Best Japanese Brunch Buffet In Jakarta: ENMARU

Enmaru (rated 4.8 on Google, 4.8 on Zomato and 4.5 on Trip Advisor at the point of writing) is part of a group of three restaurants called Altitude, located on the 46th floor of The Plaza. From there, you get to enjoy one of the finest 360 degree views of the city + a spectacular view of Jakarta’s bay with boats lining the coastline.

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Bird’s-eye view from where we were seated in Enmaru.

Since opening its doors in 2006, Enmaru has been highly regarded as Japan’s no.1 Izakaya restaurant. (Izakaya is a Japanese dining style where one sits down for sake after a long day at work.) In Japan, Enmaru won the champion award for two nationwide restaurant competitions — the “Izakaya Koshien 2010” and the “S1 Server Grand Prix 2011”.

ENMARU has a total of 13 restaurants in Japan, Jakarta, Singapore, Hong Kong and most recently in Shanghai.

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Enmaru – bringing the authenticity of Japanese culinary to you.

Enmaru Jakarta’s interior is like that of a traditional Izakaya restaurant tucked in a corner of a busy Tokyo street. The dark solid timbers, stone slabs, and rustic wood decor give the entire place an authentic Japanese ambiance. The atmosphere is lively and warm,  great for all occasions from family gatherings to romantic date nights.

Since its opening, Enmaru’s top priority has been to ensure the freshness of its products (I guess that’s what Japanese food is all about right!). Their seafood is air-flown from the world’s biggest fish market, Tsukiji in Tokyo.

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Visiting Enmaru when my parents were in town.

I’ve been wanting to check out Enmaru’s all-you-can-eat weekend brunch for the longest time ever. And I finally got down to it earlier this month, when Dad and Mom visited Jakarta over Chinese New Year.

The weekend brunch buffet runs every Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday (12pm – 3pm). Unlike the usual buffet where you have to walk around to get your food, you can place your orders directly with the waiter, a la carte style. Thus, you can be assured that every dish comes to you freshly prepared from the kitchen.

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All-you-can-eat weekend brunch menu (IDR 385k++/pax).

Renowned for its classic Japanese cuisine and iconic homemade dishes, the variety of food on their menu is pretty extensive. And I’ve to add the quality is good too.

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Table flatlay of our first round of orders (appetizer round 1.0).

I won’t be reviewing all the individual dishes we had; that’ll take me forever as we tried almost everything on the menu. I’ll post up some pictures though. 🙂

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Tofu Agejako Salad.

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Tori Momo Kushiyaki 3 Kinds Moriawase (1 was devoured by Agent D).

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Sashimi 3 Kinds (I requested for all salmon) – LOVED IT.

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Unagi Tempura & Cream Cheese Ika Sumi Roll.

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Aburi Salmon Spicy Roll – one of my faves.

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Wagyu Tongue & Gyu Suji Miso Nikomi Gratin Soup Shitate.

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Grilled Eringi Mushrooms.

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Unagi Gohan – one of my faves.

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Mushi Buta Ponzu – pork belly was so good.

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Buta Kakuni Wasabi Potato.

Special mention goes to these two items on the menu:

This is seriously the best chawanmushi I’ve had in Jakarta. The texture was just right and the egg custard literally  melted in my mouth. The pairing of foie gras on top was an excellent combination. I would definitely go back to Enmaru just for this. ❤

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Foie Gras Steak & Yaki Onigiri.

Another AMAZEBALL dish is the Foie Gras Steak & Yaki Onigiri. I ordered 3 portions of this all to myself. The sauteed foie gras, together with the teriyaki sauce, was SO YUMMY. The grilled onigiri helped to neutralize the strong foie gras taste.

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Our faces one inch wider.

The desserts, though limited, was of impeccable quality. I loved every bit of the Ice Cream Zenzai which contained all my favourite things — matcha, azuki, and mochi. ‘Twas was a nice sweet finish to a very filling brunch.

You don’t have to travel all the way to Japan to satisfy your Jap cravings — just head down to Enmaru! 🙂 🙂 🙂


Enmaru Japanese Restaurant
Altitude, The Plaza level 46,
Jalan M.H. Thamrin No.28 – 30
Menteng, Jakarta 

Straits Times Feature on Our Volunteering Journey in Jakarta

It’s been exactly a year since I first wrote about Volunteering in Jakarta: Kampung Kids (dated 26 Feb 2016). And today, one year on, an article was published on Straits Times Online titled ‘Singaporean volunteers bridge education gap in South Jakarta‘.

Working with the children from Kampung Kids has been a wonderful learning journey for both Dianne and myself and this write-up is a lovely keepsake of our time spent there.

I will be sharing it with you here:


Singaporean volunteers bridge education gap in South Jakarta neighbourhood

Singaporeans Deborah Lee and Dianne Goh sat on tiny chairs, with half a dozen curious preschoolers at their feet. Their eyes widened and narrowed and their voices rose and fell as they recited each line from “The Three Friends”, a children’s story about animals.

In a smattering of English and basic Bahasa Indonesia, the volunteer teachers tried to make themselves understood.

Unsure of the Indonesian term for elephant’s trunk, Ms Lee resorted to using hand gestures. She balled one hand into a fist, put it in front of her face and extended it outwards.

“This is elephant’s trunk,” she said. Ms Goh chimed in: “Trunk. Not nose, OK? Trunk.” The children nodded.

After the story-telling session, they played videos on their i-pad and led the class in singing and dancing to simple tunes such as “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”.

Ms Dianne Goh (short hair) and Ms Deborah Lee (long hair), volunteer teachers from Singapore, teaching Indonesian children English. They are among 20 volunteer teachers at the Yayasan Kampung Kids, a foundation in the poorer neighbourhood of Pejaten in South Jakarta. PHOTO: SHELBY GARLICK

Ms Lee, 29, and Ms Goh, 28, are among 20 volunteer teachers at the Yayasan Kampung Kids, a foundation in the poorer neighbourhood of Pejaten in South Jakarta which has been running free educational, as well as food and nutrition programmes for the underprivileged for nearly two decades.

Ms Lee has been volunteering there since 2015, shortly after moving to Jakarta where her husband is stationed for work. Ms Goh did the same last year.

In a country where pre-primary education is not compulsory, and most of the kindergartens and nurseries are privately-run and expensive, volunteer teachers like them are much welcomed.

Ms Dianne Goh (short hair) and Ms Deborah Lee (long hair), volunteer teachers from Singapore, teaching Indonesian children English. PHOTO: SHELBY GARLICK

The government has been increasing funds gradually for early childhood education and plans are afoot to build an education centre in every village across the country. In the meantime, foundations like Kampung Kids are helping to fill the service gap.

Housewife Sumarni, 45, said she would have to fork out anywhere between one and five million rupiah (S$105-S$526) to enrol her five-year-old daughter Nurita in a regular kindergarten, and another 300,000 rupiah every month for school fees.

“All parents want the best education for their children. But not everyone can afford that,” she said.

The biggest challenge for the Singaporeans, as expected, is the language barrier. But they say this has only spurred them to get creative.

Ms Lee, who holds a Master’s degree in Child Development and Education, had taught English and Mathematics to primary school pupils in Singapore and wanted to continue helping the local community.

Ms Dianne Goh teaching Indonesian children English. PHOTO: SHELBY GARLICK

“The children hardly understand or speak English while I’m not very fluent in Bahasa Indonesia,” she said, adding that she conveys her messages by drawing pictures and playing charades. Sometimes, the mothers who sit in during the lessons will help her explain to the children.

Struggles aside, they aim to make lessons fun through songs and get the children “used to listening to English”, Ms Goh said.

“We have to use very simple and short stories. We also get them to repeat the sentences after us,” she added. “I can see the importance of giving young children a good foundation in education as it gives them self-confidence, and a love for learning.”

The parents say they appreciate the efforts of the foreign teachers – including those from Singapore, India, Australia, Britain and the US – and do not mind that they are not fluent in Bahasa Indonesia.

“They could be doing something else with their time, but choose to come here to teach our kids. I’m just grateful,” 30-year-old Fitriyah said.

Ms Deborah Lee teaching Indonesian children English. PHOTO: SHELBY GARLICK

Agreeing, housewife Nenah, 32, said that her daughter would sing English nursery rhymes at home and tell her that she looks forward to going to school.

“I hope my child will be able to master English so she can interact with people other than Indonesians,” she said.

For the Singaporean teachers, sharing knowledge goes two ways: The pupils and the parents have not only expanded their Indonesian vocabulary, but have also given them valuable life lessons.

“They taught me so much more beyond the four walls of the classroom,” Ms Lee said.

“Despite not having much, the children are very content and carefree. I’ve also learnt to be content in life, in various situations and circumstances,” she said.

“They constantly remind me to have a bigger and more generous heart towards the poor.”

aarlina@sph.com.sg


The original article with the video can be found at this link: http://str.sg/4nxg.

If you have any questions about volunteering in Jakarta, feel free to drop me a note here! 🙂

Weekend Trip to Miri, Sarawak

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Singapore Changi Airport.

Last weekend, My college friend (Greg) got married to his sweetheart (Val). As Val is from Miri, the couple decided to hold their wedding celebrations there.

I flew back to Singapore on Thursday night and was back at the airport on Friday morning to take the flight out to Miri. With work and family commitments in recent years, it’s been a long while since my JC friends and I travelled together. Thus we were all really looking forward to this short getaway.

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The whole Miri gang (the flight consisted mainly of Greg’s contingent of friends and relatives).

Greg and Val lovingly planned out an itinerary for all their guests:

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Wedding itinerary.

For most of us, it was our virgin trip to Miri, a coastal city in northeastern Sarawak. Located really close to Brunei, Miri covers an area of 997.43 square kilometres with a population of 234,541.

We decided to stay at Pullman Waterfront as most of the wedding festivities were held there. Here’s an aerial view of Miri from our hotel.

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Coastal city of Miri.

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We spotted many locals fishing and having a picnic along the banks.

We didn’t get to explore the city much as there wasn’t time to do so. But we managed to have loads of bonding time together, just like old times. 🙂

DAY 1

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It’s always hard to take a group picture…

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ALAS, FINALLY!

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Dinner and drinks at The Hangover 2.

DAY 2

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Roomies for this trip.

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Managed to catch Greg before he headed off to church.

Everything in Miri seems to be really close by; all our to-and-fro journeys (airport included) were within a travelling distance of 15 minutes. Feels really weird not having to sit in a vehicle for longer than 30 minutes! #JakartaWoes

The wedding ceremony took place at Canada Hill Church, a 10 minute drive from Pullman. Here are some snippets:

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Greg’s entourage (his granny is so well-preserved!).

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Val’s entourage.

To me, the most important part of any wedding celebration is actually the Holy Matrimony – watching the couple come before God in the presence of many witnesses to seal their love for each other.

“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.” – Franz Schubert

We are so happy you found the love of your life, Greg! Congrats and big love to you both!!

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Too up-close for comfort.

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Friends for 13 years and counting!

The dinner reception was an unconventional but heartwarming one. Clad in the traditional costume of Val’s tribe, the couple put up an entertaining performance for everyone.

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With the happy couple in their tribal costumes.

There was loads of singing and dancing with more than half of the guests (many in their 50s and 60s) heading to the dance floor to do their thang. Not to mention Greg’s hilarious brother/emcee, who got all the Malaysians, Singaporeans and Aussies in the house laughing themselves silly.

Although there was no customary round table photo-taking, the photo booth was more than enough for the night.

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Enjoying the photo booth to the fullest.

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Brings to mind the good ol’ neoprint days.

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Our own table photo!

And so this sums up my weekend stay in Miri. 🙂

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Home sweet home.

I stayed in Singapore for one more day before heading back to Jakarta on Monday morning. Poor Agent D was surviving off cup noodles and takeaways in my absence and I wanted to return to cook him a home-cooked meal. 🙂

I’m already looking forward to the next getaway…I wonder when that’ll be though? I hope your weekend was a good one. x

Jakarta Finds: Shopping at Pasar Tanah Abang

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A dizzying array of merchandise at Pasar Tanah Abang.

According to my dear friend Wikipedia, Pasar Tanah Abang has been around since 1735 (super ancient). It is the largest textile and garment wholesale center in Indonesia + Southeast Asia with over 13,000 kiosks and ten thousands of shoppers per day. It is even bigger than ITC Mangga Dua Mall, which I already think is mega HUGEEE.

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Menswear level.

At Tanah Abang, you can find just about everything and anything — batik, woven cloth, kebaya, children’s clothing, menswear, womenswear, Muslim wear, jeans, bags, shoes, accessories, household and bedding items.

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Shop after shop carrying tons of pretty batik.

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Art and craft supplies.

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Bedding items. (My American friend custom-makes her fitted sheets and duvet at Tanah Abang for a good price. Prices differ according to the thread count.)

As it is a wholesale center, the goods sold in Tanah Abang are more varied and cheaper than that of ITC Mangga Dua or Thamrin City Mall (its competitors).

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Don’t forget to bargain!

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Random items you may want to sew/iron onto your fabrics.

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Children’s bags.

Tanah Abang consists of several ‘Bloks‘, with Blok A and Blok B being the biggest, newest, and most comfy to shop in (fully air-conditioned). They remind me somewhat of a modern organized market.

My personal opinion is that shopping at Blok A and B is more than sufficient. My driver actually dropped us off at Blok F’s carpark and we had to walk through a maze within Blok F to get to Blok A. I didn’t like Blok F at all; it was dark, dingy, and very smokey (cough cough).

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Blok A, Tanah Abang.

For those who are thinking of dropping by Tanah Abang, you may find this shopping directory helpful. (Reference: Going shopping at Tanah Abang market? – The Jakarta Post).

Shopping Guide

B1 floor: Various bedding items including sheets, pillows and bed covers, as well as fabrics for kebaya (traditional Javanese blouse), jeans, batik and woven cloth.

SLG & LG floors: These floors are the place for hijab, mukena (female prayer dresses), gamis (Islamic robes), blouses, Muslim wear, kebaya and kaftans. Besides these items, children’s wear can also be found on the LG floor, from school attire to children’s swimwear and sportswear.

G and 1st floors: Menswear including T-shirts, shirts, pants, sportswear and jackets.

2nd and 3rd floors: More variations of womenswear can be found here, including office attire, accessories, bags and wallets.

3A and 7th floors: Various kind of clothes, from original labels to imitations, new to secondhand, are sold on these floors.

5th and 6th floors: A mix of clothes are sold on these floors, from women’s and men’s to children’s and family wear. Clothes for youngsters can be found on the 6th floor.

8th floor: The eighth floor has a food court with fast food and traditional Indonesian cuisine options available.

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Shopping directory for Blok A.

If possible, reach Tanah Abang as early as you can on a weekday. The crowd starts to build up towards the afternoon and the place is especially crowded on weekends/public holidays (crowded might be an understatement).

My loot from Tanah Abang: 1 pair of nice fitting jeans, a shirt for Agent D and 2 necklaces which I absolutely adore!

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Bought a shirt for Agent D from this rack. Can you guess which one? :p

P.S. Bring enough cash $$$.

P.P.S. Must bargain/haggle!

P.P.P.S. Protect yourself from pickpockets. Spread out your money in different places!

Happpppy shopping. x

It’s Always Tea Time at Lewis & Carroll Tea Jakarta

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. LEWIS

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Lewis & Carroll Tea.

Lewis & Carroll Tea is an artisan tea house that has been around for some time in Jakarta. I’ve been wanting to check the place out (since early last year!) and finally got to do so last week. And I loved everything about it — the earth-toned, brightly lit space and the entire collection of lovely tea.

The cafe’s interior is very spacious and white, with loads of daylight. It seems like a great place to have good conversations over tea, or to simply sit in solitude with a book and a cuppa tea.img_16351

Inspired by two tea-loving literary icons C.S Lewis and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll), Lewis & Carroll works at crafting each and every blend into a masterpiece of aromatic attraction and visual artistry.

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Colourful pretty tea sets.

The tea is sourced from suppliers all around the world, including reputable tea plantations in Indonesia. Their entire tea leaves collection is impressive — a whooping 12 categories (Black, Black Blend, White, White Blend, Herbal, Green, Green Blend, Oolong, Oolong Blend, Spice, Fruits, or Flower) and 54 different flavors.

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Spoilt for choice by their comprehensive selection of tea blends.

Prior to ordering, you can either walk up to the counter to sniff the tea samples or request for them to be brought to your table. This experiential process enabled me to make a more informed choice on my desired flavour. 🙂

PS: Teas are priced differently with Signature teas at IDR 40k and Heritage teas at IDR 60k.

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After much sniffing, I finally picked this out.

Whilst waiting for your order, you can browse Lewis & Carroll’s teapots and tea leaves that are for sale. All of them are really PRETTY. I was so tempted to get one. 😉

I can imagine they would make lovely housewarming gifts.

To accompany your tea, Lewis & Carroll’s main menu offers a wide selection of choices from light to heavy, including all-day breakfast, salads, pastas, sandwiches, and sweets.

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Flatlay of our beautiful lunch.

The food was well presented and tasted good. Their teas were even better.

I particularly enjoyed the Crystalline Mojito (crystalline fruit tea with mint leaves and lemon water) from their craft tea fusion. It was sooooo refreshing to the throat!

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Truffle fries (IDR 50k) – Could have had more truffle!

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Pan-fried Salmon (IDR 115k) – Salmon was cooked well and the lemon butter cream sauce added a nice touch.

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Chicken Penne (IDR 80k) – Generous portions of chicken breast in fungi truffle sauce.

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Atlantic Bites (IDR 115k) – This one was a disappointment. The smoked salmon was off-colour and wasn’t fresh. I could hardly taste the truffle oil in the crab claw.

We ended off the meal with a really nice dessert (of which I can’t remember the name of!) that we selected at the counter.

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”

― William Ewart Gladstone


Lewis and Carroll
Jalan Bumi No. 4
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12120

Friday Treasure Finds: Confetti Gift Shop on Kemang Timur

If you enjoyed Galeri Pot Jakarta as much as I did, you’ll definitely love Confetti on Kemang Timur. It is another treasure trove of Indonesian artifacts — furniture, home accessories, fabrics, etc.

The houses/shops on Kemang Timur are not in running order (i.e. house no. 27a does not come after no. 27) so look out for a traditional rickshaw parked out at the front. That house is Confetti itself!

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CONFETTI.

Inside Confetti, you’ll find a wide range of homeware made in Indonesia. It is a good place to shop for souvenirs or perhaps that one item to remember your stay in Indonesia by. 🙂

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They have loads of quirky stuff to add warmth to a dingy corner.

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Colourful mugs to brighten up a home.

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Beautiful furniture and home decor.

Most of the pieces are carefully handpicked by Confetti’s owner Dewi from all over Indonesia. Here are some of the items that caught my eye:

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Family of wooden sheep (my parents couldn’t resist this set!).

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Wire giraffes for a minimalist home.

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Tall wooden giraffes + adorable metal twin giraffes.

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So tempted to buy home wooden papa, mama and baby zebra!

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Hoo hoo hoooooot. Hello there!

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Family of white flamingos found a home with me. 🙂

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Another favourite – sitting wooden birds.

Such pretty handiwork, aren’t they? If only my place in Singapore was bigger and I had more space to house such buys. #realitycheck

Other Indonesian artifacts sold include woven baskets in all colours and sizes, lanterns and candlelight holders, carpets, quilt, and even custom-made cushion covers!

I got a few gifts from Confetti and cannot wait to give them to my friends for their birthdays!

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Flamingos on display on my bookshelf.


Confetti
Jl. Kemang Timur No. 27a
Jakarta Selatan 

Beautifully Affordable Home Decor: Galeri Pot Jakarta

[updated from my second visit there on 2/2/17]

I recently discovered another treasure trove in Jakarta — Galeri Pots on Kemang Timur. It is a pottery heaven of delightful things like pots, vases, lamps, and planters. And they come in all shapes, colours and designs (at very reasonable prices).

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Entrance to Galeri Pot.

Since 1996, Galeri Pot has been designing and manufacturing beautiful pots not only for the local market, but also to export them worldwide (I would think their pots are cheaper here in Indonesia though).

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Pots and vases of every colour to match your house decor.

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Their latest collection.

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Level One.

Their showroom spans two storeys – the first level houses mainly pots, vases and planters; the lamps and lamp shades can be found on the second level. There is even an outside space with huge pots and planters for outdoor use.

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Ceramic jars for your kitchen/dining area.

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Gold, Bronze, and Prada Silver pieces.

In addition to the pots and vases, Galeri Pot also handcrafts classic lanterns and cut-outs that add a touch of charm to any home setting.

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Such a pretty blue-white print! This will serve as a great dining centerpiece.

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Larger vases can double up as umbrella stands in the home.

I’ve been to Galeri Pots thrice so far. The first time with Jia, I mainly window-shopped and browsed their collection. The second and third time with my parents, we came back with 3-4 boxes each time. Always have a soft spot for home decor (much to Agent D’s dismay)!

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Chrimson Blue Collection.

My parents bought a matching vase and lamp for the living room from the Chrimson Blue Collection. Love the deep green tinge (I actually think it’s more green than blue hmm).

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Lamp (left) and vase (right) my parents bought.

While I couldn’t resist getting a vase bottle from their Chrimson Blue Collection and a jade ceramic jar from the new collection.

On my most recent visit, I bought some white decor pieces.

All their pots are 100% handmade and hand-finished. The process is a complex one and involves the following steps (taken from their website):

  • Hand-throwing of clay into desired shape.
  • Left to dry for a few days.
  • Etched artistically by hand.
  • Left to sun-dry for a few more days.
  • Pots are fired in an oven for 24 hours.
  • The finishing or colouring process gives the pots their final look.
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Lovin’ my new display pieces.

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Bought some artificial lilies for the new vase.

P.S. You can custom make lamps with any of the pots in the store. Just inform the staff there and they’ll turn your desired pot into a lamp complete with a lamp shade. 🙂

P.P.S. Browse their extensive collection on their webpage and order direct through there: http://www.jcs-pottery.com/. Each order takes about 6-8 weeks to complete.

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I ordered a milky white leaf-cut tall vase. Can’t wait to see it in two months time!

Alternatively, drop by their showroom to take a look! It is just down the road from Cahayalampu, which I mentioned in a previous post.

Enjoy shopping! xxx

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Small little things that make a difference. 🙂


Galeri Pot
Jalan Kemang Timur No. 58R
Jakarta Selatan