Cafe Series: AW Kitchen by Akira Watanabe

AW Kitchen by Akira Watanabe is a joint collaboration between Jaddi Foods Group and Japanese celebrity chef Akira Watanabe. Originally from Tokyo, this Jakarta outlet is their virgin outlet outside of Japan.

AW Kitchen marries both my love for Japanese and Italian food by serving Italian cuisine with a Japanese twist (i.e. Italian-Japanese fusion dishes). The restaurant has a colourful decor (totally in love with their tiled flooring!) which exudes homey and modern vibes.

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Bar + high chairs.

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Such pretty red and blue seat cushions.

My first visit to AW kitchen was on Sarah’s recommendation. We both loved their warm complimentary bread (soft on the inside but crispy on the outside) with olive bits in it. The salted butter melting into the bread = SO GOOOOOOD.

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Fluffy, warm complimentary bread.

If my memory serves me right, Sarah had a “Capellini with Sakura Shrimp and Truffle Oil” (IDR 85K) – cold capellini angel hair pasta tossed with truffle oil and shrimps.

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Capellini with Sakura Shrimp and Truffle Oil.

I was feeling mushroomy and risottoish that day and ordered a “Japanese Mushroom Risotto” (IDR 118k) – creamy Italian risotto served with assorted Japanese mushrooms like Maitake, King Oyster, Shimeji, and Champignon. The risotto was cooked and seasoned nicely. If you ❤ mushrooms as much as I do, you’ll like it! Confirm plus guarantee got chop.

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Japanese Mushroom Risotto.

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With Sarah. (Thankful to God for providing singlish friendships in Jakarta)

Just yesterday, I visited AW Kitchen by Akira Watanabe again with Ivana. We both had creamy cravings and got for ourselves two creamy pastas each. I ordered a “Cream Sauce Pasta with Salmon and Broccoli” (IDR 118K) while Ivana had a “Cream Sauce Pasta with Veal Ragout” (IDR 125K).

Our homemade pasta was cooked to al dente; the creamy sauce had the right amount of creaminess level (thankfully not too jelak!). My salmon pieces were perfectly half broiled and went well with the broccoli. YUM. I tried a bit of Ivana’s pasta – the sauce tasted almost the same but with a meatish tinge of flavour.

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With Ivana. (Thanks for being a constant in Jakarta)

I ordered a teapot of moroccan mint tea hoping to wash down all the fats and calories from the creamy pasta (as if). Although we were really FULL after finishing our savoury mains, something felt amiss. OH YES, SOMETHING SWEEEET.

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Banana Tiramisu with pretty presentation.

We easily settled on the “Banana Tiramisu” (IDR 68k) because it was the chef’s recommendation. The presentation was really pretty! Aesthetics aside, the banana tiramisu was…AWESOME. It was very light and smooth, not too sweet, and creamy. The coffee flavour wasn’t too overpowering. I felt that the banana slices and crunchy caramelized sugar on top complemented the tiramisu well. #heavenonearth

I went home a very full and happy girl. 🙂 🙂 🙂


AW Kitchen by Akira Watanabe
Plaza Indonesia Level 2
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No.28-30
Central Jakarta, 10350

Last Few Days HOME

So happy that I managed to satisfy some of my cravings in my last few days back in SG. Hawker food is one thing I always miss when in Jakarta – it’s hard to find things like hokkien mee, char kway teow, orh luak (oyster omelette), bak chor mee, etc. Even if there are stalls selling them, they hardly taste the same as the ones back home.

Agent D once ordered “hokkien mee” at Hotel Mulia. When it was served to him, he thought that the waiter had got his order wrong. But noooooooo. That blackish, thick-sauced noodles WAS HOKKIEN MEE. :/

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Hokkien mee from Tian Tian Lai – my deathbed dish.

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Thomson egg prata.

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Wanton mee with sio bak.

There are so much more things I want to eat but don’t have the time to. SOBS.

Anyhow, glad that I managed to catch up with some friends whom I’ve not seen for a veryyyy loooonng time on this trip. Was too carried away chatting that I forgot to document photos with most of them!

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Reminiscing uni days with Vania.

And of course, my last play date with baby fatty, momma Juli, and dear Estelle. ❤

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My armpits smell nice, not like you adults!

Babies grow so fast. I wonder if fatty Joseph will still recognize me few months from now?

A Part of Happy Celebrations

Being in Jakarta, one of the more difficult things for me is missing happy celebrations back home. I can only look at photos posted on Facebook/Instagram, thinking about all the fun I’ve missed out and wishing I was there. Even if I were to crop my face into the photos, it wouldn’t be the same. :/

Anyhow, I am glad that I was able to be a part of + witness a dear friend’s proposal last Saturday. It wasn’t deliberately coordinated but I just so happened to be in SG that weekend. And boy was it sweeeeeet!

A few days before the proposal, Juli, Est and myself helped Shaun with some of the preparations.

Shaun was quite nervous so we ran through his lines and the proposal sequence with him.

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Practising with Mr. Sheep.

Thankfully everything went according to plan. Was quite afraid I’d give it away through a slip of the tongue (happens quite often with me) or accidentally type the wrong thing in the wrong WhatsApp group. We somehow managed to lure Adeline to the proposal venue on the pretext that we were having a get-together since I was back.

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Big awww.

TEAM PROPOSAL — SUCCESS! ❤ ❤ ❤

And of course, photo-taking is a must with every celebratory occasion.

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Yesterday, I got to meet up with my JC friends and we celebrated the April babies’ birthdays. Nothing beats being in the company of good ol’ friends.

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Blessed birthday Sean and Fiona!!!


Celebrations aside, I’m almost down to running my last errand before I head back to Jakarta. There’s always so much to see to when I come back — buy food products for cooking, settle bills, stock up on vitamins/ supplements, visit the dentist, go for health check-up, ETC ETC.

So I FINALLY made a new set of retainers and did my fitting last Friday. Have been procrastinating to get it done since last year. My current one is in such a bad state – the plastic is degenerating and there are holes all over (dentist says I grind my teeth at night). I literally have to hide my retainers away when guests come to my home and use the toilet.

I’ve not been very diligent with wearing my retainers EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and my teeth have sadly shifted. They’re no longer as neat as they used to be and my upper left front tooth is now a lil’ buck-like. 😦

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My teeth mould.

My dentist gave me the mould of my teeth to keep as a souvenir. How kind of him. It’s now sitting above my bed, reminding me every night, “WEAR YOUR RETAINERS DEB” !!!!!!!!!!

So many catch-ups, so little time

In my limited time back home, I’ve been meeting various friends for brunch/lunch, tea, dinner, supper. There’s nothing much to do in SG except eat, eat AND EAT. Goshhh I can feel my face growing rounder and my pants getting tighter. :/

Just yesterday, I finally got to check out Group Therapy Coffee located along the gentrified Duxton Road. On my hike from the bus stop to Group Therapy, I chanced upon many pretty-looking shophouses. I whipped out my handphone and started taking photos like a tourist. After a while…I got kinda lost. Thankfully Google maps came to my rescue.

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Wall murals on the side of the shophouses.

In case you were wondering…shophouses are small, narrow terraced houses (usually two- to three- storeys high) built between the 1840s and the 1960s. They formed the majority of the pre-WW2 urban fabric of the old city centre as well as several other parts of Singapore. Although many shophouses have been pulled down for redevelopment purposes, those that remain have been carefully restored and conserved. *phew*

I totally wouldn’t mind staying in a shophouse. That’d be so cool.

Group Therapy Coffee is housed within the second storey of a restored shophouse. It is easy to miss so keep your eyes peeled for a signpost with the number 49.

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Lovin’ their red mailbox.

Up on the second level, the space is large and comfortable – the perfect setting and catalyst for group conversations (therapy). What an apt name!

Glad to have caught up with Ben and FJ after sooooo long. We reminisced about our good ol’ Seattle days 7 years back where all of us gained like 10 kg in 6 months (maybe except Ben), played like crazy, and travelled like nobody’s business. Almost every other weekend, we were out of town exploring the various states in U.S.. THOSE WERE THE DAYS.

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Missing Andrew who is on another side of the world in Dubai.

After lunch, I headed down to the west side to visit baby Sophie. Congrats Papa Wes and Momma Steph – she’s such a sweet darling! I was really amused at her tiny fingers and toes. They were so, so small.

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So tiny and precious.

I later took a train all the way back to town to meet with my uni mates. We had dinner at Crossings Café – GREAT FOOD for a GREAT CAUSE. Crossings Café is a social enterprise where all their profits are channelled to charitable causes. The café seeks to provide employment opportunities and personal development for the disadvantaged (e.g. people with special needs) by hiring them to work at the café.

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Cosy and unpretentious interior.

I didn’t take any pictures of the food but I must say it is very decent and affordable. A must-try if you’re around the Bras Basah area! Plus you get to support a charitable cause through your meal. 🙂

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Thanks for making uni days so much more enjoyable!

Although I don’t get to meet this group of lovelies often, it’s always amazing how we manage to pick up from where we last left off. Already looking forward to more stories to come as we all move on to new phases in our life (marriage, postgraduate studies, motherhood, etc).


Today I met baby fatty for another play date. Just cannot get enough of his fats and cuteness. WHY YOU SO CUTE.

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On his own armchair. #LIKEABOSS.

Ended the day with Hazie. ❤

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BIG LOVE.

We finally managed to get my bridesmaid dress fitting done. YAY. Am really looking forward to her big day come June this year! Mel is such a lucky man. 🙂

XOXO

Things Change in Your Absence

It has been a good 4 months since I last came home and some things have changed, sadly. The fact that people/animals grow older and age with time is something I’m well aware of but perhaps have not internalized. It only hit me a few days ago.

My grandma and kevin (her dog) have been living with us since her bad fall back in 2010. They came together (we always joke that they’re buy 1 get 1 free) as one could not live without the other. Their arrival was timely as my old Bichon Frise, Max, had passed away in 2009 and Kevin helped to fill the empty space in our hearts.

Here’s some pictures of my grandma celebrating her 90th birthday (last year) and Kevin when he was 15 years old (two years ago, 15 x 7 = 105 doggy years 0ld).

In just 4 months, old-man Kevin has aged a lot. His cataract has clouded both his eyes and he’s now completely blind. We’ve tried not to rearrange things around the house because he constantly knocks into the walls and furniture, squealing with pain each time. He also seems to have lost his sense of hearing and has forgotten how to bark. Up to last year, whenever one of us got home, he’d bark at the top of his voice, pouncing on us in excitement. But this time round, he hardly responds to us coming back, sometimes only lifting his head and letting out a soft whimper.

What saddens me most is his drastic weight loss – when I stroke him, I can actually feel his entire backbone and skeleton beneath his thin bed of hair. Before Agent D returned back to Jakarta on Sunday, he insisted on feeding more treats to Kevin. He said, “I’m not sure if he’ll still be around for us to feed the next time we come back.” The thought of that made me really sad.

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Now 17 years old (119 doggy years old), Kevin no longer reacts when I come back home.

As my grandma is really attached to Kevin, we’re afraid that she’ll lose the will to live should Kevin pass on. In recent months, her memory has worsened and her memory lapses take place even more often than before. When she first saw me, she whispered to my helper somewhat loudly, “Who is that girl and boy (Agent D)?” I asked her how old she was and she giggled, replying that she was thirty-three years old (she would say that she was sixty years old a few months back).

Nonetheless, we’re thankful for her cheerful and giggly disposition all the time. At 91 years old, she’s seldom grumpy and almost never throws any tantrums (opposite to what TV dramas often portray old dementia grandmas to be). In fact, her child-like mannerisms often crack us up.

Just yesterday, Aunty Anna and Val came to visit mama and we all had fun playing JENGA with her. Mama was trying to play cheat all the time like a small little girl – skipping our turns and jumping to hers, drawing a block from the top and placing it back, and so on. It was hilariously cute. 🙂

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Bought mama some of her favourite Ang Ku Kueh from Chinatown’s Fatt Soon Kueh.

It has been a blessing having both mama and old-man Kevin with us for the past couple of years and both have taught me many things about growing old. Life on this earth is fleeting and our current worries are transient — treasure the people around you and leave no space for regrets.


On a lighter note, I’ve been trying to catch up with as many friends as I can during my stay in Singapore (in-between my many errands). So happy to have finally fulfilled my FRESH GREENS craving (good clean create-your-own salads are a rare find in Jakarta) at Toss & Turn with Elaine yesterday. We went on to share a berry yummy acai bowl from Project Açaí, continuing our girly conversations later into the night.

Project Açaí is Singapore’s first dedicated açaí superfood cafe. They serve Sambazon organic açaí from the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest and their bowls are prepared fresh everyday, with a heap of fruits and superfood toppings. HEALTHY YET YUM. (Thanks for recommending Sasha!)

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Nothing beats great conversations over a wholesome bowl of fruits.

Today I got to meet farty fatty, momma Juli and Estelle for lunch. Although sick for the past week, baby fatty gained yet another 0.2kg. He’s growing wider (and cuter) everyday!

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My fist is the most delicious thing in the whole wide world.

‘Twas a lovely day spent playing with baby fatty and talking about life, recent on-going events with Juli and Est. Time flies especially fast in the company of good friends. Before I knew it, it was 6+pm and time to go back home for dinner.

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Visibly annoyed at having to pose for a picture.

I better turn in soon, have another long day of catch-ups tomorrow. Good night! x

 

Tastes of Home

Glad to be back home after 4 months away. It’s only when I set foot on home soil that I realise how much I’ve missed home. The clear blue skies, the convenient public transport system, singlish chatter everywhere, the smell of hawker food…I could go on and on.

Today I was busy running errands with Mom and we passed a cute little cafe in Toa Payoh – Shrove Tuesday. The town of Toa Payoh will always have a special place in my heart because it is where I grew up and formed most of my happy childhood memories (the likes of running around with neighbours and playing hide-and-seek). It was heartening to see the old familiar barber and mama shops (what convenience stores or sundry shops are called in Singapore) in the Lorong 4 neighborhood still in existence.

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Nonya Chendol.

In a bid to seek respite from the blistering afternoon heat, Mom and I decided to cool down in Shrove Tuesday with some gelato. I was craving some ice kacang (an iconic dessert of Singapore consisting of a towering bowl of shaved ice, red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly, coloured with syrup and topped with evaporated milk) when I spotted “Nonya Chendol” on the menu. Same same but different. Perfect.

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Nonya Chendol, Chocolate Lavender Cake, and a cuppa Latte on beautiful patchwork tiles.

We ordered a Nonya Chendol and Chocolate Lavender Cake to share. I was doubtful about the Nonya Chendol (on waffle) at first but it turned out to be pretty legit! Three generous scoops of chendol-flavoured gelato topped with green jelly, red azuki beans, grated coconut AND with gula melaka drizzled all over. Quite a heavenly combination (which tasted like real chendol!). The crispy and fluffy waffle complemented the ice-cream well.


At night, we had dinner at Springleaf Taiwan Porridge with both Agent D’s and my parents. We were back together for a short time only and didn’t have time to have separate dinners with our parents. Glad to be able to spend time with both sides and at the same time fulfill some of my cravings!

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Chinese dishes to go along with our porridge.

I am in sleep coma mode now. Good night, world. Yawns.

Explore Indonesia #5: Bali Food Guide (Best restaurants in SEMINYAK)

Bali has a bustling dining scene and most of its best dining spots are in Seminyak. The streets lining the beach resort area are a food-lover’s haven, with dozens of cafes and restaurants serving all kinds of cuisines located one after another, side by side.

Best thing yet – a number of restaurants offer fantastic views of the sunset, rice paddy fields, and beachfront. AWESOME FOOD WITH A GREAT VIEW. How much better can life get. 🙂

As we only had 2.5 days in Seminyak, we wanted to make the most of our meals and spend our calories on good, glorious food. Here’s a list of some of the best restaurants/cafes in Seminyak which we visited during our time there (I won’t be going into the food details because there are too many pictures – I’ll let the photos speak for themselves).

Enjoy! xxx

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I’m SO HUNGRY I’ve resorted to devouring my finger. YUM.


Sisterfields Cafe

Sisterfields hails from Australia and serves an all-day breakfast, brunch and lunch menu alongside a wide range of coffees, cakes and pastries. You can be guaranteed that everything served is fresh, with top quality homemade ingredients cooked from scratch each day.

It was very crowded by the time we got there around noon time and we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. But the wait was well worth it.

Baby fatty was such an entertainment in-between meals. He’s always smiling. SUCH A HAPPY BOY. I have this urge to pinch his chub chub cheeks all the time but I think Juli wouldn’t be too pleased heh.

Location: Jl. Kayu Cendana No.7, Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali.


Metis Bali Restaurant

Metis provides a sensory dining experience with its lovely view of rice fields at the back. Helmed by classically-trained French Chef Nicolas ‘Doudou’ Tourneville, Metis offers a masterful combination of French Mediterranean cuisine.

The entire place is romantically dimly-lit, hence the dark pictures (blame the iphone 5!).

After our satisfying filling meal, we decided to walk off the calories around the rice fields. Sadly, it was wayyy too dark to see anything, much less the pretty fields (PS: come before the sun sets if you can). We took some pictures nonetheless; Agent D and I even borrowed the pram + fatty as a prop!

Location: Jl. Petitenget No. 6, Kerobokan Kelod, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali.


Revolver Espresso

If you are a coffee lover, you have to drop by Revolver Espresso!! They serve one of the BEST coffees in town. Their coffee beans are sourced from around the world and roasted and blended in Bali. According to them, they use LA MARZOCCO coffee machines and MAZZA grinders.

The entire cafe feels like an underground den and gives off hipster vibes. Even the waiters seemed like cool dudes and dudettes. I got a mocha for myself and it was just righttt – not too bitter, not too sweet.

Poor baby fatty wasn’t allowed to drink coffee but he didn’t seem to mind. He fell asleep with his milk bottle happily. Wait till you have your first taste of coffee, fatty.

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Coffee fix for the day – checked.

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Flying after high on coffee (chalk wall outside Revolver).

Location: Jl. Kayu Aya No 3 (Gang 51), Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali.


Warung WAHAHA

Apart from Naughty Nuri’s Warung, Warung WAHAHA serves yummylicious pork ribs as well. The warung-ish restaurant has a laid-back decor with beautiful garden grounds for dining (remember to spray on some mosquito repellent if you’re intending to sit outdoors!)

We were feeling very hungry by lunch time and ordered quite a number of dishes to share. I was especially looking forward to the much raved about pork ribs!

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Hungryyy.

Alas our dishes arrived! Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long for them.

WAHAHA’s signature pork ribs was pretty legit – tender and lean, sweet and juicy, well-marinated, glazed in BBQ sauce, and fire-grilled to perfection. Our two meat-eating husbands loved every bit of it!

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YAY more protein for bodybuilding. (like real)

Location: Jl. Sunset Road Barat No. 1689, Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia.


Gusto Gelato & Caffe

What better remedy for a HOT day in Bali than homemade gelato?! It’ll cool you down fast and your tummy will be happy. 🙂

The team at Gusto Gelato is constantly experimenting with new ingredients to make exciting flavours. They have flavours like chilli chocolate (?!!), hokey pokey (honey and vanilla), nougatine, lemongrass, ginger, kemangi, grilled sesame, and many more.

Because of their strong belief in local communities, over 70% of their ice-cream and ingredients are of Indonesian origin. Look out for the sign “Origin Indonesia” when you choose your flavours!

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Rum & raisin, avocado, and nougatine.

Although I was still feeling very bloated from lunch, the additional calories were well spent!

Location: Jalan Mertanadi No. 46B, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia.


Made’s Warung

Mades’s warung serves local Indonesian and International food and has some history to its name – having started a long way back in 1969 as a traditional roadside warung. It has now grown into a huge courtyard restaurant with many shops (souvenir, spa, etc) on its premises.

We went around dinner time and there was a series of Balinese traditional dance performances lined up for guests. The music was quite loud, making our dinner conversations challenging.

Food was good but not life changing. I really liked their banana pancake though, very fluffy and somewhat different from the usual.

Location: Jl. Raya Seminyak, Banjar Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia.


Merah Putih Restaurant

At Merah Putih, I felt like I was dining in a greenhouse with its full length glass windows and canopy-like ceiling. The interior is rather spacey; the main dining floor can seat 110 people comfortably and the mezzanine can accommodate another 30 people in three teak pods.

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Interior of Merah Putih.

The menu is separated into two sections — traditional and modern. The traditional section features regional dishes using selected meats, locally-sourced produce, and aromatic spices. The modern section features imaginative culinary creations, more of fusion-ish food. We ordered from both to try. SOOOO GOOOOD.

The food was fresh and each dish had a unique twist to its flavour. All of us enjoyed our dining experience thoroughly. 🙂

Location: Jalan Petitenget No. 100x, Kerobokan, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia.


What are your must-eats in Seminyak Bali? If you have any to share, do let me know! x

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A toast to friendship and all that God has blessed us in life.

Explore Indonesia #4: Beautiful Bali (Accommodation)

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Missing the sun, sand and sea.

Hello there! I was in Bali whole of last week with some friends and did not bring along my laptop. Hence the absence of entries the past week. As with all holidays, the 6 days in Bali flew past at lightning speed and here I am back in Jakarta resuming my normal daily routines (spent a large part of yesterday and today marketing, restocking the fridge, cooking, washing, etc). AHH I WANNA GO BACK TO BALI. 😦 As I type this, I’m currently missing the sun, sand, and sea. And of course, the good food and great company I had.

As I have just TOO MANY pictures, I’ve decided to split my Bali travel post into three entries — lodging and accommodation, places to eat (Seminyak), places to eat (Nusa Dua). This post will be on lodging and accommodation in Seminyak and Nusa Dua, where we stayed for 2 nights and 3 nights respectively.

Seminyak is a beach town in South Bali and is known to be more upmarket and sophisticated than Kuta. Luxury accommodations are aplenty and fashionable high-end (touristy) restaurants/bars line the streets. In our search for lodging (we were looking at villas specifically) in Seminyak, our key priorities were:

  • Central location (i.e. near downtown)
  • Fully air-conditioned (many villas have an open-air concept which comes along with LOADS OF MOSQUITOES. Ouch.)
  • New (i.e. still in a good state).

Juli and I finally settled on Hu’u Villas after much research. Hu’u villas is located in the heart of Seminyak; the beach and the Oberoi road shopping strips are merely 5-minutes away by foot.

Our two-bedroom villa is about 225min size and is split into two levels. Its decor is contemporary and modern yet comfortable. The ground level consists of the living and dining areas while the bedrooms are on the second level.

The villa also comes with a private swimming pool and a deck to laze around. I particularly like the large glass-panelled doors which open up to the swimming pool, allowing the soft morning hues of sunlight to stream in. Here’s baby Joseph enjoying his morning dip!

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Hello there, fatty! WHY YOU SO CUTE.

The master bedroom is very spacious and has a four-poster king-sized bed in the middle. Juli and Lewis were very kind to let us have the master bedroom (she had earlier written to the hotel management to place the baby cot in the other bedroom). THANK YOU JUWIS.  ❤ ❤ ❤

My favourite part of the master bedroom was THE BATHROOM. The naturally lit bathroom comes with a giant egg-shaped bathtub, spacious rainforest shower, defined double sinks set in concrete, and backlit mirrors. The sunroof (or moonroof) allows one to enjoy a bubble bath whilst admiring the clouds (or stars). Simply awesome.

The second bedroom is somewhat similar in design and style to the master bedroom, except that the bathroom is much smaller.

We can order our ‘breakfast’ anytime from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (unlike most hotels which stop serving breakfast at 10 a.m.). Perfect for sleeping in till noon heh. They have an all-day brunch menu and guests can order any one thing on the menu. I also liked the fact that breakfast is served in the comfort of our own villa. Here are some pictures of the breakfast options:

During our time in Seminyak, we also dropped by W Retreat & Spa Bali Seminyak to look-see. I must say they have some pretty grounds!

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Tourists at W Hotel.

In case you’re thinking of staying there, here are some pictures for your reference. 🙂

Not to forget the pristine white beach fronting W Hotel:

Juli and I felt like we were getting roasted under the scorching hot sun and decided to seek refuge with baby Joseph and daddy Lewis (who were enjoying the cool shade of the hotel cafe). Out of boredom, we took many photos with the little fatty, much to his baby-dismay haha.

That’s about it for our lodging and accommodation in Seminyak. On to Nusa Dua now. X


Nusa Dua is a peninsula in South Bali, well-known as an enclave of higher end hotels. The beaches in Nusa Dua are glorious – white sand, deep, long stretches and safe for swimming. We wanted to pick a nice resort to just stay in, relax, and enjoy the facilities. And we found a GEM in The Ritz-Carlton, Bali.

Located on the southern tip of Nusa Dua, The Ritz-Carlton Bali blends into the lush surrounding landscape. The resort has a cliff top perch that reveals a 180-degree view of the Indian Ocean below. Pictures don’t do the view justice. It’s breath-taking, really. Guests can descend to the beach level in a glass elevator which keeps the view always present before them.

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From the cliff top perch: view of the entire resort and the Indian Ocean.

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Agent D and I superimposing ourselves on the magnificent landscape.

The service in Ritz-Carlton Bali is plain awesome. They had a staff personally welcome us at the lobby with welcome drinks, see to our check-in, take us on a buggy all the way to our room, and even followed up with a phone call one hour later to check if everything was okay. Anywhere we wanted to go within the resort (be it the pool, beach, gym, meeting place for breakfast, etc) – all we had to do was call for a buggy from our room and the buggy driver would be at our doorstep in 5 minutes.

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All of us on the buggy (missing Sasha!).

All the hotel blocks have a meandering pool fronting them. Juli and Lewis paid an additional USD50++/night to be upgraded to the room with lagoon access (i.e. pool right outside your balcony). SHIOK.

Our junior suite was designed to be open plan and had modular doors to provide private spaces. The bedroom was large and had an attached living area by the balcony. Here are some pictures of our room with modern Balinese decor:

After putting down our things, Agent D and I decided to take a dip in the main swimming pool overlooking the beach. It was nearing 5.30 p.m. and the sun was setting – I wasn’t particularly excited about the cold pool water (brrrrrr). But to my astonishment, the pool was nice and warm. It was an OPEN-AIR HEATED POOL. How awesome is that.

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Taken at 4 p.m. the next day with more sunlight.

There are many deck chairs and bedded huts surrounding the pool area – perfect for just lounging around/sunbathing. Both Daddy Lewis and baby Joseph managed to take a short nap whilst we swam in the pool. Christian pretended to drop fatty into the pool, much to Juli’s dismay hahaha.

The beach area was just as lovely as the poolside. Sadly, the sand was quite prickly which made it painful to walk on. :/

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Nomads in cool bathrobes. Where did our camels go?!

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A groupie shot (again missing Sasha).

Ritz built a beautiful glass-lit seaside chapel for couples to exchange their vows in a lush, tropical setting facing the Indian Ocean. I can imagine that moment to be very magical.

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Boys will always be boys.

The resort has many facilities within — spa and salon center, fitness center, hydrojet pool (my personal favourite), main pool, and so on.

The hydrojet pool, with its various stations, was the perfect cure to our aching muscles and joints after a long swim.  Totally great for circulation and relaxation! 🙂

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The amazing hydrojet pool.

The fitness center has a wide variety of cardiovascular and strength-training equipment and a personal trainer on standby. Agent D had a good time running on the treadmill whilst watching cable TV (each treadmill has its own TV screen with a list of channels to choose from). He got so carried away with the programme that he completely lost track of time!

Apart from the resort’s facilities, there are various activities for guests to participate in throughout the day (e.g., gentle yoga, surf initiation, latte art class, introduction to pilates, cocktail class, etc).

On the third day of our stay, Agent D tried out the surf initiation class while I watched him from afar in a comfortable hut (in the shade). Sadly, the weather was not on his side; there were hardly any waves for him to ride on! Poor Agent D. 

I went for sushi-making class with Christian and we learnt how to make California roll from Ritz’s head Japanese chef. ‘Twas a pretty fun experience!

All the restaurants within Ritz-Carlton Bali come with spectacular views which complement every morsel of food. I totally forgot to take photos of the breakfast buffet spread (my bad). Was too busy checking everything out! *impending double chin*

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Carrying baby Joesph around during breakfast time. HOW I MISS THIS FATTY.

All in all, both Agent D and myself enjoyed our super duper ultra relaxing stay at Ritz Carlton. If not for the rather pricey room rates, I’d probably be heading there every other weekend heh.

Restaurant Series: Authentically Indonesian at TeSaTe

Juli’s main intent for her Jakarta visit was to eat AS MUCH (SPICY) Indonesian food as she could. Her motto when it comes to food – the spicier, the better (much to my dismay haha). Her chili threshold has always been high since secondary school days. Not for me though. One tiny drop of spicy sambal in my food and I’ll be downing a jug of water with tears in my eyes. Before I am even halfway through my chili-laden noodles/rice, I’d be full from water. :/

So anyway, we had lunch with a few friends at TeSaTe today – a restaurant serving supposedly good authentic Indonesian cuisine. From my best friend Mr. Google, I found out that TeSaTe is actually a sister brand of Sate Khas Senayan restaurant chain (which has a presence in practically every mall in Jakarta), just that it is a more premium brand. TeSaTe has a few outlets; we went to the one in Menteng.

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A contemporary style restaurant serving Indonesia cuisine.

The restaurant is housed in a huge 3-storey building complete with private dining rooms. The first level was pretty occupied when we arrived. Because we were a group of six + baby stroller, we were directed to the basement instead. Which turned out to be quieter and nicer. 🙂

Sasha (their regular patron) ordered a variety of dishes for us to try and we went along with her choices. Here’s some pictures of the food:

Overall, the food was good and thankfully not too spicy (phew). I particularly liked their lemon grass drink with lime bits – SO REFRESHING for a hot day. Their satay went very well with the sauce too. YUMMM.

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Welcome back to Jakarta: Juli, chub chub Joesph, Lewis.

Joseph the fatty was sucha good baby. He slept through the entire lunch despite our loud banter, laughter, and giggles.

Some pictures from our lunch 🙂

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Can’t wait to tuck in!

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“I think my fist is yummier than the chicken there.”

On the way back in the car, I saw an interesting sight of two men playing chess at the bus stop. They were so deep into their game that the booming motorcycles and cars passing by did not seem to bother them one bit. Pretty intense.

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Enjoying a game of chess at the bus stop.

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
― Tom Bodett

They must have been happy; they had something to do.

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Ending lunch with a girly shot.


TeSate Restaurant
Jalan Dr Samratulangi No. 39
Menteng, Central Jakarta

When Good Friends Visit

Today my favouritest friend Juli landed in Jakarta for a 3-day visit. She came with her hubs Lewis and the newest addition to their family, chub chub Joseph. It’s been 3 months since I last saw baby Joseph and OHH how he’s grown into a mini sumo/fatty, complete with biceps, triceps and fat folds. *so cute*

This picture was taken at baby Joseph’s first month party.

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And these pictures were taken just today. Aww look at those juicy thighs and cheeks. 🙂 🙂 🙂

He’s only 4 months old but he’s heavier than a BIGGGG watermelon and HUGEEE coconut and ENORMOUS papaya combined together. Ok you get the drift.

I tried carrying him for a while and my arms started aching after like 1 minute. He’ll probably be my only form of arm toning exercise this week.

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Hello there fatty!

Maybe it’s because he’s juli’s baby and I’m biased but I think he’s one of the CUTEST around. He has two to-die-for dimples but they’re hidden beneath his chub chub cheeks.

We were trying to take a decent photo with baby Joseph looking at the camera but it was so hard. He kept looking at the ground below as if there were gold coins or something. :/ With much perseverance and cooing, we finally managed to! YAY.

Dear baby Joseph, I hope you’ll grow up one day to be a man after God’s own heart. ❤

Baby Joseph aside, I was really happy to see his momma Juli. Almost seemed surreal having my good friend in town. And it’s really nice how I can just be myself with old friends.

Always thankful when friends visit Jakarta.