Tag Archives: Food & Dining Review

Food & Dining Review: Kokoro Mazesoba Gandaria City

>> At A Glance

* Restaurant name: Kokoro Mazesoba

* Cuisine: Japanese

* Address: Gandaria City Mall (Upper Ground Floor), Jl. Sultan Iskandar Muda, RT 10/RW 6, Kebayoran Lama Utara, Jakarta Selatan 12240

* Opening times: Everyday 10.00 – 22.00

* Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

 

>> Ratings

* Overall flavour: 5

Hands down, this place serves the best maze soba I’ve ever tasted in my life. Of course, I only had room to taste one of the soba variations they have on offer, but that alone has compelled me to write a review, so I guess that’s saying something. Kokoro’s flavour profile is truly delightful and will certainly leave you craving for more down the line. This in addition to fresh drinks makes Kokoro Mazesoba an ideal place for day/night-outs with both friends and family.

* Price for portion: 4

It’s a tad bit expensive, but can still pass as reasonable considering the typical pricing in mall restaurants. With no soba/don/zosui bowls over 100k IDR, I personally find that the main dishes are more sensibly priced than the drinks and side dishes (e.g. one small chicken katsu pao alone can set you back 23k IDR). That being said, the prices are not too extortionate to the point that the restaurant loses its competitive edge. Check out the full menu here

* Service: 4.5

Interior of the restaurant.

As the Gandaria City branch is relatively new (Kokoro has another branch in Grand Indonesia), the servers were very proactive in encouraging people to try the restaurant. They were knowledgeable about the menu and able to satisfyingly help customers figure out the best dishes to try depending on their interests. Furthermore, they were relatively alert in refilling ocha and offering additional rice. The only aspect that could be improved is possibly friendliness; a few more smiles here and there can go a long way in amplifying the comfortable atmosphere for customers.

* Venue / ambiance: 5

The place is well-decorated; it’s evident that the furnitures and their placements have been carefully thought out. Moreover, I love the elegant yet cozy Japanese street store feel created by the wooden textures.

* X factor: The perfect combination of tangy vinegar and well-made soba is likely to encourage return visits!

* Overall experience: 4.5

>> Dish By Dish Review

* Shio Mazesoba Chicken for 69k IDR: 5

Such an exciting, mild, and yummy dish! If spaghetti carbonara was to be done with a Japanese twist, then this would be it. The portion is generous and filling; there are adequate toppings and all the ingredients taste super fresh. The grilled chicken slices are tender, moist, and well seasoned, just outright delicious. You can add vinegar and chilli flakes to your liking, and I would certainly recommend adding vinegar because its tang complements the soba really well. The chilli flakes are great for adding a bit of spice, too.

Interestingly, all guests are welcome to free additional rice after they finish their soba to make the most out of the remaining sauce. This is the first time I’ve encountered this at a Japanese restaurant in Jakarta and it certainly creates a novelty effect, but I think many people (including me) would be to full to follow up the soba with rice. Overall, I believe Kokoro has successfully lived up to their slogan, “Not ramen, not udon, it’s a new taste!”.

* Yuzu Punch for 35k IDR: 4

A refreshing way to end a heavy noodle meal. This cold citrus punch topped with passion fruit is a great drink as well as light dessert; its fruitiness is a good change from the soba sauce. However, I’m sure customers would appreciate less ice and more punch, so that the ice doesn’t dilute the fresh flavour of the punch too much as it melts.

>> Other Opinions

* Various reviews on Zomato (in Indonesian and English)

* Various reviews on TripAdvisor (in Indonesian and English, on the Grand Indonesia branch)

* An article by the news outlet detikFood (in Indonesian)

>> Previous Post On This Category: King Mango Thai Neo Soho

Leave a comment below with restaurants you’d like me to review next! 

Are you affiliated with Kokoro Mazesoba? Reach out (christyzee98@gmail.com) and let me know if you’d like me to come back or review any new dishes!

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Food & Dining Review: Pippo Senayan City

>> At A Glance

* Restaurant name: Pippo

* Cuisine: Italian

* Address: Senayan City Mall, Jl. Asia Afrika No.19, RT.1/RW.3, Gelora, Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta City, Jakarta 10270

* Opening times: Everyday 10.00 – 24.00

* Phone: +622172781089

* Social media: Facebook, Instagram

>> Ratings

* Overall flavour: 3.5

* Price for portion: 2.5

Definitely on the expensive side for the flavour and portion being offered. Some dishes are more suitably priced than others. For example, I can still consider 95k IDR for a smoked beef pizza reasonable, but 75k IDR for a relatively small raviolini in brodo or 55k IDR for two small scoops of ice cream are arguably extortionate. I would agree with the current pricing if the flavour was truly unique and dynamic, but unfortunately this is not the case for many of the dish I tasted.

* Service: 4

Service went smoothly for the most part. The waitresses are well-trained and knowledgeable about the menu (i.e. they were able to answer questions about ingredients and provide recommendations). All the dishes were served promptly, with a reasonable waiting time of 10 to 15 minutes. Nevertheless, I would appreciate it if all the staff were friendlier and more approachable, particularly the front-of-house waitresses. I understand that the restaurant has bookings, but there are better ways of letting guests know than simply saying “we can accommodate you, but we need you to finish eating by 7 pm” as soon as we request for a table. That being said, for a restaurant that has only been open for a few weeks, I’m thoroughly impressed by how much the waitresses know about the dishes.

* Venue / ambiance: 5

Hands down, the venue/ambiance of this restaurant is truly top-notch and perfect for gatherings. The dim lighting, transparent windows, elegant decorations, and overall layout of the restaurant establish a charismatic, high-class feel to the venue. The bar area is also a nice touch to the atmosphere.

* X factor: Amazing venue/ambiance

* Overall experience: 4

>> Dish By Dish Review

* Smoked Beef Pizza for 95k IDR: 4.5

Certainly one of the best pizzas I’ve tasted in Jakarta! The thickness of the dough is just right and it’s baked to perfection. The combination of thoroughly melted cheese, tomato, and oil tastes absolutely amazing and satisfying. If this is the standard for all of Pippo’s pizzas, then they will undoubtedly stand out overtime. An improvement that’ll make this dish perfect would be to have more smoked beef bits, because some slices just taste like margherita instead of smoked beef pizza.

* Raviolini In Brodo for 75k IDR: 4

Don’t let the broth’s lack of colour fool you, the opaque soup is rich in flavour and truly delightful. When you bite into the perfect-sized raviolini, be prepared for a burst of flavour as you taste their cheese filling. The cheese complements the broth rather well, making the dish very well-balanced in flavour. For a 75k IDR dish, however, I would like to have more than eight raviolini.

* Angel Hair Aglio Olio E Peperoncino for 95k IDR: 4.5

It’s evident that the seasoning of this dish has been adjusted to suit an Asian palette, and honestly, I see no reason to complain. The soft, springy angel hair pasta is decorated with tomato, chilli, parsley, and cheese flakes that are mixed well together. I love how this dish isn’t too oily whilst still maintaining the characteristic aglio olio taste. I’d love to see an improvement presentation-wise, maybe add some garnish to create a more aesthetically pleasing finish.

* Black Ink Tagliolini for 145k IDR: 3.5

This is the first time I’ve tried a black ink tagliolini dish and it was overall okay, but not necessarily mind-blowing. I couldn’t really taste the black ink, because it was mixed with so much cream. The taste of the parsley flakes unfortunately didn’t come through either. The only upside I can think of is the fact that the tagliolini was soft, tender, and clearly well-made. However, I think the creaminess hinders most of the flavour profile intended for this dish.

* Kiwi Fresh Juice for 45k IDR: 4.5

The kiwi juice is refreshing and light, making it suitable for accompanying heavy pasta dishes. I personally enjoy the grainy, rough texture, but some people might find it too scratchy. It would be good to have the skin of the kiwi slice peeled off so guests can eat it easily.

* Stracciatella & Dark Chocolate Gelato for 55k IDR: 4

Stracciatella and dark chocolate make a great combination, and this gelato is proof. The gelato is smooth, soft, and milky, great for ending a meal centred around pizza and pasta. The price for portion ratio could be made better: reduce the price and/or make each scoop bigger. Either way, a sweet and simple way to end your meal at Pippo!

>> Other Opinions

* Various reviews on Zomato (in Indonesian and English)

>> Previous Post On This Category: Zeo’s Caramel, Coconut & Passion Fruit Soft Drink

Leave a comment below with restaurants you’d like me to review next! 

Are you affiliated with Pippo? Reach out (christyzee98@gmail.com) and let me know if you’d like me to come back or review any new dishes!

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Food & Dining Review: Zeo’s Caramel, Coconut & Passion Fruit Soft Drink

Click to enlarge.

This is not a food and dining review per se, but more of a drink sample review. Nonetheless, since I don’t have a category specifically dedicated to drinks and don’t think it’s necessary to create one at the moment, I’ve decided to sort it under “Food & Dining Review” instead.

>> At A Glance

“At Zeo, we make a range of lightly carbonated soft drinks. Inside each bottle is 98% spring water blended with naturally extracted fruits and botanicals.” – Zeo

The particular flavour that I’m reviewing today is a special, limited edition one that was released in September and October 2016: Caramel, Coconut & Passion Fruit. 180, 000 bottles of this flavour were released in partnership with the Pink Ribbon Foundation to support breast cancer awareness, with 10p from each bottle going to the foundation. 

>> Ratings

* Flavour: 2

Unfortunately, this combination of caramel, coconut, and passion fruit just didn’t really work for me. Frankly, even I’m having a tricky time imagining how these flavours can complement each other – I wonder how they choose the three things. Anyway, the drink was way too sweet; both the coconut and caramel were very strong, but there was barely a hint of passion fruit. This imbalance established a somewhat cinnamon-like, rather peculiar taste. The only bright side I can think of is that the drink wasn’t too carbonated, but I think this is a general feature across all Zeo soft drinks instead of a notable aspect of this flavour. Although it was still drinkable, I don’t think I’ll ever want a second one.

* Packaging: 3

The packaging is simplistic and, paired with the soft-pink-coloured liquid, creates a stunningly elegant look. However, as the bottle is made of relatively thick glass, it’s quite heavy and difficult to carry around.

* Price for portion: 4

I received my bottle as a free sample, so I’m not entirely sure of its actual retail price. Nevertheless, I read that the recommended retail price is £1.29, which is reasonable for a soft drink and is actually cheaper than other mainstream soft drinks brands, although this may be due to its slightly less volume.

* X factor: It’s for a great cause!

Overall, I believe that the only unique selling point of this flavour is that it’s a limited edition flavour that’s released in aid of breast cancer awareness. This would make the drink appealing to those who care about breast cancer and those who are enthusiastic about sampling this one-off release.

>> Another Opinion: by a YouTube channel called JWW

>> Previous Post On This Category: Paradise Dynasty

Leave a comment below with drinks you’d like me to review next! 

Are you affiliated with Zeo? Reach out (christyzee98@gmail.com) and let me know if you’d like me to review any new products!

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Food & Dining Review: Cocoro

>> At A Glance

Image credits: Cocoro

Image taken from Cocoro’s website.

* Restaurant name: Cocoro (Marylebone branch)

* Cuisine: Japanese

* Address: 31 Marylebone Lane, London, United Kingdom, W1U 2NH (also have branches in Bloomsbury, Highgate, and Bayswater areas in London)

* Opening times: Everyday 12.00 – 16.30 and 18.00 – 22.30

* Phone: 02079352931 (Marylebone branch), 02074360660 (Bloomsbury branch), 02083406000 (Highgate branch), 02072219790 (Bayswater branch)

* Website: cocororestaurant.co.uk/en/ (menu available)

>> Ratings

Rating Scale

* Overall flavour: 4

* Price for portion: 2.5

Whilst pricey food is nothing new for Central London, £13 for a single bowl of ramen is more on the expensive side for me. The portion fills you up, but I’ve had ramen bowls with similar or even more content for considerably less (i.e. around £6 – £8).

* Service: 4.5

Many of the waitresses were very friendly and responsive. They were constantly willing to top up our tap water, even without us asking. All of our orders were served nice and steamy within ten to fifteen minutes. Nevertheless, it was quite difficult to call the waitresses for ordering food and requesting the bill as not many of them circulate downstairs. That being said, they were very lenient in letting my friends and I talk for a while after we finished eating, even as we chat towards their closing time! 

* Venue / ambiance: 4

Centrally located in zone one, the place is rather accessible and is close to multiple tube stations (Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Bond Street, and Regent’s Park). The restaurant itself is quite small inside; chairs and tables are laid out on the upper level, whereas horigotatsu seats are available on the lower level. My group took a horigotatsu spot and the lighting as well as layout downstairs successfully establish a relaxed and dynamic atmosphere that is perfect for gatherings. Furthermore, curtain dividers are available between the horigotatsu seats, thus providing some sense of privacy even in an arguably tight space.

* X factor: ramen toppings

Various ramen toppings were served separately on a dish on top of the ramen soup. This serving style allows the freshness of the toppings to be preserved and ultimately enables customers to appreciate the different components all the more. 

* Overall experience: 4

>> Dish By Dish Review

* Tonkotsu Ramen for £13 : 4

Click to enlarge.

The texture of the ramen is springy, smooth, and just amazing. The ramen soup comes with eclectic toppings including but not limited to pork slices, half an egg, seaweed, pickles, and onions. All of the toppings compliment each other and the broth extremely well, although more vegetables portion and variety as well as a whole egg serving instead of half would be much more ideal for the price. Additionally, the broth itself may come off as too salty for some people, and the apparent monosodium glutamate (MSG) aftertaste doesn’t necessarily help either. Overall, what goes into the broth is delicious and tasty, but the Tonkotsu broth itself could use a few tweaks. That being said, this dish is perfectly filling and I would recommend it for rainy days, which is notorious for being abundant here in London!

>> Other Opinions (on the Marylebone branch)

* On a food, travel, and cooking blog called “Eat Noodles Love Noodles”

* On a food blog called “The Boozy Bunch”

* Various reviews on:

Square Meal

>> Previous Post On This Category: Red Cow Carvery

Leave a comment below with restaurants you’d like me to review next! 

Are you affiliated with Cocoro? Reach out (christyzee98@gmail.com) and let me know if you’d like me to come back or review any new dishes!

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Food & Dining Review: Red Cow Carvery

>> At A Glance

Red Cow Carvery #1

Click to enlarge.

* Stall name: Red Cow Carvery

* Cuisine: British

* Address: Greenwich Market, 5b Greenwich Market, London, United Kingdom, SE10 9HZ

* Opening times: 10.00 – 17.30 on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays

* Phone: (+44) 7775997435

* Facebook: Red Cow Carvery

>> Ratings

Rating Scale

* Overall flavour: 4

* Price for portion: 3.5

There was enough to make me adequately full, but that’s all there is to it.

Menu - click to enlarge.

Menu – click to enlarge.

* Service: 3.5

As the stall is in a market and surrounded by other food stalls, crowdedness is inevitable and tolerable. The vendor has a good line up system that’s clearly communicated, easily understandable, and doesn’t block neighbouring stalls. Service was quick and thus prevents the line from being too overwhelming. That being said, staff need to be careful not to sacrifice too much friendliness towards customers solely for quicker service.

Additionally, the stall serves everything on a rectangular styrofoam bowl. Whilst I understand that this is convenient, it would be great if a more environmentally friendly material can be used or maybe the vendor can offer a fair discount to customers who bring along their own reusable containers.

* Venue / ambiance: 4

Located relatively at the centre of the food hub, as far as market stalls go it’s pretty decent and accessible. The surrounding intersections amplify the rush and hecticness at times, but having two stalls merged into one certainly helps establish a less suffocating atmosphere for customers. Due to its central location, there are no seats or tables nearby.

* X factor: None

Can’t put my finger on any, great British food with great flavours, but nothing that makes me scream, “Wow!”

* Overall experience: 3.5

>> Dish By Dish Review

Click to enlarge.

* Roast Beef w/ Potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding & Gravy for £6 : 4

Overall, the dish was mildly seasoned and well presented. The beef was cooked well done and the Yorkshire pudding was tasty. For improvements, larger potatoes should’ve been cut into smaller pieces for a better and more uniformed roast across the potatoes. One or two extra Yorkshire pudding(s) and more caramelised onions would’ve made the price for portion more ideal. Additionally, I reckon some roasted or boiled vegetables can complement the dish rather nicely.

>> Other Opinions

* On ilovemarkets.co.uk

* On a food and travel blog…

>> Previous Post On This Category: Spatula

Leave a comment below with restaurants you’d like me to review next! 

Are you affiliated with Red Cow Carvery? Reach out (christyzee98@gmail.com) and let me know if you’d like me to come back or review any new dishes!

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