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.

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.

M.I.S.S.I.N.G HOME

YAY for long weekends. Wish there could be more of them. As I wait for Agent D to come back, I’m wondering what everyone is doing back home. Dinner meetups and get-togethers (which I’m missing out on) perhaps? Suddenly, I miss my family and friends. I miss familiarity.

Feelings of homesickness are a weird thing. They hit when you least expect it. I can be window shopping on my own in the mall and in the midst of the crowd BANG I miss home. Or when I’m stuck in traffic (which happens to be really common here in Jakarta!) and BANG I miss my country.

SO…I’m going to upload some photos of my friends and family here. Just because flipping through them makes me happy. (And also because I’m clearing my phone to make room for more space.)

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And I’m so thankful for the few I’ve managed to spend time with in Jakarta, when away from home.

Looking through the pictures makes me excited for my upcoming trip back home. It’s been awhile since I last caught up with everyone. *can’t wait*

Happy Easter everyone and happppppppy long weekend!

And thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for us. Let us not forget the significance of Good Friday.

xxx

Of Demonstrations and Protests in Jakarta

So I was supposed to meet Cindee and Helena for some gold hunting today. Cindee wanted to custom make a gold bracelet for her daughter-in-law and Helena had a good contact. I wanted to tag along to just look-see.

Halfway through our journey, my driver was forced to turn back home because the road we were heading towards was closed.

Whyyyyy?

Because of demonstrations and protests. Apparently, thousands of angry cabbies took to the streets to protest against app-based transportation services such as Uber, GrabCar and Go-Jek.  They felt that their incomes had been adversely affected since the arrival of these ride-hailing apps.

 The result?

Major traffic disruptions, closure of big roads, huge jams, and violence. Sigh.

Really hope this passes soon and life can return back to normal.

If you’re interested:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/22/taxi-protest-causes-traffic-chaos-indonesian-capital.html

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/03/indonesia-jakarta-shut-taxi-driver-protest-apps-uber-160322071146744.html

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/protests-in-jakarta-over-app-based-transport-services-such-as-uber-grabcar-and-go-jek

Sightings in Jakarta and Food Thoughts

I always felt that time flew by especially fast when I was teaching back in my home country.

Oh dear it is week 6! The children’s exams are next weeeeek?!! NOOooooooooo.

Like whaaaat it is the 9th week of term already and next week is the holidays?!

I never expected to feel this way in Jakarta though. And I’m surprised I actually do. (Before coming to Jakarta, I had this vague image of myself sitting in a rocking chair and twiddling my thumb all day long whilst waiting for Agent D to come back home.)

I guess keeping myself busy and filling my schedule with routines (Monday bible study, Tuesday volunteering at Kampung Kids, Thursday cell group, weekly brunch meetups, etc) really helps. 🙂 So anyway…it has been 4 weeks since I started volunteering at Kampung Kids again with Dianne. We’re getting to know the kids better and I always look forward to seeing the little ones every Tuesday!

Just this Tuesday, we saw a really cute mobile kerupuk/ keropok store on a motorbike outside the kampung’s entrance. The kerupuk/ keropok packets were stacked really high and we were amused by the sight of it! Just as I took out my phone to snap a picture, my driver (who is usually very serious and seldom smiles) ran in front of the bike and struck a pose, pretending to be the kerupuk/ keropok man. I told him his clothes were too nice for a “penjual” (seller) and we laughed. It was nice seeing the lighter side of him beneath his tough and stout exterior.

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The past 2 nights, I have’t been cooking dinner (which is REALLY RARE and yes, VERY AWESOME). As I mentioned in my earlier post, we usually eat in for weekday nights. Agent D had dinner appointments and I went along with him (I jump at every chance to take a break from my kitchen hehe).

On Tuesday, we had dinner at Cassis Kitchen – a restaurant I’ve always wanted to try. Prices were pretty steep for Jakarta standards (my roasted black cod was  IDR 255K!) but the ambience was lovely and the service was really good! Throughout our time there, we kept getting free items that were on the house to try. As we were with Agent D’s friends, I resisted whipping out my camera to take pictures of the place and food. :/

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The only picture that I got – huge candy floss that was on the house. *tooth decay*

Today, Agent D’s friends suggested to have dinner at AMKC Atelier – coincidentally another place I’ve been wanting to try ever since my banana friend, Sasha (B1) told me about it. AMKC is the brainchild of Adhika Maxi and Karen Carlotta, the husband and wife team behind UNION. The food was okayish good but the desserts were SO GOOOOOOD.

We shared the Choco Banana Rum and the Martabak cake – both were fantastic. The choco banana rum tasted like the good ol’ lana cake; the chocolate was very moist and rich (I like!!) and the banana-rum combination perfected it. Strangely, the martabak cake tasted like…the real martabak complete with chocolate, cheese and peanuts. It was a cake like no other, sweet and salty coming together.

SADLY, I didn’t manage to take photos again. I’ll def be dropping by AMKC Atelier to have another go with their cakes. I’m not done with them yettttt.

Good night, world. xx

Restaurant Series: Enjoying Food in an Art Sanctuary

I first read about ARTOTEL (Thamrin) from a magazine and thought it was a pretty cool concept —  an art-inspired boutique hotel featuring original works of ART by emerging local artists. What a great platform for Indonesian artists to showcase their art (mainly contemporary) to both locals and tourists! There and then, I made a mental note to visit the hotel sometime soon.

Sometime soon came in the form of yesterday afternoon when Agent D and I decided to check out RoCA Restaurant housed inside ARTOTEL for lunch.

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Exterior of ARTOTEL.

Our driver doesn’t work on weekends so we cabbed there from church. Once our taxi turned into Jl. Sunda (a small road), we spotted it at once. In fact, it’s actually quite impossible to miss. The exterior is wayyyy too eye-catching. Because RoCA Restaurant is located within the hotel, it is open 24 hours. Awesommme. Now you know where to GO-JEK your supper from should you feel hunger pangs at 12 a.m. (ESPECIALLY applicable to us because Agent D ALWAYS gets hungry close to midnight).

This same scenario plays out time after time. He’ll flash me his most pitiful face and say in a really sweet voice, “Dearieee, I’m H-U-N-G-R-Y.” And then with the sweetest smile, he’ll go on to ask, “Pleasssse can you cook me something. Anything simple, hot and soupy maybe.” Not agggaaain. (In case your were wondering, this happens very frequently. Something like EVERY OTHER NIGHT.) Despite my immense inertia every time it happens, I’ll usually find myself rummaging through the fridge, cutting some veggies, and cooking him a pot of noodles (when actually I really just want to continue chilling in bed / lounging on my sofa at that unearthly hour). :/

The pictures below show last Friday night’s situation when Agent D started getting hungry 15 minutes to midnight. I’m not quite sure how Agent D manages NOT to put on weight (he gets hungry despite eating 3 BIG BOWLS of rice for dinner) + fall asleep with a full stomach.

OOPS sorry for sidetracking. Back to RoCA Restaurant…As I was saying, the lobby of ARTOTEL is not very big and you’ll see the restaurant once you step in.

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“This world is but a canvas to our imagination”.

The restaurant’s design is quirky and loud. The entire place oozes with artsy-fartsy vibes and the colours give off a very happy feeling. I LOVE the cement walls, which reminds me of my bedroom back home.

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RoCA’s longish interior.

I really liked that the smoking area was separated from the main area by glass doors (most restaurants in Jakarta have their smoking areas within the same four walls as the non-smoking areas).

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Outdoor smoking area is behind the glass.

The seats were comfortable and with the full-length glass, sunlight was able to stream in and brighten the entire atmosphere. It seemed like a nice place to just read a book or work on the laptop. More pictures of the ceiling painted in loud funky colours:

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Before eating. Mandatory table photo.

We were so eager to tuck into our food that we forgot to check whether the photo turned out okay. And my eyes were closed. *sobs*

Both Agent D and I ordered a pasta each and a sandwich to share. I ordered the “Prawn Spaghetti Aglio Olio” (IDR 87K) which was pretty good (I guess it’s actually hard to go wrong with aglio olio). The combination of olives and tomatoes added a different but nice flavour to the aglio olio. I personally do not really like olives and was glad the taste of olives wasn’t too overpowering.

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Prawn Spaghetti Aglio Olio.

Agent D ordered the “Chicken Spaghetti Basil Pesto” (IDR 79K) which was not bad too. They were quite generous with the chicken chunks and the pesto sauce was not too salty.

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Chicken Spaghetti Basil Pesto.

The “Grilled Chicken Panini” (IDR 85K) came with french fries and salad on the side. We specifically told the waiter not to over-grill our bread (we don’t like it crispy and black!) and it came nice and soft. The sauce inside the panini was a little on the spicy side but overall no complains!

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We felt that their portions were smaller than usual. But then again, it could have been because we were both feeling particularly hungry that afternoon. 🙂

I particularly liked their “Iced Lychee Green Tea” (IDR 35K) because it was at just the RIGHT level of sweetness (without adding the syrup given) – not tasteless or overly sweet as most iced teas are. Oh, and you can choose between green or black tea. Simply refreshing on a hot afternoon day.

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Iced Lychee Green Tea.

I’m thinking of booking a staycation at ARTOTEL on one of the upcoming long weekends (their room rates are cheaper than the branded hotels). Will write about it if I ever do!

RoCA Restaurant
ARTOTEL Thamrin
Jl. Sunda No.3, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat,
Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10350.

Family Day + Watching Movies in Jakarta

Instead of sleeping in on Saturday, Agent D and I went down for Family Day 2016 at his workplace. It was a morning of fun and games (some of which were retardedly cute! I couldn’t stop laughing at Agent D), coupled with entertaining performances and food. The event was a nice platform for me to get to know Agent D’s colleagues better and their spouses too.

I caught sight of a photo booth at the event and my eyes lit up at once. “Pleaaassse can we take a photo?” I asked Agent D. He signed in resignation and allowed me to drag him to the booth. Sadly, Agent D doesn’t quite enjoy taking photos as much as I do (I jump at any opportunity to take photos heh).

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Agent D and I at Family Day 2016.

‘Twas was a sweltering day and I think I got 2 shades darker. :/ (Note to self: HAVE TO pack sunblock in my bag for future outdoor excursions.) In Jakarta, I seldom find myself outdoors; I usually go from mall to mall in a car/ taxi. Even if the mall I want to go to is within walking distance, I usually cab because there are no proper walking pavements/ cars don’t always obey traffic lights which is hazardous/ the air is not too ideal for walking.

Later in the evening, Agent D and I decided to catch Kung Fu Panda 3. It had been some time since we last caught a movie together and I was glad he suggested it.

By the way, movies in Jakarta are REALLLLLY AFFORDABLE. Both weekday and weekend standard tickets are 1/3 the price (!!!) of that in my home country. And the cinemas are really nice and clean as well.

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Standard weekDAY movie ticket costs IDR 30K (about 3 dollars back home).

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Standard weekEND movie ticket costs IDR 50K (about 5 dollars back home).

In Jakarta, it is possible to get a luxurious cinema experience without burning a hole in your pocket. WHOOOOP. Cinema XXI offers Premiere movies which are akin to sitting in first class (versus economy class) in an aeroplane. Here are some of the deluxe features:

  • Exclusivity – Exclusive access to premiere lounge/ restaurants and each theatre only has 20-30 seats.
  • Great service – Personalized concierge experience when purchasing tickets, waiters on stand-by inside the theatre ready to take food or drinks orders.
  • Comfort – Reclining seats with foot rests and blankets (THE BEST PART).

Blitz Megaplex has velvet suites where one can even watch movies on private big BEDS, complete with pillows and blankets. Both Cinema XXI’s premiere tickets and Blitz Megaplex’s velvet suites tickets cost about the SAME PRICE as a standard ticket back home (i.e. they’re really not that expenive). SO…if you’re living in Jakarta/ here for the weekend, you HAVE TO watch a movie at one of these places for the experience.

Anyhow…back to  Kung Fu Panda 3. Both Agent D and I found it better than the previous installment but still not as good as the very first one. It didn’t require any brain power (which was good because we were both brain dead post dinner), and was very good-humoured and colourful. We both had a good laugh watching it and I was glad Agent D was able to relax for a while. 🙂

Today after church service, Agent D and I decided to check out the restaurant at Artotel, a boutique hotel at Thamrin. I’ll blog more about our dining experience there tomorrow!

Blessed Sunday lovelies! ❤ ❤ ❤

PS: I’m so glad Sundays are also my cooking rest days. DONT HAVE TO COOK YAYAYYYYYY.

Cafe Series: Melbourne comes to Jakarta through ST.ALi

When I heard that Melbourne’s specialty coffee roaster and cafe was opening its first branch in Jakarta (this Feb 2016), I was thrilled! I google mapped the address and found out that it was JUST 5 minutes from my doorstop…WAH even better. I called out my trusty brunch friend, Ivana, and we headed down to ST.ALi’s today.

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I really liked the simplistic layout of the cafe and the wide-open space it is housed in. There wasn’t an ounce of pretentiousness — communal wooden/ concrete tables, metal chairs, wooden stools, etc. The chairs are not intended for long seating though (they are not the kind you can chill or lounge for a few hours on). 30 minutes into my meal and my back started to ache :/ PERHAPS that’s why they have such a high turnover rate heh. There was just SO MANY people going in and out during a typical weekday lunch hour.

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That’s the kitchen on the side with a long center table in the foreground.

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SO MANY milk cartons.

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Fully packed with lunch crowd.

ST.ALi’s menu takes after Melbourne’s breakfast-and-cafe culture (i.e. all-day breakfast menu).  And so happens I LOVE BRUNCHIN’ (perfect for me!). There aren’t a lot of items on the menu, which I think is wise. Just specialize on the few items and make them really good.

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Ivana and I. Happy girls who can’t wait to tuck in!

I ordered a latte (IDR 45K) while Ivana got herself a flat white (IDR 45K). I added almond milk to my latte (additional IDR 10K) which provided a nice twist (but only if you like almond). The coffee was pretty exceptional, thick and aromatic. I am no coffee connoisseur but I could tell it tasted better than Starbucks (and for about the same price!).

For mains, I ordered the “Kimchi Kelly” (IDR 130K) – korean pork belly, cucumber kimchi, coriander and kemangi dressing – EVERYTHING packed into a burger. It was not too bad. The pork belly was cooked just right, very soft. I found the coriander a little too overpowering though.

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Kimchi Kelly. (what a cute name!)

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Poor Kimchi Kelly dissected.

Ivana ordered the “Koo Koo Ca Choo” (IDR 150K)crispy potato hash with mushroom duxelle, poached eggs, shaved parmesan, chlorophyll and truffle vinaigrette. She gave me some of her potato hash to try and I really liked it. The potato hash had a good consistency and was very fluffy. The seasonings worked in perfect combination and the aroma was enticing. YUMMY.

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Koo Koo Ca Choo. (an even cuter name!)

We felt quite full after finishing our mains but something felt AMISS. D-E-S-S-E-R-T-S.

So Ivana and I walked to the dessert counter to pick a dessert to share. We asked the waitress standing there what was good and she said, “Everthing is good. All our desserts are usually sold out by 4 p.m!”. Impressive. I can’t remember the name of the cake we ordered but it looks like this:

It was a white chocolate brownie cake with cookie crumbs, raspberry filling, and a biscuit base. To my disappointment, it tasted so-so only. I felt that the cake had too much gelatin and wished for it to be richer. Oh well, ST ALi’s specialty is in making coffee and not cakes anyway.

I was BLOATED FULL by the time I finished dessert and rolled all the way back home.

ST ALi
Setiabudi One, Ground Floor Suite 103A,
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 62,
Kuningan, South Jakarta 12920.


Oh my Agent D will be coming back soon. I better start preparing his dinner now! Ciao!

Explore Jakarta: Kota Tua and Cafe Batavia

This morning, Agent D left home around 5 a.m. for work. I woke up (barely) around 4.20 a.m. to fix him a simple breakfast which he could eat on the way to the airport. My hands and legs seemed to be strangely moving on their own in synchrony while being detached from my brain (which was still in deep slumber).

OK let’s boil water. Hand gets kettle and fills it with water. Finger pushes the boil knob. Legs move to the refrigerator. Hand opens the refrigerator door and gets 2 slices of bread and pops them into the oven. Legs move to the Master Bedroom and arms prepare Agent D’s suit and tie. Bread is ready. Hand butters bread with a knife and layers on a thick spread. 

Come to think of it, I can’t even remember if I spread kaya or blueberry jam onto Agent D’s bread. Hmm or perhaps it was nutella instead :/ My only faint memory was that of saying “bye-bye!” at the doorway and waving Agent D off. My legs must have found their way to the bed because the next thing I knew, the alarm clock was ringing and it was time for me to change to head down to Kampung Kids (Tuesdays are my volunteer days).

So please pardon me if this post isn’t too coherent – I’m still in sleep deprivation mode.


Today I’m going to write about my trip to Kota Tua when my folks visited in February. My dad is a history buff and so I thought he might like exploring the streets of Jakarta’s old town.

According to Mr. Wikipedia, Kota Tua was an important commerce hub in Asia since the 16th century. Thus, it was home to several important historical sites and buildings like the Former Court of Justice (currently the Fine Art and Ceramic Museum), the oldest surviving church in Jakarta (Gereja Sion), the 18th century City Hall (currently the Jakarta History Museum), and so on.

As we got out of the car and stepped onto the streets of Kota Tua, I felt as if I was transported to an earlier era of Jakarta. The entire street was lined with old colonial buildings of Dutch-influenced architecture.

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The entrance where my driver dropped us off.

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Stretch of old colonial buildings.

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A cute little cafe.

We took a short walk down the street and found ourselves at the Central Square. It was BUSTLING there – vendors selling food and souvenirs, street buskers (SO MANY. They were practically 1 cm apart), Indonesian tourists with their selfie sticks, bicycle rental shops, and so on. What a sight really!
One great pity is that many of the colonial relics are decaying. While there have been attempts to preserve and restore some of  the buildings (e.g. the Kota Post Office building has been converted into a contemporary art museum), many are sadly deteriorating and quite a number lie in ruins till this day.
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After preservation works – Post Office building.

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Colonial architecture steadily decaying.

I really hope that most (if not all) of the historical sites can be restored to their former glory SOON. And that one day, Kota Tua will achieve the status of a UNESCO world heritage site. 🙂
To escape from the heat, my parents and I decided to head into Cafe Batavia for some cooling down. Our bodies had probably lost about 3 buckets of water by then (one bucket each) and there was a strong need to re-hydrate. That feeling of stepping into an air-conditioned space with nice soft music playing in the background – SO GOOD.
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Upper level of Cafe Batavia.

Rated #13 out of 6,402 Restaurants in Jakarta on Trip Advisor, Cafe Batavia lives up to its name in terms of ambience. Set in a 200-year-old colonial building, Cafe Batavia is actually the second oldest building in Central Jakarta after the Fatahillah Museum (!!). The cafe’s decor oozes history and gives a glimpse of what life was like in the colonial era. At certain times of the day, the cafe has a live band playing downstairs.
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Wall backdrop consisting of picture frames.

If you have a choice, sit upstairs by a window overlooking the square.  It’s perfect for people watching and looking down on the happenings in Central Square (from the comfort of your seat).

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By the window.

The cafe serves quite a variety of food; from authentic Indonesian food to Chinese food (including dimsum) to Western food. They have an extensive cocktails menu as well. I can’t say much about their food because we only had drinks there (it was tea time).

I’d recommend that you try the traditional drinks (which we did). There are 4 types of drinks made from different herbs and spices and one can have them hot or cold. We ordered three traditional drinks to share amongst ourselves – two of them tasted really nice while the other was…well…an acquired taste. We were such thirsty hippos that when the drinks came, we slurped them up really fast! And FORGOT about taking pictures again. 😦

I’ll be visiting Kota Tua sometime soon to explore their Puppet Museum and Kite Museum. Looking forward!

Of Buffets and Spas in Jakarta: Hotel Mulia The Cafe & Martha Tilaar

I’ve been kept busy by friends visiting from my home country (3 friends on different days in the span of one week!). Perhaps God knows life in Jakarta can get lonely at times and He somehow orchestrates circumstances to bring close friends to me (through their work). Being with old friends gives me the feeling of a home away from home, something I can’t quite explain in words. And I’m so thankful for them.

Jialing came last Wednesday to meet her clients and I brought her out for a massage and a traditional Indonesian dinner. On that same weekend, Adeline stayed at our place to spend time with me before meeting company clients on Monday. We ate A LOT, did hair spa, foot reflexology, pedicure, and facial together. And just 2 days ago on Wednesday, Pam flew in for work as well! We spent the entire day enjoying a sumptuous buffet and 2 hours of body spa. As one can see, although there’s quite a bit to do in Jakarta, FOOD and SPAS/ MASSAGES always top the list for visitors here (actually even for me as a “local” heh).

Today, I’m going to write more about my buffet experience at The Cafe @Hotel Mulia and spa experience at Martha Tilaar Salon Day Spa, a household name in Jakarta. I’ve long heard that the various buffet options (there are a number of restaurants serving buffet there) at Hotel Mulia are VERY GOOD but have not got down to trying any of them yet. These days, buffets are reserved only for special occasions due to slowing metabolism rates. *21st century concerns* Sigh, gone are the days of eating till you feel like puking but yet  feeling so satisfied because you got your money’s worth.

From Mr.google, I found out that The Cafe @Hotel Mulia is ranked #1 out of 6,401 Restaurants in Jakarta and given a rating of 4.8 / 5 on Zomato. Woah not bad at all. After reading that, I got quite excited about having their lunch buffet! Eat good food first, can always lose weight later right? Rightttt.

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Interior of The Cafe @Hotel Mulia. (main area)

The lunch buffet costs about IDR 360k/pax without drinks. It is housed in a very spacey and pretty area with lush greenery outside their full-length windows. I liked how they drew the curtains so that sunlight could stream in. Service was top-notch, as with most other well-known restaurants in Jakarta.

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Happy diners – Pam, Ivana, and myself.

The entire cafe is divided into two separate sections – “real” food and dessert. Some guests might forget about/ miss the dessert section because it’s at another end of the cafe, on the far left side of the entrance. The decor for the dessert section is more whimsical, which I adored. I made a mental note to leave 30% of my tummy space for desserts later.

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A fragment of the main buffet section.

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You can pick and choose the ingredients for your gado-gado.

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Seating area at the dessert section.

The buffet spread was REALLY WIDE, one of the widest I’ve seen around. The food selection was international with various live stations — Indonesian cuisine and desserts, Japanese cuisine,  Indian cuisine, Korean cuisine, Western cuisine, Chinese cuisine including dim-sum, and the list goes on. We were spoilt for choice. 🙂

Here are some pictures (not all) of the food I ate:

By the time it was time for desserts, I think I was already 90% (and not 70%) full. So much for mental resolutions. Blame it on the good food. I took some pictures of the pretty dessert section for your viewing but they didn’t turn out too well on my iphone camera (sorry!).

I have a very sweet tooth by nature i.e. I’m the sort of person that can have 2 rich, fudgy cake slices for lunch and nothing else. Given two options – savoury or sweet – I would always choose the sweet one without any hesitation. Hence, desserts are usually my most anticipated part of any buffet! I have a soft spot for them.

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Desserts shared amongst the 3 of us.

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Dessert we-fie.

Sadly, the desserts didn’t quite match up to their looks and our expectations. They were not bad, but they weren’t fantastic. The ice-cream erred on the airy side. The various shot-glass desserts were fluffy and quite plain tasting while the macaroons were a tad too soft (I prefer them slightly crispy) and sweet. The grape mille-feuille was not bad though and the Indonesian kueh was good. That said, I would still return to The Cafe for their main food.

After lunch, we headed to Martha Tilaar Salon Day Spa. Pam, Ivana, and myself  chose the “Peach Delima Body Treatment” because it smelt SO GOOOOD compared to the other products. Martha Tilaar has a whole range of body treatments with different fancy names but they’re essentially the same thing — with different products (e.g., peach, ginger, herbs, etc).

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Martha Tilaar Center at Kuningan.

I prefer going to the Martha Tilaar Center at Kuningan because it’s the original outlet and is very well maintained. Although Martha Tilaar has many outlets all over Jakarta and Indonesia, many are actually franchises and the quality of service differs.

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Before spa – Ivana with her lemongrass drink.

A choice of cold/hot lemon grass drink or hot ginger tea is offered before and after spa. I find the cold lemon grass particularly refreshing. Oh and in case you were wondering, all Martha Tilaar body treatments are done in a private room.

My “Peach Delima Body Treatment” started off with a (peachy) body scrub. After washing off the scrub, I had a full body steam in one of these things below:

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The circular opening is for your head.

The (peachy) steaming lasted for about 10 minutes. I could fill my entire body perspiring inside. The therapist then got me to lie down on the spa-bed face down and and massaged me with peach-scented oil. She began with long, sweeping strokes followed by muscle kneading and rolling, where my muscles were worked on (like kneading dough). 

Over the past 7 months in Jakarta, I’ve visited quite a number of massage parlours. All of them use different massage techniques, some rougher than others (e.g., shiatsu massage, thai massage, etc). Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Martha Tilaar adopts more of a swedish massage style – which I prefer. After the massage, I felt so soft all over as if I was wrapped in a cloud.

The body massage lasted for about 45 minutes. Thereafter, my therapist applied a nice-smelling peach mask over my whole body. While waiting for the mask to set, she filled up my bathtub with warm MILK (or something that looks like milk and smells nice). THE CREAM BATH was my favourite part of the spa experience!! After a soothing massage, it was simply heaven on earth soaking in the warm milk. One word – shiok.

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If not for the fact that my therapist had to go home, I would have stayed in the tub the whole day! Soon, my therapist knocked on the door and told me to wash up (with peach bath soap). She gave me some peach moisturizer to apply on my body.

All in all, our “Peach Delima Body Treatment” lasted for 2 hours. The three of us smelt so peachy sweet after that and we all went home and had a good night’s sleep.

Here’s the bill payment for your reference. I got 20% discount off the total bill because I’m a Martha Tilaar member (just spend more than IDR 1 juta within a month and you can qualify for membership). Have fun! 🙂

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Our bill payment at Martha Tilaar.