Eclair pairing with Ceylon's Finest -
Dilmah Peppermint Cinnamon, Martel VSOP and Home-made Coke Syrup
Tea is art, you just have to know the tricks

Lapsang Apricot Mousse

The most anticipated dish on the menu simply because this one tested the creativity of the chef (or bakers?). We can't imagine what the mousse would look like and were honestly expecting straightforward sweets. But the one that's arrived is far from simple. A beautiful dessert plated on a cute tea time platter. The Oval-shaped Mousse cake with crunchy homemade biscuit underneath, is decorated with edible gold flakes. First spoonful screams extraordinary inside the mouth. You can taste the tea. It's a unique taste, I haven't tried anywhere else. The creamy texture blends well with crunchy biscuit and it's a little bit smokey like the smoked apricot. Simply magical.

Lapsang Apricot Mousse

Tea isn't boring. You just have do it right. Like how Huize van Wely takes on the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge. 

Where is this?
Huize Van Wely
The Papilion, 
Jl. Kemang Raya No. 45AA, 
Kemang, Jakarta
(021) 7191975

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Staying Until Sundown at Mio Caro Coffee and Sandwiches

Since it’s weekend (hurray!), we drove a little further away from Jakarta. Venturing to Gading Serpong area, we found a beaming café called Mio Caro Coffee and Sandwiches. Arriving just after lunch, the bright afternoon sun lit up the seating area. It invited us to sit down, open our laptop and start blogging.

The smoking area, cozy and has plenty of sun
The non-smoking area
Located on the lobby of One PM Building in Gading Serpong, the parking is relatively easy. But it wasn’t the case when we left after sundown because we encountered a couple incoming cars searching for parking. The smoking area by the window is comfortable. We’re seated in the corner and weren’t really disturbed by smoke because the window can be opened. Then we turned to the cashier to order.

As we’re here on a mission, Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge, we ordered what’s on the Dilmah menu right away. The food arrived in no time. 

The first one to arrive is the Summer Tea Salad. A blend of vegetables and fruit salad gives a taste of fresh summer feeling through the strawberry and orange mixed with greens, peanuts and cheese. The tea comes in the dark-colored dressing, tasting sweet and sour to complement the summer palate. Salad (from Rp27,5k for organic or Rp39,5k for meal size) is a huge thing for this café which put forward their commitment to serve healthy food. So we’re glad they include salad in their challenges.

Summer Tea Salad
Feels like a perfect summer afternoon
Then the first pair arrives, Minty Peach Tea & Crostini. The little toast (as it literally means in Italian) is similar to bruschetta which are often found in pizza restaurants. Mio Caro Crostini Platter put chicken in the spotlight, from sweet teriyaki-like to the spicy ones that are topped with red chili cuts. A great dish to share. The different flavors are easily washed by the ice tea, so have no worries about aftertaste that could carry on to the next course. As sandwiches can be complex on their own, you wouldn’t want to order something as complicated up front. So this is a good and healthy start. 

Minty Peach Tea & Crostini
We go straight to desserts which are the flavorful Almond Tea and Brownies. Soft brownies with a cheese layer cut into triangles are served alongside Dilmah’s Italian Almond Tea. They both carry the nutty flavors. The brownies are just right they don’t make you feel overwhelmed with dough.

 Almond Tea and Brownies
The place is determined to provide the best sandwiches and coffee for those who came to exchange their stories. Fast but still tasty. Mio Caro’s concept is healthy, so expect a lot of fruits and veggies on your plate. We’ve yet to taste their sandwiches (from Rp32,5k) and paninis (from Rp25k) because the Dilmah menu is quite filling, but we ordered coffee and linger a little longer there. Sit down and smell the coffee. Grab a cheesecake too. It's thick but it tastes good.

This is how Mio Caro looks after dark
Mio Caro Cozy AlleyCoffee at Mio Caro

Real High Tea Challenge mission accomplished. Now we simply hope this place is reachable from Jakarta at lunchtime. But it’s a wishful thinking.

Where is this?
Mio Caro Coffee and Sandwiches
Gedung onePM Lt. Dasar
Jl. Raya Boulevard Gading Serpong Kav M5/ 17-18
TEL: 021 29171620

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

de Mingle, A Homey Indo-Dutch Bistro

While this cozy spot isn't located in the busiest hub in Jakarta, but de Mingle has just enough crowd to present a vibrant yet homey ambiance. Staying true to its name, we feel that people do come there to mingle and delicious dishes.

Honestly, if it's not because of Dilmah High Tea Challenge Restaurant & Cafe, we probably would never step into this place and regretting it for the rest of our blogging lives.This is Ruth's story (as Fiona called in sick for the day) with MJ, another food blogger in our office who helped with the pictures. 

Front Door. Photo by MJ
Window sating is our favorite spot. Photo by MJ
de Mingle Indo-Dutch Bistro is Located on the corner of Graha Handaya office area, a short drive from Siloam Hospital Kebon Jeruk. Stepping inside, we're liking the mood right away. The friendly waitress seated us on the perfect table on the corner. The food will arrive shortly, she said. Then the bistro owner, Shirley, came to chat and sit with us.

First floor seating
Cashier area
She runs de Mingle with a few friends. "It just happens that the grandmas are still Holland sprechen so we decided to create a Dutch restaurant," she said. Indeed the food listed on the menu bears the name like Moeder Subiyarti Rijsttafel or Moeder Mirani Rijsttafel. The other main courses are also typically Dutch, something considered nostalgic for the older crowd but with flavor that would fit today's generation tongue. Shirley recommends Biefstuk or Dutch Sirloin Steak (Rp132k) or Galantine (Rp79k), a grandma's recipe of beef mixed with egg and herbs.

A surprise from the house, Huzaren Sla arrived on our table. Lettuce, carrot, bean, pineapple, apple, beef, cucumber with homemade Dutch sauce (Rp53k). Egg yolk gives a bright yellow color to the dressing. Fresh from the first bite, you can easilly say that if there's love at first bite, then we'd go try all the food in de Mingle if they're as good as the salad. The next one to arrive is Kalfstong Biefstuk (Dutch Ox Tongue Steak, Rp69k), grilled after marinated with herbs and wine. Another must-try is Franz (Rp69k), roasted boneless chicken breast with thyme flavor, accompanied by sauteed mushroom and olive oil sauce. On the side is boiled potato. Both dishes have a homey, grandma's recipe taste to it. 

Huzaren Sla and Kalfstong Biefstuk
Franz is roasted boneless chicken breast with thyme flavor
But we're there for Dilmah High Tea Challenge Restaurant & Cafe and the dishes are here on the table. On the High Tea Menu are:

Exotic Tea Spa: Lemongrass Cinnamon Hot Tea paired with Apple Crumble
Heritage Tea Spa: Summer in Green Ice Tea paired with Fish Finger
Classic Tea Spa: Peppermint Tung Tung with Black Tea Kelepon
Exotic Tea Spa: Lemongrass Cinnamon Hot Tea paired with Apple Crumble
Heritage Tea Spa: Summer in Green Ice Tea paired with Fish Finger
Classic Tea Spa: Peppermint Tung Tung with Black Tea Kelepon
Wait... Kelepon? Yeah, you heard that right. Black Tea Kelepon served with Peppermint Tung Tung is one unique combination. While they sit on the opposite end of the plate, it's nice to combine them together and have the tung tung (that's rough-textured ice cream made of coconut milk instead of milk) melts inside your mouth as you chew on the kelepon. Apple Crumble is beyond description. Scrumptious? Heavenly? And the hint of Lemongrass Cinnamon Tea gives balance to the pair. Summer in Green Ice Tea is peppermint, Chinese cabbage and pineapple. A refreshing tea twist of the Evergreen from the fresh juice selection.

The two-story bistro reserves its second floor for events and smoking area. Larger crowd can also sit upstairs with comfortable sofa and lively ambiance. "We have a lot of gatherings here, some are the medical doctors from hospital next door," Shirley said. As far as event goes, anything from talk show to Sweet Seventeen or even marriage proposal is possible.
Second floor seating. Photo by MJ
When you stay and mingle, times goes by slow. It's hard to leave our seat but as lunch time ticking its last minutes, we said our goodbye to this comfortable restaurant. We will return.

Where is this?
Jl. Raya Pejuangan Kav.12A Unit C, 

Graha Handaya, Jakarta Barat 12270
(021) 53660431

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Noizu Toku Toku Unique Ice Cream Mix

You usually meet your ice cream already pre-made, lining up in different flavors ready to be mixed with toppings and served. But Noizu Toku Toku is making them fresh to order in front of you. Wanna try?

Our delightful lunch journey brought us to West Jakarta, at an ice cream corner called Noizu Toku Toku at Mal Puri Indah. Located right outside the West lobby, facing the extension, this handmade dessert is offering a wide range of flavors and toppings. Practically endless creation. So, where do you start? Monica from Noizu Toku Toku suggests one of the popular creations: Karameru Koranchi (Rp42k). Caramel ice cream mixed with dark chocolate and crunchy granola toppings. We agreed right away. And this is where it gets interesting.

Instead of scooping the ice cream from a tin, the ice cream maker poured a thick milk-shake like liquid on the ice pan (up to -10 or -20 Celcius). He then started stirring and chopping the slowly crystalized ice cream until it turns creamy. Setting that aside, he started again with the melted chocolate mixture. 


Final result: Karameru Koranchi 
"You get more texture with this kind of process instead of the usual pre-made ice cream," Monica explained. An Asian concept (wiki said this ice grill technique is commonly found in Thailand), Noizu Toku Toku adapt it into local invention with house made recipes.

We're about to pick the second bowl to share and were torn between Kraffelicious and Cafe Brownie. But Monica mentioned that younger customers love to innovate their own ice cream. So, we ended up taking the challenge. Plain is more to vanilla. Avocado is unique. What we have in mind is a sweet and bright concept called "Candyland," so we ordered another caramel ice cream (Rp33k) and added marshmallow jellies (Rp4k), marshmallow teddy bear (Rp4k), fruit loops (Rp4k), M&M Choco (Rp5k) and Popping Candy (Rp5k). Surprise!

Welcome to Candyland
But once these ice cream are on your hands, eat them quick because the change of temperature will melt them quicker than the regular ice cream.

As you have probably guessed, the name "Noizu Toku Toku" comes from the noise heard when the spatula chopped the ice cream and bumping into the ice pan, as well as the bumping noise when the ice cream is thrown down to the ice pan. It takes a couple minutes to have them ready, but we enjoy every second as we watch the mixture solidify into the dessert we know. 

If you're creating your own, use this "cooking" time to pick your toppings which is varied from cheese cheddar, almond flakes and Loackers to fruits and jelly. If you're a cereal fan, Koko Krunch and Fruit Loops are there to accompany your "breakfast". Extra sauces (chocolate, strawberry, caramel and salted caramel - each Rp3k) are recommended for those wanting extra kick. Waffle cups and cones (Rp5k) are nice to have because after all, the ice cream we're familiar with is served on edible cones.

It's like being involved in a science project with a sweet edible ending.

Where is this?
Noizu Toku Toku
Puri Indah Mall, Lantai Ground, 

Jl. Puri Indah Raya, Puri Indah, Jakarta

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kalimantan Flavors at Kempinski Jakarta

The first thing that comes to mind upon hearing the word "Kalimantan" is the myriad of tropical rainforests with animals and plants we probably won't find in any other parts of the world. In a place like that, imagine what food is going to be like. In the end of August, Lunch Getaway took a two hour escape from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta to step into the recreation of magical Kalimantan at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, Jakarta.

Kempinski brought the whole island inside Signatures Restaurant as a part of a month-long Nusantara Food Festival. Going the extra mile, the hotel appointed a Kalimantan-based private chef to present authenticity. So, what are the taste, hidden under the vast beauty of Indonesia's largest island?

According to Chef Meliana Christianty, who helmed the Kalimantan team, it's indeed the nature. "Kalimantan food derived from the prosperity of its nature: the forest, the rivers, the sea, even down from the local backyards and village gardens. The tribes in Kalimantan are known for its ability to use what's growing around them, cooking them into something delicious," she explained.

Chef Meliana Christianty
Chef Meliana Christianty, the mastermind behind the cuisine

Kalimantan Dishes

Chef Meliana, who is based Pangkalan Bun, Kotawaringin Barat, Central Kalimantan, guided us through the food. One particular ingredient which kept popping up in different dishes is Cabe Habang, a dried red chili. Like the Bebek masak Habang (Caramelized Duck Cooked with Habang Chili) from Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan on the main course section or the Iga Sapi masak Habang (Ribs cooked with Habang Chili) on the carving station which mixes the spices, Habang Chili and Coconut Milk for the sauce. "Back in Kalimantan, we don't usually use ribs," said Chef Meliana. But the change doesn't seem to affect the delicious and juicy dish. 

Fiona expressed concern about consuming spicy dishes, but Chef Meliana said despite the color of Habang (Habang means red), it's not as spicy.

Different parts of Kalimantan are home to unique dishes, including the sambal. Take Sambal Raja Kutai from Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, for example. Or Dadah Belasan, Kahayan chili sauce with shrimp paste, a native to Dayak Kahayan tribe in Central Kalimantan. The Dadah is a mix of lemongrass and shrimp paste. Chef Meliana described this like "Crème brûlée ". The paste, a personal favorite of Chef Meliana, accompanies a satay dish served on a beef broth bowl filled with rice cakes called Sate Sapi Melayu Pontianak. Satay on a soup deserve an applause not only for the concept but also for the refreshing taste.

Sate Sapi Melayu Pontianak
served with beef broth and rice cakes cultets
"Different tribe means different flavors," Chef Meliana said. It's because they are using different spices and ingredients for their dishes. "The most common ones are Cabe Habang, Terung Asam Rimbang, Pucuk Pakis and Sayur Kelakai that grows in the swamp." Kelakai, like Pucuk pakis, is a vegetable from the fern family which is believed to have anti-aging effect. Terung Asam Rimbang (sour eggplant) is cooked with Tenggiri Asam Pedas (spicy and sour fish soup) at Signature, representing the West Kalimantan area. This dish is Ruth's favorite after Iwak Karing Batanak (Poached Duck Egg & Salted Fish in Savory Coconut milk of Banjar in South Kalimantan) because of the impression left after finishing a portion. It reminds you of a comfortable food you'd always want to have on your table. A tenggiri with an extra kick. 

Iwak Karing Batanak
(Poached Duck Egg & Salted Fish in Savory Coconut milk
of Banjar in South Kalimantan)
Fiona went on second serving with the squid despite being full. The Banjar Cumi Baubar (literally means grilled squid) probably puts a spell on her that she still mentions "squid" days after our visit to Signature. It's soft, not chewy with sweet spices that's not overwhelming. It's truly appreciated because with an Indonesian dish, spices can either be friends or enemies. 

Cumi Baubar (Grilled Squid) of Banjar Region
On the vegetable side: Teripang and Jamur Hioko Masak Jahe (Braised Sea Cucumber & Hioko Mushroom) and Tumis Mentimun (Sauteed Cucumber & Eggs) are both from West Kalimantan.

Soup is an acquired taste for us. Gangan Ubi Jukun, the Sweet Potato, Water Spinach, Smoked Fish & Kalimantan Jungle Eggplant Soup from Kutai, East Kalimantan, presents a foreign taste to our mouth. While the sweet potato and water spinach are everyday things for us, the broth takes you back to the Kalimantan Jungle. Don't really know how to describe this soup. Definitely need to give it a sip to complete your adventure. 

Out of curiousity, we asked Chef Meliana about what to bring home from Kalimantan. She pointed out Pepes Kepiting (Grilled Spicy Crab meat wrapped in Banana Leaves), a native to Balikpapan, in one of the pots. The rich spices mixture is often sold as food souvenir with Abon Kepiting (shredded beef with crab) from those returning from a trip to Kalimantan. We love the Pepes. It's flavorful and tempting to eat even without being accompanied by rice. 

Pepes Kepiting (Grilled Spicy Crab meat wrapped in Banana Leaves)
A culinary journey isn't complete without dessert. So our "field trip" ends with Sarang Burung Walet and Pisang Gapit, both are (lucky for us) not to sweet. Sarang Burung Walet (Bird's Nest), unlike it's name is a jelly-based dessert, often complemented by nata de coco and other fruits. While pisang gapit is a grilled banana. This time is served with Durian sauce.

Fiona: Isn't this jelly?
Ruth: Yes, it's jelly.
Fiona: Bird's nest?
Ruth: Jelly.

Pisang Gapit (left) with traditional Indonesian snacks
Es Sarang Burung (Bird's Nest)

Indonesian dessert table
We walk away from Signatures Restaurant at the end of out two-hour Friday break, feeling satisfied and happy that our short trip to Kalimantan introduced us to many things we can tell the world about Indonesian dishes. Special thanks to Hotel Indonesia Kempinski for the Borneo adventure.

Where is This?
Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Lobby Level
Jl. M.H. Thamrin no 1, Jakarta Pusat
(021) 23583898
Twitter: @KempinskiJKT