Tag Archives: Jakarta

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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Photographs: Manmadesthics #2

>> About Manmadesthics

Manmadesthics is a photography collection aiming to capture aesthetically pleasing patterns that are created by humans – manmade + aesthetics = manmadesthics. This is my second blogpost about this collection; you can find the first post here.

Taken at Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Indonesia  with an iPhone 5. Black and white filter applied. Click to enlarge.

Taken at Fairmont Singapore, Singapore with an iPhone 7. Colour corrected. Click to enlarge.

Taken during Tori Kelly‘s concert at O2 Academy Brixton, London with an iPhone 5. Colour corrected. Click to enlarge.

>> Previous Post On This Category: Nature Speaks #1

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Food & Dining Review: King Mango Thai Neo Soho

>> At A Glance

* Restaurant name: King Mango Thai

* Cuisine: Thai

* Address: Neo Soho Mall, Lower Ground (LG) Floor, Jl. Letjen S. Parman (Podomoro City), Tanjung Duren, Jakarta 11470

* Opening times: Everyday 10.00 – 22.00

* Phone: +622156985555

* Social media: Facebook, Instagram

This up-and-coming juice bar currently only offers one thing on their menu: their viral mango juice. As such, I won’t be doing a dish-by-dish review section as per usual, and will instead just do a general ratings review section.

>> Ratings

* Flavour: 2.5

Right off the bat: I expected more. A lot more. For the tons of social media hype, an hour-long (sometimes even more) line, and 50k IDR, I expected a drink that would transform the mango dessert world. Instead, all customers are really getting is a mango juice topped with whipped cream, shaved ice, and mango pieces that’s overall way too sweet for its own good. It might not be as bad if the juice is entirely made from mangoes, but the additional mango extract and liquid sugar just pushed it over the edge for me. The artificial substances hinder the fresh, characteristic texture I wanted to taste from pure mango juice, and unless some significant changes are made or new drinks are introduced, I’m not planning on going for seconds anytime soon – I didn’t even finish the one I bought for this review. The whipped cream, shaved ice, and mango pieces, whilst absolutely delicious toppings, are not nearly enough to make this drink worthwhile.

* Price for portion: 4

Whilst 50k IDR for a mango drink is arguably more on the expensive end, it can still pass as reasonable considering the claim that it uses genuine Thai mangoes. Additionally, the size of each serving is rather huge and can fill you up quite significantly.

* Service: 1.5

Maybe it’s the super long line or maybe it’s because I came during the later half of the day, but the cashier and server were not at all friendly and accommodating. There were no smile, no greetings, and no explanation of the juice bar’s concept (or even the fact that they only have one drink on offer). It was definitely a subpar experience in terms of service, and the only reason I didn’t give it a one is because service was quite quick once you put your order in.

* Venue / ambiance: 3.5

The Thai ornaments on the walls are intricately beautiful, creating an authentic Thai feel to the place. Moreover, the combination of wood and yellow lighting throughout the shop complements the Thai ornaments’ colour scheme rather well. Unfortunately, the cloud ceiling looks out of place, and I’m sure customers would appreciate more seats.

* X factor: Does a super long line count as an x factor?

* Overall experience: 2.5

>> Other Opinions

* Various reviews on Zomato, pergikulinerQraved, and Foody.id (in Indonesian and English)

* On food/lifestyle blogs called Eat and Treats and My Fun Food Diary (in English)

* On a food blog called Dosen Kuliner (in Indonesian)

>> Previous Post On This Category: Pippo Senayan City

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

Are you affiliated with King Mango Thai? 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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Photographs: Cityscapes of Jakarta

I’m starting a new photography collection called Cityscapes. As the name suggests, the collection aims to capture defining landscapes of some of the greatest cities in the world. For this first update, I’m featuring my very own hometown, Jakarta!

Home to over ten million people, malls have become an integral part of this Indonesian capital city. In September 2013, Indonesian president Joko Widodo claimed that there are 173 malls in Jakarta [1], and I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if the number has grown since then. As such, below are two shots I took at Pacific Place, one of the malls in Central Jakarta.

Stay tuned for more Cityscapes updates featuring Jakarta and other cities all across the globe.

Taken at Pacific Place Jakarta. Click to enlarge.

Taken at Pacific Place Jakarta. Click to enlarge.

>> Citation

[1] https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2013/09/16/057513745/Jokowi-Too-Many-Malls-in-Jakarta

>> Previous Post On This Category: One Tree

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Food & Dining Review: Paradise Dynasty

>> At A Glance

* Restaurant name: Paradise Dynasty (Plaza Senayan branch)

* Cuisine: Chinese

* Address: Plaza Senayan Mall, 5th Floor, Unit Cp 512-513, Jl. Asia Afrika No. 8, Jakarta 10270 (also have branches in Surabaya, Medan, Bali, East Java, and North Sumatera provinces of Indonesia as well as branches in other Jakarta malls including Central Park and Baywalk)

* Opening times: Everyday 10.00 – 22.00

* Phone: 02157900146 (Plaza Senayan branch)

* Social media: website, Facebook, Twitter

>> Ratings

Rating Scale

* Overall flavour: 4.5

* Price for portion: 4 (click here to access the menu on Zomato)

Taking into account the high quality of the ingredients and moderate high-end feel of the restaurant, I’d say the price for portion is rather reasonable. Most main courses is around 70k IDR and any dish for sharing tends to be less, so it’s not exactly extortionate. Additionally, they often have credit card discounts (especially during Chinese New Year) and will give you 100k IDR voucher(s) after bills depending on how much you spent. It’s worth noting that the voucher can only be used when spending 200k IDR and above on your next visit, though.

* Service: 2.5

The Plaza Senayan branch is highly popular on weekends and public holidays, so don’t be surprised if there’s a waiting list going. That said, it’s usually still a manageable 10-to-15-minute wait. What may be a deal breaker is that, when it’s especially crowded, service can unfortunately be rather slow and neglectful. You might need to ask the waitress about the status of a dish a few times before they realise that they didn’t input the order in the first place. I’m not saying that this is always the case, but this has happened twice in the dozen or so times I’ve been here on weekends (this restaurant is one of my family’s go-tos).

The manager always rectified the situation quickly and professionally, though. He/she will apologise and offer the customer free birthday buns if the mistake is on their part, so I guess a silver lining exists, but the restaurant wouldn’t be my first pick if I’m pressed for time.

* Venue / ambiance: 5

What could be improved in service they make up for in venue/ambiance. The restaurant has a great familial atmosphere with elegant lighting, decor, and Chinese instrumental background music. Furthermore, whether it’s for lunch business meetings or family gatherings over dinner, the space is reasonably spacious with plenty of seating options. A few private rooms with rotating round tables are also available for booking should you want to avoid the restaurant’s hustle and bustle, although there might be a minimum charge when booking for special occasions. No wi-fi available.

* X factor: Signature Dynasty Xiao Long Bao

These are eight multi-coloured, multi-flavoured xiaolongbaos unique to Paradise Dynasty. I didn’t order it this time around, but I’ve tried it in the past and I’d definitely recommend first-timers to give the dish a shot. Although people typically share a serving of xiaolongbaos, it’s best to keep all eight to yourself this time to appreciate the entire culinary experience. As your chopstick sleeve will illustrate, the eight flavours in the order that you should consume them are original, ginseng, foie gras, black truffle, cheesy, crab roe, garlic, and szechuan.

* Overall experience: 4

>> Dish By Dish Review

* Crispy Pork Buns for 25.8k IDR: 4

The pork filling was sweet, mild, and honestly everything you could ever want in crispy pork buns. I’d personally prefer it if the bun is crispier, but the filling to bun ratio is spot on. This is quite an interesting way of serving pork buns as they’re traditionally white and fluffy, but it’s not necessarily original as I’ve encountered it in other dim sum places.

* Stir-Fried Green Beans w/ Minced Pork for 65k IDR: 3.5

This is a typical dish that people order at Chinese restaurants, and whilst it’s technically vegetable-based, it’s not necessarily healthy as it’s often way too oily for its own good. That being said, Paradise Dynasty served this dish with an acceptable amount of oil and a great proportion in the quantities of pork and green beans. The green beans were young, fresh, and crunchy, just the way I like it. Unfortunately, the seasoning on the minced pork was way too salty, even when consumed with rice. In short, the green beans in this dish were perfect, but the minced pork fell short.

* Ten Pork Xiao Long Baos for 78k IDR: 4

These xiaolongbaos were smaller in size than those I’ve tasted at other restaurants, and there was subsequently less soup and meat packaged into each one. Nonetheless, the ratio between the flour wrap, meat, and soup was perfect, and this led to a truly distinct, delicious burst of flavour when the xialongbao is consumed along with some soya sauce as well as shredded ginger. This dish, however, was a bit on the expensive side in terms of price for portion; including more xiaolongbaos or making them bigger would compensate for this limitation.

* Porcupine Nutella Buns for 36.8k IDR: 5

A twist on baozi I have yet to find anywhere else! Presentation-wise, carving the steamed buns into porcupines give the dish a cute and creative look that can easily attract children and adults alike. The attention to detail dedicated into shaping each porcupine is in itself commendable. Additionally, although they’re called Nutella buns, the filling actually consists of both melted Nutella and a thin spread of red bean paste. Many sweet baozis consists of either chocolate or red bean, so it was a nice surprise finding that both were incorporated in these ones. Designating the perfect proportion of ingredients into a dish seems to be Paradise Dynasty’s specialty, because again, the bread to Nutella to red bean paste ratio created a wonderfully addictive taste. To top it all of, the dough was soft and fluffy, making it a perfect complement to the warm red bean paste and melted Nutella.

* Birthday Buns for free: 3

This wasn’t a dish I was expecting to review, but it was given to us after a poor service experience. The vividly coloured, custard-filled buns were aesthetically pleasing, and they were the perfect balance between sweet and doughy. Assuming from the name, I’m guessing the restaurant also serves these buns to customers who are celebrating birthdays. Thus, if it’s your birthday and Nutella buns aren’t your thing, then you’re in luck because the birthday bun makes a decent dessert.

>> Other Opinions (on the Plaza Senayan branch)

* Various reviews on Zomato, TripAdvisor, pergikuliner (in Indonesian and English)

* On food/travel blogs called Jakarta in Food, thefoodxplorer , and objekwisata (in Indonesian)

* On food/travel blogs called Soompeat and Eshtravaganza (in English)

>> Previous Post On This Category: Cocoro

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

Are you affiliated with Paradise Dynasty? 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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