Spanish Tapas Gem in Jakarta: ¿Por Qué No?

It has been about a year since ¿Por Qué No? (I shall just use ‘Por Que No’ for the purpose of easy typing) opened her doors to the public. Translated from Spanish into English, the name Por Que No literally means “why not?”. So WHY NOT check this place out!

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Por Que No on a quiet weekday afternoon.

The restaurant has a very quirky yet fun decor; right from the moment you step out of the lift, a giant signboard made from hundreds (perhaps thousands?!) of colour pencils greets you cheerily. Such a warm welcome! 🙂

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Huge signboard made up of colour pencils.

Located on the topmost floor of De Ritz Building, Por Que No is separated into two areas — an indoor dining room and an outdoor lounge.

The indoor part of the restaurant looks like a greenhouse, with its full-length glass panels all round. Its interior is bathed in vibrant colours – jazzy wooden chairs, pastel plushy cushions, and flashy wall decorations.

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Lovely ambiance.

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Gazillions of colour pencils glued together to form the feature wall.

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Full length glass panels.

Por Que No is family friendly too with a kids’ corner – there are Lego blocks, books, art materials, and toys to keep your little ones occupied. Children can play at the kids’ corner whilst adults can have good conversations without interruptions (ideally).

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Cute lil’ kids’ corner.

The al fresco area is kind of like a rooftop bar, and I can picture it to be really pretty at night. Not to mention it overlooks a beautiful night view of the city. *romantic*

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Outdoor lounge with rooftop bar.

Por Que No’s main goal is to consistently maintain the authenticity of Spanish tapas (i.e. its unique yet homey taste). The chef and her team take their craft seriously and ensure that all food served on the table sticks to its authentic taste as much as possible.

Because Por Que No is a tapas restaurant, its menu consists mainly of tapas (DUH) – small Spanish savory dishes. These little treasures of Spain were originally made to accompany drinks and to encourage conversation, because people are not so focused on eating an entire meal set before them. How ingenious!

Here are some of the tapas I ordered (not many because I was pretty full at that point):

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Berenjenas Fritas (IDR 40K).

Berenjenas Fritas = fried eggplant chips with honey truffle. Really liked this one. The sweet and savoury coming together – SO GOOD!

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Huevos Rotos (IDR 45K)

Huevos Rotos = broken runny egg topped with sliced potatoes and chorizo. A dish that seems so simple and basic yet tastes amazingly delish. Can’t go wrong with potatoes and eggs, I guess.

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Croquetas de Champiñones (IDR 40K).

Croquetas de Champiñones =  mushroom croquettes. This one was so-so only, in fact it tasted bland to me. Wouldn’t order it again.

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Biquini (IDR 70).

Biquini = serrano ham, cheese and truffle sandwich. Although there was nothing extraordinary about this dish, it was like comfort food to me. Reminded me of the ham and cheese sandwiches Milma used to pack for my recess back in primary school. The truffle oil was a nice addition.

Oh, and check out their cool toilet sign made up of LEGO blocks.

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LEGO toilet sign.

Since I’ve only tried four plates of tapas at Por Que No, I’ll def be back again to try the other dishes. And I happen to have a random paella craving now. :/

Por Que No
De Ritz Building, 5th floor
Jalan HOS. Cokroaminoto No. 91
Menteng, Jakarta Pusat 10350

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Singapore Char Kway Teow in Jakarta: Singapore Restaurant

One of the things I miss most about being away from home is the HAWKER FOOD – hokkien mee, char kway teow, orh luak, bak chor mee, char siew + roast pork rice, the list goes on and on. And so nothing excites me more than when I manage to find a good replica of Singapore hawker food here in Jakarta (!!!).

A few months back, my driver took one of the small roads to Grand Indonesia shopping town. On the way there, I happened to catch sight of a big signboard with the words “Singapore Restaurant”. There were quite a number of cars parked outside the restaurant (= food should be good right?!). I immediately texted Agent D to tell him about it and made a mental note to check out the place sometime soon.

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Singapore Restaurant in Menteng.

Sometime soon came in the form of last Sunday (not very ‘soon’ heh). The restaurant interior reminded me of a typical zhi char restaurant in Singapore with round tables scattered all around. It also seemed to be a family type of place – most tables were made up of grandmas, grandpas, dads, mums, children, and helpers. Agent D and I were one of only two couples dining there at that time.

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Loving the Singapore label all over.

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Menu page containing Singapore specials (some are not exactly Singapore dishes though).

As char kway teow was their signature dish, Agent D and I got for ourselves one plate each. We also ordered a kailan with garlic in the hopes that it would even out the sinfulness (fats and oil) of our char kway teow. 🙂

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Char kway teow (kwetiau goreng).

I didn’t have high expectations for the char kway teow but it turned out to be pretty authentic. LOVED the generous portions of si hum (cockles) thrown inside. If only there were lup cheong and pork lard too, life would be complete. 🙂 🙂 🙂

In case you don’t know what char kway teow is…the dish is considered a national favourite of Singapore. It is made from flat rice noodles of approximately 1 cm in width, stir-fried over very high heat with light and dark soy sauce, chili, prawns, deshelled cockles, bean sprouts and chopped Chinese chives. The dish is commonly stir-fried with egg, slices of chinese sausage (lup cheong) and fishcake. Char kway teow is traditionally stir-fried in pork fat, with crisp croutons of pork lard (!!). One word – SHIOK.

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Kailan with garlic overdose.

I didn’t quite take to the kailan for the mere fact that there was simply too much fried garlic served on top of it. The taste of garlic was overpowering. I think only Popeye would have appreciated it.

Thankfully, the Chinese tea we ordered helped to flush down the fats and oil (or so we think, since the vegetables were of little help).

I would definitely return to Singapore Restaurant in Menteng to satisfy my char kway teow cravings again! ❤

Singapore Restaurant
Jl. Purworejo No. 28
Menteng, Jakarta

 


Char kway teow aside, SELAMAT IDUL FITRI to all my Indonesian and Muslim friends!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

Ray is visiting Jakarta this week and I was very happy to catch up with him and Christine today. I got to know Ray from Bahasa Indonesian language class during Atma Jaya days. The last I saw him was in January this year, when he returned to Taiwan for good.
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We used to practise our Bahasa Indonesian together but we’ve both gotten really rusty since classes ended. Dang. HARUS BERLATIH. So today we conversed mainly in English and lousy Mandarin on my end.

Good seeing you today Ray! Please come again to Jakarta soon!!!

Restaurant Series: Authentically Indonesian at TeSaTe

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

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

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A contemporary style restaurant serving Indonesia cuisine.

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

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

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

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

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

Some pictures from our lunch 🙂

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Can’t wait to tuck in!

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

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

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Enjoying a game of chess at the bus stop.

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

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

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Ending lunch with a girly shot.


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