Authentic Japanese Dining Series: Sakana in Sudirman

Sakana Japanese Restaurant was recommended to me by my Indonesian foodie friend. Shortly after, Agent D’s friend also raved about the Japanese food there. Last weekend, we decided to check it out for lunch.

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Sakana Japanese Restaurant.

Located in the basement of Midplaza 1 office tower in Sudirman, the restaurant is easily recognizable with its big red lanterns. Interestingly, Sakana is an izakaya — a type of informal Japanese gastropub for casual after-work drinks (perhaps that’s why it was so quiet on a weekend??). According to my friend, it is quite popular among the Japanese community and it is a common sight to see Japanese men chatting over sake and snacks on weekday evenings.

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Entrance of Sakana. The wine cellar is up ahead on the left side.

The restaurant’s interior is dimly lit and has a quaint Japanese charm. Made to look like a izakaya in Japan (or maybe just to save $$$), the floor area + corridors are narrow and the cashier area is tiny.

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Cashier area and private rooms on both sides.

Sakana’s classic Japanese decor gives diners an authentic Japanese experience. The restaurant consists of private rooms with full-length wooden panels. The rooms can accommodate two or more diners – some have regular tables and chairs whilst others are tatami rooms where you are required to take off your shoes before entering. There is also bar seating.

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More private cubicles. The entire place feels like a maze.

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From inside our private room.

Sakana offers a traditional Japanese menu at reasonable prices. I read online that Sakana’s Takoyaki (fried octopus balls) is the “it” thing in Sakana and one of the best in Jakarta. Other signature dishes are the Yakitori (skewers of choice morsels, grilled with tare or salt), Sushi Mori (assorted Sushi), and Tempura Mori (assorted tempura).

Here’s the menu for your viewing. 🙂

As we went during lunch time, Agent D and myself ordered from the bento set menu. I had the Unagi Don Set (IDR 142k) while Agent D had the Oyako Don Set (IDR 67k). Both sets are served with miso soup, pickles, and dessert. Such a pity we had a filling breakfast before lunch…if not I’d definitely have ordered the Takoyaki to try.

The grilled eel was not the best I’ve tasted in Jakarta, but it wasn’t too bad either. Oh and the cut was quite fatty too (in case you like/dislike fats).
Agent D liked his chicken-egg-onion mixture though. He finished every drop of his rice. :/
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Happy diners.

I guess we’ll be back to try out the much acclaimed Takoyaki. And the Yakitori. Oh and the Sushi Mori too. Perhaps with some sake the next round. 😉
If you are craving for casual Japanese food without burning a hole in your pocket, Sakana may be the place to go! X

Sakana Japanese Restaurant

Mid Plaza 1 Basement Floor 
JL. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 10 -11

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Little Things to Remember

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Simple meal for two.

It’s been a while since I last updated on my kitchen happenings (see Kitchen Diaries for some background). Well, it hasn’t been too exciting I guess.

So last night, I cooked watercress pork ribs soup, salted fish taugeh with tofu, and stir-fry pork with garlic and herbs.

Agent D: “My heart is full.”

And that made all the oily hair and washing up worth it. (Am penning this down to remind myself WHY I COOK, an activity I still can’t seem to resonate with.)

Ok good night world. XOXO

Healthy Eating in Jakarta: Wholesome Smoothie Bowls at Berrywell

What is a smoothie bowl?

While a regular smoothie can be slurped up with a straw, a smoothie bowl is much thicker in consistency (i.e. you’ll have to enjoy it with a spoon). One can add endless (healthy) toppings to their smoothie bowl – homemade granola, muesli, frozen fruits, raisins, nuts, acai, chia seeds…the list is endless.

Smoothie bowls are perfect for breakfast/brunch/lunch, as a post-workout meal, or even for dessert. YUMMM. So where can you get your smoothie bowl fix in Jakarta??

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Smoothie bowls at Berrywell (credit: @berrywelljkt).

Located in the basement carpark of Fairgrounds, Berrywell is a minimalist health bar which serves up wholesome smoothie bowls of goodness. The smoothie bowls at Berrywell are very reasonably priced taking into account the fact that many of their ingredients are imported (e.g. acai berries are from Brazil).

There is a grand total of EIGHT tempting smoothie bowls on their menu — from  Berry Well Signature (with acai, banana, mixed berries and coco water), to PB & B (with banana, peanut butter and multigrain milk), to Choco Chia Parfait (with chocolate, chia seeds, coffee, honey and multigrain milk), to Green Energy for the super health conscious (with spinach, sunkist, banana, pineapple, and multigrain milk). Sounds ah-maaazing, doesn’t it!

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A healthy kind of lunch. But soOooo good!

Apart from smoothie bowls which come in either small or regular size, Berrywell also offers actual smoothies, cold-pressed juices, a small selection of vegetarian-friendly burgers and wraps, guilt-free cakes, tea (from Lewis & Carroll) and coffee. I love it that the calorie count is displayed for all items on the menu.

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Cake corner.

I visited Berrywell with Sasha and Ivana right after our pilates session. As it was my post-workout meal, I opted for a small Amaze-Bowl (153 cal) + a Banoffee Smoothie (174 cal). The two combined were pretty filling for lunch. #NoMoreNasiGoreng #NoMorePasta

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Small Amaze-Bowl with acai, mixed berries, cranberries, banana and coco water (153 cal) – IDR 45k.

My Amaze-Bowl’s smoothie base is made up of acai, mixed berries, cranberries, banana and coconut water blended together. The smoothie is really smooth and thick – which means fruits > water was added in. It was topped up with generous portions of granola, banana, peach, pumpkin, chia seeds and grated coconut.

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Small Dragon Bowl-Z with dragon fruit, mixed berries, banana and coco water (158 cal) – IDR 40k.

If you are a dragon fruit fan, you’ll love this Dragon Bowl-Z. Guarantee plus chop.

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Regular Berry Well Signature with acai, banana, mixed berries and coco water (306 cal) – IDR 60k.

If you are spoilt for choice, you won’t go wrong with the establishment’s Berrywell Signature with acai, banana, mixed berries and coconut water as the base. And topped off with banana, kiwi, granola, chia seeds, coconut and chocolate flakes.

Am lovin’ this smoothie bowl super food. Can’t wait to check out other smoothie bowl places in Jakarta!

P.S.: Berrywell does not add sugar into their bowls; the sweetness of each bowl comes mainly from the fruits. 🙂

P.P.S.: Berrywell’s sister company, Leafwell, caters healthy meals to your doorstep. Their dishes are nutritionally counted and prepared daily using organic and fresh products.


Berrywell
Fairground SCBD Lot 14
Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav 52-53
Jakarta, Indonesia 12430

Authentic Japanese Dining Series: ASUKA at JW Marriott

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Asuka Japanese Dining.

Asuka Japanese Dining at JW Marriott is a fine dining restaurant offering FRESH cuts of sashimi, sushi, and seasonal food. According to the hotel staff, majority of their ingredients are flown in directly from Japan’s Tsukiji & Fukuoka fish markets. WOAH now you no longer have to fly 7 hours to eat fresh Japanese sashimi.

Decked out in modern zen furniture, Asuka’s interior feels very woody-cosy. The restaurant has a limited seating capacity with a few private tatami rooms, sushi bar counter seats, and less than 10 small tables. I love it that all the waitresses wear kimonos and white socks…totally adds to the Japanese experience.

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Japanese sundate.

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Our view by the window.

They have a good omakase menu featuring exotic Japanese delicacies like shirako (fish sperm??!), fugu (tiger blowfish), assorted sashimi and sushi etc. Some of the courses consist of seasonal ingredients which are available only at certain times of the year. The omakase doesn’t come cheap though — be prepared to set aside IDR 2,000,000++/pax on average. 😉

If you’re not prepared to fork out a lot of $$$, do not despair. They have really affordable, good quality BENTO SETS. Available 7 days a week during LUNCH time. Whooooop.

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‘Sashimi, Unajyu Bento’ (IDR 290k).

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‘Barachirashi Bento’ (IDR 260k).

Agent D’s ‘Sashimi, Unajyu Bento’ (IDR 290k) came with sashimi slices on the side, which is more value for money than ordering sashimi independently. (We had dinner at Asuka a few months back and a plate of salmon sashimi set us back by IDR 250K.)

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Salmon Sashimi (IDR 250k), about the price of a bento set.

 The lunch bento sets are served with a small bowl of salad and fresh fruits after.

The salmon slices in my barachirashi were very fresh and nicely cut. I must say the quality of ingredients is pretty unparalleled for Japanese food in Jakarta.

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Close-up of my ‘Barachirashi Bento’.

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CHEERS to awesome possum sashimi in Jakarta!!!

Agent D really liked his unagi + tempura + sashimi slices. I tried the tempura egg plant and it was so goooood. The tempura batter was just right.

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Close-up of ‘Sashimi, Unajyu Bento’.

Now you know where to go if you’re cravin’ for some good quality authentic Japanese food! 😉


Asuka Japanese Dining
JW Marriott Hotel

Cafe Series: Lucky Cat Coffee & Kitchen in Kuningan

This is a long overdueee post on Lucky Cat Coffee & Kitchen (pardon me!). I wanted to write a post when I visited the cafe some two months back but inertia got the better of me zzz. Anyway, I visited Lucky Cat again for brunch yesterday. So here goes…

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Lucky Cat Coffee & Kitchen.

A pretty new establishment in Kuningan, Lucky Cat’s interior is gorgeous with its lush green plants, marble-top tables, and light wood furniture. #feelslikehome #homegoals

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Two storeys of cafe space.

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People watching from my seat.

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Coffee corner.

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Emergency coffee beans, anyone?

The entire place is lit up by natural sunlight which streams in from the translucent ceiling panels above – making all your pictures (and selfies) look really nice. 🙂

In the middle of the coffee joint is a towering REAL tree; a hole is made in the roof for the tree to grow out. How cool is that.

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Blending nature with food.

Lucky Cat is open to the public 7 days a week, 24 hours a day — it is a 24/7 coffee joint, a rarity in Jakarta. Now you know where to get your caffeine fix early in the morning/late at night or where to chill with friends past 10 p.m., bars aside.

Since it is primarily a coffee shop, I had to check out the coffee. You get to choose whether you want your coffee strong or light. I ordered a flat white (light blend) and it was not too bad.

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Freshly squeezed juice. Can’t go wrong with that.

Besides coffee, they also have light bites, main courses, and cakes. The selection is very small though. From my two visits to Lucky Cat, I think I’ve already tried half of the main courses on the menu.

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‘Nasi Lemak Malacca’ (IDR 65K) – still prefer the nasi lemak version back in Singapore.

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‘Spaghetti Carbonara’ (IDR 69K) – nice and creamy with bacon bits. A little jelak though.

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‘Chicken Wings’ (IDR 45K) – crispiness was about right.

Their ‘Pan Seared Salmon’ (IDR 79K) deserves special mention though. For most mains elsewhere, the portion of greens is usually small. However, this pan seared salmon came with a sizable portion of sauteed spinach which tasted really yummy with a hint of butter. The cherry tomatoes and baby potatoes on the side were seasoned and done up well too.

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‘Pan Seared Salmon’ (IDR 79K) – a good eat, worth the price.

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ENAK.

And of course, a chocolate cake (as always) to provide a sweet finish to the meal.

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‘Chocolate Cake’ (IDR 39K) – light, fluffy and chocolatey. Wish they had gone easier on the top layer fresh cream though.

Have fun taking instagrammable pictures with your food. x


Lucky Cat Coffee & Kitchen
Plaza Festival (South Parking)
Jl. Haji R. Rasuna Said Kav. C No. 22
Kuningan, South Jakarta.

Explore Indonesia #9: A Hidden Gem in Belitung (Seychelles of Asia)

Sorry I’ve been MIA-ing for so long! I was pretty occupied the past two weeks and couldn’t find time to sit down and update. Today, I’m staying in because there is a mass demonstration by Islamic hardliners happening around Jakarta. Am praying that peace will reign in Indonesia. For more information:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indonesia-on-high-alert-for-nov-4-protest-against-jakarta/3249324.html

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/thousands-of-muslim-hardliners-to-rally-in-jakarta-over-alleged-blasphemy-by-governor


So last week, Ivana and I made an impromptu decision to visit the secret tropical paradise of Belitung. We booked our air tickets and hotel just four days before and off we went!

Belitung is almost like the Seychelles of Asia, with its unique and beautiful granite rock formations all over the island. Its beaches have fine white sand surrounded by pristine waters a brilliant shade of turquoise. And the best thing yet – it is only one hour by flight from Jakarta! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Belitung, Seychelles of Asia. #nofilter

We didn’t want to rush around ‘seeing’ things and decided to take things easy for our three (two full) days there.

Our first stop was the magical Kaolin Lake – a world of white and blue formed from extreme mining activity decades ago. Isn’t it such a beautiful irony?

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Kaolin Lake.

After checking into the hotel, we spent some time exploring the city centre. Belitung is pretty untouched by tourism and is not as commercialized as Bali.

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Belitung, city centre.

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There are no malls in Belitung, only shops like these.

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A must-try in Belitung – Mie Belitung Atep.

We spent the latter half of the day hiding from the rain at the BW suites bar, which has a lovely view.

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Fries by the pool/sea.

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Rain, rain, please go away!

Thankfully the rain cleared up after three (!!!) hours. According to the locals, it is the rainy season now and heavy showers can last for an entire day. I guess we should count ourselves lucky.

We headed to Tanjung Tinggi Beach to catch the sunset + have dinner by the beach.

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Tanjung Tinggi Beach.

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Such cloudyyy skies.

Tanjung Tinggi is one of the more popular Belitung beaches after being featured in the Indonesian movie, Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops). The film was the highest-grossing in Indonesian box office history and won a number of local and international awards.

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HUGE granite boulders.

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So this is how an ant feels like…

Dinner was a short walk away at Lemadang Seafood and Grill. A boardwalk connects the restaurant to the beachfront. One can opt to sit by the beach and enjoy the fresh breeze over dinner, which we did.

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Sun finally setting over the sea.

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Dinner under the stars. 🙂

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Highlight of our meal – seafood soup in coconut.

The dishes were simple but delicious. Our tummies were filled with happiness. 🙂

We woke up early the next day for our island hopping tour with Street Taxi (IDR 400K for a private boat/day). The islands of Belitung are simply gorgeous! I’ll let pictures do the talking…

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Pulau Lengkuas from afar.

Pulau Lengkuas is a small clean island surrounded by big rocks and dreamy white sand. The many big palm trees around the island provide shady spots for a picnic and allow you to seek respite from the sweltering heat.

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Setting foot on the island.

Pulau Lengkuas has an iconic lighthouse, which was recently re-painted without any change to its historical interior.

Do not skip climbing up to the top-most storey of the lighthouse — awaiting you is a view to behold like no other. Just standing there and taking in the vast expanse of the ocean to infinity and beyond = BREATHTAKING.

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Thank God for the good weather – sun hiding behind the cotton candy clouds.

We snorkelled around Pulau Lengkuas and saw many cute fishes and beautiful corals.

Our next stop was Pulau Kepayang, home to a conservation centre that promotes eco-tourism. Baby turtles are kept there till they’re big enough to be set free into the sea.

One can also dive, snorkel, or canoe around the lovely island.

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Picturesque Seychelles-like boulders and pristine turquoise waters.

The guy who took us around the island told us that he has been staying on the island for years. He loves taking photos and reads up on photography techniques at night because there is simply nothing to do on the island. At that point, I loaned him my camera so he could hone his skills.

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Photo taken by our island friend.

Whilst waiting for lunch to be ready, we explored the granite boulders tucked away on the other side of the island (all photos taken by our enthusiastic photographer).

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Take #1: In the waters.

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Take #2: My ANTM moment.

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Take #3: Up on a boulder.

And more photos…

We were super duper hungry towards the end of our ‘photo shoot’. Thankfully lunch was ready in good time. We ordered our lunch (IDR 110k/pax) through Street Taxi because it is apparently cheaper than ordering on the island itself.

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A feast by the sea – cooked by our two boatmen.

After lunch, we stopped by Pulau Kelayang to see its caves.

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Mesmerizing blue.

Just before boarding our boat, we caught sight of a starfish!!! This little one was washed up to shore along with the receding tide.

From a distance, I saw some thoughtless tourists remove a starfish from the sea. To my dismay, they were taking turns to take selfies with the starfish!! :/ [Note: Starfish are a delicate species that cannot survive out of water for long.]

We headed back to the hotel to wash up thereafter. Dinner was at Belitung Timpo Duluk, which serves traditional Belitung-styled dinner.

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Belitung Timpo Duluk.

The interior of the restaurant is homely yet quaint and vintage at the same time. And there’s AIR-CON (!!!) inside, a rare find in Belitung.

You have to try their speciality ‘Dulang Set’, which consists of gangan ikan (fish head), ayam ketumbar (coriander chicken), sate ikan (fish satay), atiampela (gizzard and heart innards), lalapan (raw vegetable salad) and sambal serai (lemongrass hot sauce). #sogoodANDawesome

I cannot remember the exact price of the Dulang Set but it was very reasonable.

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What’s cooking?! Surrprissssse!

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Great meal to end off our Belitung stay.

You’ve been nothing short of ah-maaazing, Belitung! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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And thank you, Ivana, for coming along this adventure with me! 😉