Cute Cafe in Kuningan: Harlow Brasserie

Last Friday, I finally got to check out Harlow Cafe – an exciting new Brasserie concept located in Kuningan (lovin’ the fact that it’s just 10 minutes away from me!). The concept behind Harlow is to bring to diners a melting pot of cultural flavors and diversity that New York City offers in a fun yet casual setting.

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Homely  Scandinavian architecture of Harlow Brasserie.

Located on the mezzanine floor of H Tower in Kuningan, Harlow’s interior is Scandinavian-styled (which I absolutely adore). The brasserie is nestled within a beautiful view of pine trees and its full length glass windows allow daylight to stream in, brightening up the entire place.

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Open and well lit design. Spot the pine trees outside? 🙂

The main dining area can seat up to 150 people which is ideal for functions of all sorts ranging from business meetings, casual gatherings, bridal showers, birthday parties, product launches, etc.

When I was there with Ivana on Friday, we happened to be the only ones having lunch at that time. It could be because June is the fasting month of Ramadan. Anyhow, it was pretty shiok. It was as if we had booked the entire restaurant and the waiters were serving us only. Perfect for a great chit-chat in a serene setting.

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A variety of seating at the bar, hangout lounge and tables.

Interestingly, Harlow serves daily continental breakfast (buffet-style) to residents of Citadines serviced apartment nearby. As such, they open super early for breakfast from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., continuing with lunch until 5 p.m., and serving dinner till 10 p.m. For those who need an early breakfast fix after morning gym, before going to work, etc – Harlow is the place to go!

I took a picture of their lunch menu for your reference. 🙂 They are currently having a weekday lunch special: IDR 100K nett for selected mains + drink. Very value for $$$!

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Harlow prides itself in using healthy farm ingredients (not sure how true though). In addition to its core menu, Harlow offers by-monthly special menus highlighting the various ethnic neighborhood cuisines of New York City, such as China Town, Little Tokyo, Astoria and many more.

Ivana and I went for their lunch special (can’t say no to a good bargain!).

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Against the pretty background.

Complimentary bread was served first, followed by the mains. I liked the fact that they took effort to heat up the bread. Love butter melting on warm soft bread!

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Complimentary bread and free drink (ice lemon/peach tea).

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Aglio olio with prawns.

The pasta was cooked al dente and had a good bite to it. It was a little on the dry side though, and portions were smaller than usual. But not complaining since it was a lunch special.

After lunch, we still had a bit of space in our tummies and so ordered a honey cheesecake to share.

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Honey cheesecake.

The cheesecake was nice and creamy but I couldn’t taste any honey. :/

All in all, Harlow Brasserie in Kuningan is a nice place to have a lazy casual lunch at. Due to its spacious layout, one can talk loudly enough with having anyone eavesdrop on his/her conversations! The prices are mid range for Jakarta standards. 🙂

Harlow Brasserie
The H Tower, Mezzanine Floor
Jl. H. R. Rasuna Said Kav. 20
Jakarta 12940


After lunch, Ivana came over to play with Freckles. Ivana was amused at how small Freckles was, only slightly larger than the size of her palm. But to me, she’s growing wayyy too fast. (I secretly wish she would stay mini forever!)

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Little Freckles on Aunty Ivana’s lap.

As usual, Freckles was prancing around with great bursts of energy (a result of long periods of napping). We managed to quieten her down for a few wefies. It was so hard to get her to look at the camera though!

After expending all her energy, she fell asleep almost immediately. #suchacutie

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Struggling to keep awake.

Thank you for helping us take photos, Aunty Ivana! ❤ ❤ ❤

Come and play with Freckles again soon pleassssse.

Possibly THE BEST Gelato in Jakarta

If you’ve been to Italy, you’d probably have heard of GROM gelato since it is a big thing there. Outside of Italy, Grom also has stores in France, USA, Japan and UAE.

And guess what…their first outlet in South East Asia is IN JAKARTA itself!! Whooop whooop. Since its opening last year, GROM has attained a 4.7 rating on Zomato. Very impressive indeed.

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Grom’s FIRST outlet in South East Asia, Jakarta, Pacific Place Mall.

Unlike many other ice-creams/gelato, Grom’s gelato is 100% natural. I.e. their raw ingredients do not contain any flavourings, colours, preservatives or emulsifiers of any kind.

When ordering your gelato, you can choose from 4 types of serving portions either in a cone/cup — Small 2 flavors (IDR 48k), Medium 3 flavors (IDR 60), Large 3 flavors (IDR 72k), or Extra Large 4 flavors (IDR 85k).

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Some of their unique flavours, which you can request to taste.

Both Michelle and I got a Medium 3 flavors (IDR 60). I chose hazelnut, cherry cheesecake, and custard with nougat. All of them were SO GOOD – texture was super smooth and flavour was very rich. My perfect fix for a hot day.

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THE BEST.

If you don’t feel gelato-ish, you can check out their sorbets which I heard are equally awesome. Grom also serves affogato, granita and chocolato.

With Grom in Jakarta, I don’t have to take a plane to Italy to enjoy good authentic Italian gelato. So happy that it is just 20 minutes away from me now! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Grom 
Pacific Place Mall 1st floor #70-72
Jl Jend Sudirman Kav 52-53, Kebayoran Baru
South Jakarta 12190

Our First Weekend with 6-week Old Freckles

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Hello, nice to meet you. My name is Freckles!

Our first weekend with Freckles the tortie was surprisingly less traumatizing (and sweeter) than expected. When I first brought my 2 dogs back home (on 2 separate occasions), they peed and shat ALL OVER the house — on the carpet, at the sofa, on the dining chair leg, beside the bed, in the toilet…EVERYWHERE & ANYWHERE POSSIBLE. Hence it came as lovely surprise that Freckles was potty trained, even at 6-weeks old. After her first night with us, I checked every nook and cranny in her room on Sunday morning – ALL CLEAR. Phewwwww.

Here’s a rundown of what happened on Saturday – the day we collected Freckles. (Read about Freckles’ adoption story here: Our Kitten Adoption Story in Jakarta | thediplowifey.)

We picked up Freckles from Jo’s house on Saturday afternoon, after buying all the necessary cat supplies (e.g. litter box, dry and canned cat food, nail clipper, shampoo, scratching pole, food bowl, toys, etc etc) earlier in the morning. Having been taken away from her momma and siblings, the little kitty was really scared initially. She was shaking all over when in the car with us. Poooor baby.

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Shivering on my lap in the car.

We brought her straight to the vet for a full body check-up and to get her dewormed. At first glance, Dr. Osye (the vet) commented that she looked a lil’ funny. Upon further inspection, she went OH DEAR YOU HAVE NO WHISKERS!!! Why (??) and how (!!) her whiskers were missing I have no idea at all. Perhaps Jo’s little boy snipped them off while playing with her. Anyhow, I am hoping they grow out soon. :/

On the way back home, Freckles got a little more comfortable with us and took a nap during the car ride.

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Curled up like a ball fast asleep.

To get her acquainted with her new home, we took out her toys and played with her. We also taught her how to use her scratching pole (and NOT our furniture). She’s SUCHAAA FRISKY little thing! Agent D and I could hardly keep up with her as she pranced from one corner of the room to another. *signs of growing old*

For now, we are confining her to the laundry area at night and when we are not at home.

After close to 10 rounds of “catch the mouse”, Freckles fell into a deep slumber on Agent D’s lap. Apparently, kittens are like babies and need about 15 to 18 hours of sleep a day!

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Totally knocked out after playing.

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Drooling on daddy’s lap to mark territory.

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Aww.

I woke Freckles up for a short photo taking + selfie session. She was visibly annoyed at first but kindly accommodated me. What a sweetheart.

I may be biased but Freckles is a really smart kitty. PINTAR SEKALI! Without any training/teaching from us, she climbed up the high walls of her potty aka litter box to pee and poop. Looks like she’s living up to the name of being a Tortoiseshell cat.

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SHY. She turns her back to us when taking a dump.

As Freckles is not entirely weaned off from her momma’s milk yet, she sometimes snuggles up to my tummy and tries to find the non-existent nipples there. SHE MUST THINK I AM MOMMA CAT. Meow.

Milk aside, she’s been eating independently – a mixture of dry kitten food + wet canned food + water. As her stomach is still very small, I feed her 4-5 times a day depending on my schedule.

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Eating all by herself.

Freckles has started marking her territory around beautiful things at home. She has taken a liking to flowers (just like me), especially flowers that are from daddy.

Here are some of my favourite pictures of the little one:

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Say CHEEESE.

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I’m a black furball.

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Sleeping on my side.

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Are you sizing me up, handsome?

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Sweet dreams are made of this.

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Momma’s arm makes the best pillow.

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Sleeping belly up.

Ooopsies sorry for spamming you with pictures. BUT isn’t she just adorable?!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

If you haven’t got enough of Freckles, here are more sleeping pictures of her.

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Even as I type this post, she’s snuggling up on my lap.

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We hope you like your forever home, Freckles. Please don’t grow up so fast.

Good night, world. xxx

Familiarity – God’s Providence

God has always been good in bringing my friends to me, wherever I may be in the world. Perhaps He knows my greatest dislike – being alone. I know many thrive on their alone time, to just recharge and do their own things. Not for me though.

When I was doing my Masters in Oxford, I had friends visiting me every month – all unplanned. I’m not even sure how that happened but somehow, various people came up because they stopped by on their travels, came to U.K. for work/studies, flew up for a wedding over the weekend, came to visit me, travel with me, etc. I didn’t have much time to feel homesick because I was always looking forward to the next one coming up! (Thanks for dropping by Jialing, Serene, Estelle, Min, Chow, Arthur and friends, Ezra, Steph, Frank, Benj, and can’t remember who else!). I remember creating a Facebook album detailing their visits titled “Familiarity in a faraway land”. Those were GOOD TIMES I look back upon fondly.

Now in Jakarta, I can see how God provides again. Jialing comes down almost every month to see her Indonesian banking clients. Adeline comes once every 2-3 months for work and conferences. Pam and Ben stop by whenever their SQ flight does an overnight turn. Juli comes up to visit family. Joellyn comes up to visit family and for a wedding. And not forgetting Ivana, my old secondary school friend who moved back to Jakarta from Canada the same time I arrived in Jakarta.

Of course, God has also brought new friendships into my life here in Jakarta, and I’m ever so thankful for them. ❤

So anyway, Jia swung by Jakarta this week for work and we managed to catch up over dinner and cake.

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Good conversations and good food – I couldn’t be any happier.

Looking forward to seeing you again in July, Jia! ❤ ❤ ❤

On another note, Freckles is coming home with us tomorrow!!!!! *excited*

And I just found out that her birthday is one day before Agent D’s. That makes it all the more special for us.

Custom-made Furniture in Jakarta

One of the things I love best about living in Jakarta is shopping for all kinds of HANDMADE products – from intricate accessories and housewares to solid teak furniture. Indonesians are very good with their hands, often producing beautiful handicrafts at a VERY affordable cost. 🙂 🙂 🙂

If you’ve searched high and low for that perfect piece of furniture but to no avail, fret not. You can always custom-make it!!! The Kemang area in Jakarta houses loads of tailor-made furniture stores. Plus there are quite a number of cute cafes you can check out in between furniture shopping.

Two weeks ago, I bought two custom-made stools online for IDR 300K (S$30) each. Their legs are made of solid wood (which explains why they’re so heavy!!) and their tops consist of dyed rope coiled in repeated circles.

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Custom-made stools.

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Aren’t they pretty?

I can’t wait to use them in my new home! ❤

Of Weddings Back Home

When living away from home, I often miss out on birthday get-togethers, anniversary celebrations and of course, weddings of closed friends and family. With so many friends in my age bracket getting hitched every other week, it is almost impossible to fly down for every single one of them. 😦

But when I can, it is always a joy to witness a beautiful union of two people I hold dear. On top of that, I get to catch up with old friends at the wedding (given how our circle of friends often overlap in Singapore).

Throwback to the few weddings I managed to attend last year after moving to Jakarta:

Last Friday, I took a night flight back home for Hazel’s big day on Saturday. It was such a sweet lovely affair and I’m so glad I managed to make it.

I first met Hazel at Ovspring Developmental Clinic, where I was doing my summer clinical placement for 3 months. Hazel was an occupational therapist there and we hit it off really well, becoming fast friends. During our years of singledom, we spent quite a bit of time together – encouraging each other in the word and sharing our hearts.

Fast forward 6 years down, and here we are both married. AND Hazel is now a Mrs. D’Cruz!!! (What a cool surname heh.)

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#Mezel bridal party.

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With the beautiful bride.

Pardon the hugeee dark circles under my eyes. I was a walking half-zombie the entire day, having slept only 2 hours the night before and arriving at Hazel’s house at 6 a.m. in the morning. But it was well worth it. 🙂

Thankfully, I managed to take a quick power nap in between the church wedding and banquet dinner.

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Helping out at the reception table for the dinner banquet.

Coincidentally, I was put on the same table with my St. Marg’s senior, Hannah – whom I’ve not seen and talked to since graduation?! Singapore is such a small world really, with just 2 degrees of separation between most of us.

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With Hannah (who is expecting this August!!) and her husband, Fred.

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With the newly weds – Mr. and Mrs. D’Cruz.

Even though Singapore is only a 1+ hour flight away from Jakarta, I always find it surreal to be back home, to be awoken by the familiar sounds of birds chirping in the morning, to smell the aroma of chee cheong fun and chwee kueh on the breakfast table, to hear my grandma’s laughter, my parents’ voices, and kevin’s barking in the background, etc.

And now it also seems unreal that I’m back in Jakarta in another time and space, back to my normal routine. I can’t quite explain it.

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Agent D and I against the flower wall at Changi Airport.

Oh well. Time to coooook.

xxx

Our Kitten Adoption Story in Jakarta

Last Friday, on the “Expat Jakarta Garage Sale #1” Facebook group, a lady by the name of Jo posted that her cat had given birth and 4 of her kittens were up for adoption. She attached the picture below:

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Please help us find a home!

How to reject those cute lil’ faces right. Well, for some time, Agent D and I were thinking of getting a dog/cat to keep us company in Jakarta. We toyed with the idea for a while, went to visit pet shops in Singapore, looked at adoption websites online – but we couldn’t find THEE ONE.

When I first saw the Facebook post, my heart melted. I forwarded the picture to Agent D on Whatsapp (he was at work at that time) and he replied, “Let’s go see them this Sunday”. We fell in love with all of them at first sight. One thing led to another and…YES one of them is coming home with us!!! 🙂

Here’s what happened…

We dropped by Jo’s house (way down in South Jakarta) on Sunday and she introduced us to momma cat and her 4 babies. Momma cat was very protective over the kitties and kept looking at us suspiciously (well I guess I would too, if I were her). As the kittens are only four weeks old, they’re not weaned off from their momma yet.

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Yo Wassssup.

A Japanese lady had earlier adopted the 2 white kitties, who happened to be also the males of the litter.

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Brothers who were adopted together.

That left us with 2 choices – the grey tabby or the black tortie. Both were females and equally cute in their own special ways.

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This grey stripy lil’ one has a snowy white underside and white socks.

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This black cutie has patches of colours all over her.

Jo and her husband tried to persuade us to adopt the 2 of them together. But being first time cat owners, we thought it was better to start off with one.

Agent D and myself spent the next half hour or so playing with the kittens to see which one would bond with us best. It was such a hard decision to make as both were simply SO SO SO ADORABLE.

We eventually decided on…*drum roll*…the black tortie. From our short observation of the kitties, she seemed more responsive to our touches and liked to be cuddled in our arms. There was one instance where she crawled up onto my leg and remained there for a good few minutes. AWW.

Although she can only come home with us in a few weeks time (when she’s about 7-8 weeks old), we have already thought of a name for her — FRECKLES.

Jo taught us how to pick up the kitties by the skin fold around their necks (just like how momma picks them up). Agent D managed to do it successfully whilst I couldn’t bring myself to “pinch” them!

And I know I look like I’m strangling poor Freckles in the last picture. :/ Both Agent D and myself have loads to read up on how to care for Freckles and provide her with a warm, loving home environment.

BTW does anyone know where I can buy a scratching post (sisal covered) and cat tree (for climbing) in Jakarta?!

Counting down to 3 weeks time! XXX