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Archive for October, 2012

I have passed this outlet for countless time, but one day decided to dine in there. Rainy Jakarta did not stop me to try this Indonesian flare restaurant. I was first browsed through its website about the menu etc, and I found it quite interesting to try. Well, I was not a first-timer to this local chain, in fact that I tried its dish in Sate Senayan Express that is located in Food Louvre Grand Indonesia. Promising more variety of dishes than its tiny outlet in foodcourt, this outlet in Kebon Sirih might always been the choice for both locals and foreigners.

 

Ambiance: The 2-floor span restaurant fills with Indonesian flare here and there, reflected in the choice of wooden tables and chairs. Try to get a table by the window with a plenty of natural light, as otherwise I would feel a little too dimmed inside. I was expecting a traditional tune just like Tesate does to welcome its guests, but in Sate Senayan they played kind of a 70’s pop tunes back then. A little nostalgic I would say and the background music has changed over an hour.

 

Food: Even-though it carries the title ‘Sate’ but one could expect more than just ‘sate ayam’ or ‘sate kambing’ here. The extensive menu would ensure to satisfy everybody’s taste buds. Starting from appetizers such as ‘otak-otak’ or ‘tahu isi’, then the main dishes consist of selection or rice or noodle that comes with condiments, and it still followed by vegetable dishes, snacks plus meat or chicken dishes to go with. So if you are not sure which one to pick, then go for rice dishes that comes with almost everything in a plate, just like I did. My pick was Nasi Pecel Empal Komplit – a Javanese style steamed mixed vegetables with peanut sauce, comes with shredded beef empal, serundeng (shredded fried coconut) and plenty of crackers (yeayyy!!). Too bad that they do not serve Nasi merah or brown rice as it becomes a common thing in many restaurants these days.

To start was Tahu Isi, but this comes a little later than the main dish and I felt that the oil that has been used was not that new as it carries after-taste for other fried things, too greasy indeed. However, it tasted good with full fillings. My mum ordered Soto Betawi and it was okay, was expecting to be warmer.

 

Service: very friendly and attentive, as far as I could remember they have more staffs than the guests on that afternoon. I believe that one lady as a captain would ensure her crew and everything were in order, she would consistently check on every single order, not just my table but others too.

 

Price: an appetizer, main dishes for 4 guests and drinks plus 3 dishes to-go comes to IDR500K. Quite pocket-friendly.

 

Contact: Jalan Kebon Sirih 31A – 021-3192-6238, more outlets in http://www.sarirasagrup.com

 

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Last weekend I had a chance to do my weekly reflexology after a long due. Having heard the rave about this establishment then I decided to give it a try. Tucked in the busy Kebayoran Baru district, one must do the reservation way in advance since this place is in the hype and rarely for those walk-ins to get an instant spot, well you would if you are lucky enough.

The Balinese details wrapped the whole outlet, stretches from the entrance, hallway, waiting lounge, up to the treatment rooms. I picked the most-wanted foot reflexology for 90 minutes by then.

 

Ambiance: Clean and surrounded by frangipani scent all over the place, it was very relaxing and would guide you to doze off in seconds. The balinese traditional gamelan filled up as a background music; complemented the whole atmosphere.

 

Service: Upon arrival and waiting for my therapist, I was offered a drink (a glass of water or a cup of tea); then I was guided to the second floor to have my feet soaked in the Luke-warm water, added bath-salt and slices of lemon. While I was soaking, my therapist did my shoulder and pressed at few points at my upper back to ease the tension.

Then I was brought up to the room that consists of three huge massage chairs, with personal TV and dimmed-light. I believe this was more like a private room so if you are with friends or family, then you can always be sitted next to each other.

Good thing was that the therapist would always ask whether the pressure was alright to my preference. After that then I was instantly doze off until my hands were being massaged. Once everything was done, then I was offered another cup of ginger tea which I only had a gulp since it was very hot to my liking.

I noticed that all of the therapists here do not have a name tag, instead they have numbers tagged. Many have booked their own favourite therapist by their second or third visit. All in all, the experience was not bad, eventhough I personally feel that other places have made their way closer to total relaxation; plus I would say that the pressure was not that consistent throughout 90 minutes, but then again perhaps it is just a matter of preference.

 

Pricing: 90minutes foot reflexology (which includes hands, shoulder and head massage) priced at IDR98K. They also offer Royal Massage, Balinese Body Massage (the one that hits the rave according to the review!), Face massage and many more.

 

Contact: Jalan Gunawarman 43, Kebayoran Baru; 021-726-2375

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I would say this is the best-kept secret in the busy CBD life in the heart of Sudirman/Senopati district in Jakarta. It is rather confusing to find this place, but hey a GPS always comes handy, or in case you do not have one then just call and ask for direction!

Named ‘Rumah Baba’ or house of Baba, this homey-feel restaurant serves a rather authentic Betawi cuisine. I was wrong to expect something like ‘Baba’ or ‘peranakan cuisine’ during my visit, but the description in its twitter makes things clearer of what do they really serve for hungry tummy.

 

Ambiance: Rumah Betawi back to 70’s or 80’s, you would feel as if you are having your meal in someone-else’s dining table. The waitress and waitresses are all dressed in Betawi traditional costume, much more like you would see in Kafe Betawi too. The exterior is painted in bright lime green perhaps so that it is easy to find this spot, while the interior is simple without being too much.

 

Food: Menu-wise you would expect dishes like Nasi Uduk, Nasi Kuning, Ketupat Sayur, Soto Betawi, and many more but sadly Rujak Juhi has never made its presence during my first and my second visit.

Bir Pletok is the diva here, so make sure you have one of those on your visit. I personally like Es Teh Lemon Sereh and not forgotten to mention the list of the desserts which includes es selendang mayang, es podeng (a-must-try!!) and many others too. I think Rumah Baba’s es podeng would make everybody happy and deserves its top rating.

 

Service: friendly and attentive. My food was served in quite a quick pace.

 

Price: pocket friendly for the size of portion. You can always order few dishes and share the calories.

 

Contact: 021-5270173 (Do call them up if you are somewhere in Senopati area, entrance is just right before Office8, where you should find a small street heading to Rumah Baba)

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It just happens that almost every year during mid-autumn festival or for me it is a mooncake festival, I would have a chance to fly to our neighbour and would dive myself into the world of mooncakes. I wonder why they do not bake the one fills with ‘tau-sah’ which commonly found here back in Jakarta, lotus paste filling is more popular there I guess.

My top rated (and I would recommend this to all my friends) is the snowskin mooncake by Shangri-La Singapore that creatively fills the mooncake with not-so-sweet custard and the daring birdnest as its highlight. You can either get it a single box or a box of 4. It comes in a rather small size as compared to the usual mooncakes but trust me it is satisfying to have one.

The outer layer of the mooncake is so called snowskin because of its softness and somehow it is scented too. You can actually scent a kind of sakura or some kind of petals there, whilst the custard filling is not utterly sweet and complements the skin very well. Digging into the base, you can taste the sparkling looking birdnest by its purest I believe, not too much just the right amount of it.

 

If you missed it this year, then you should wait until next year. Ok, I am a fans.

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Leg 1: CGK-SIN

I managed to fly on this reconfigured B777-300 by SQ. The aircraft fits in the regional product that is very comfortable for few hours of flying (just like what has been installed in its A330-300). The business class has also improved in terms of seat and space; instead of fitting in 2-3-2 capacity, SQ has decided to fit in 2-2-2 across which translates to more space and more privacy.

Before flying I had a chance to grab a quick lunch at SIA Business Class Lounge in Soekarno Hatta Airport. Note that this lounge has not been transformed to a SilverKris Lounge yet, but facility wise was sufficient. Selection of hot dishes and quick bites are available in the buffet area, plus PC station if one needs to do work and it offers wi-fi connection too.

Boarding was fast, efficient, and in-order. I think because this is a mid-day flight (leaving at 11.30AM) and the plane was only 80% full on that day. First and Business class passengers were first to board to the aircraft followed by the Krisflyer Gold and PPS members then the economy per section.

Service was good and consistent throughout the flight. Champagne, orange juice and water were offered once I settled in my seat. I personally rave about this seat since its made its debut few years ago and a good thing about SQ is you can actually see the seatmap and decide where to sit in the aircraft you are going to fly with and having flown with it for several years, it is rare for them to change the aircraft at a very last minute (my parents were flying with CX once and it changed the aircraft like 3 times before the scheduled departure time, with 3 different configurations!)

Leg 2: SIN-HKG

It always excites me whenever I fly with A380. SQ operates the jumbo interchangeably with its A330-300, B777-200 and B777-300ER for this route, so you can always check the time and pick the one that you like. The widest business class seat in the sky was the highlight. The aircraft that I flew with was reconfigured to all-business class upper deck and it was not that full in the mid and the last section. I did not have a chance to see how is the Suite downstairs, I wish I could next time.

For a 3hours and 25minutes of flying, the seat was more than just comfortable to indulge in. It is easy to operate and it was in 1-2-1 configuration, so if you are flying alone, you can pick window seat with direct aisle access at the same time. If you have a companion the middle section could be your pick and it also has a direct aisle access. Moreover, it is forward facing, no herringbone or reverse-herringbone which I do not find it fancy.

Service was good and the cabin crew addressed me by name throughout the flight since I was welcomed in the aircraft gate. I feel that SQ cabin service is going beyond ‘excellent’ to be very attentive without being too much and remain discreet. I spent my remaining hours to watch BRAVE and a little bit of Britney’s Femme Fatale concert. I must say it was an enjoyable ride indeed.

Leg 3: HKG-SIN

Another journey with A380 this round. What was more, the aircraft has wi-fi installed in it and for mere USD10 for 10MB access, one can enjoy using data service (Like me with my BBM) for the entire flight. It is provided by OnAir who also provides the same service for other mega-airlines too such as Emirates, Garuda (soon), All Nippon Airways, Qantas, TAP’s America, Etihad Airways, Hong Kong Airlines and so on.

You only need to connect your device just like when you connect to any hotspot wifi service, then just follow the few steps then you are connected. Wi-fi connectivity was very good, no disturbance whatsoever and I could remain connected for the entire flight.

My seat was 11K at the upper deck (another A380 with all business class-upper deck), when I did my internet check-in I was not sure if it has a window, so I double checked when I checked-in my luggage at HKIA, the agent said it should have window, but it was not! So I said to one of the cabin crew to get a seat with a window and she said it was not a full flight and only that pointy-end of the business class section that occupied, so I was free to move to 16K (with window of course!)

I must take note of the cabin crew on this flight that I think they do deserve to mention. After the meal service I was offered for a hot drinks, like gourmet coffee or TWG tea; since I was quite full then I declined politely and hey I still had a space for a little praline as it said in the menu so I asked for it. When she returned, she handed me a plate (not a piece or few, but a place consists of like 10 or 12 of assorted pralines) and she said I can have them all if I want to, which of course (again) I have to reject politely, no way that I could finish the whole plate of pralines. I thought it was a nice gesture of her.

Leg 4: SIN-CGK

Arriving in SIN then I made my way to the SilverKris Lounge in T2 and managed to get a quick shower and light snacks before I flew back to Jakarta. I still prefer the SKL in T3 though with a feel of airy and bright, the one in T2 is somehow not that bright and not that airy but never mind.

The leg was served by the older B777-200, meaning that the business class section was arranged in 2-3-2 instead of the new one 2-2-2. When I looked around the section, the middle seats were emptied, so yes it was a good one to have more space next to you. The seat was named Ultimo seat generation (if I am not mistaken) that SQ introduced long time ago before the SpaceBed took place, but for approx 90mins I do not really care.

Just a note to travellers: if you really have to land in CGK, try to avoid the peak hours like anytime after 6PM to 11PM, I think that is the premiere slot that the middle-eastern carrier also lands at that time, this translates to never-ending queue at the immigration check. Mid-day arrival is so much better with less queue in the immigration.

For those who fly out from CGK, morning up to 10AM is the peak, so try to avoid this hours, unless if you are flying with Garuda Executive Class which gives you a fast-track immigration clearance.

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