Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 9 May 2014 • Blog
In Indonesia, coffee easily translates to ‘kopi’. Thus, the act of having a cup of coffee with a bunch of people is called ‘ngopi’, which I’m a sucker for. As a country that has long and widely produced the beans, it’s common to see men (and occasionally women) gather and chat over a cup of coffee ever since the colonial days. Today this culture continues, especially with coffee being a huge business and trend. Furthermore, ‘ngopi’ has become a term to describe hanging out and just chatting amongst friends, although not necessarily drinking coffee. So, I thought I’d ask some of my mostly Jakarta friends where they like to hang out and have a cup of Java. In no particular order here are 9 recommended cafes in Jakarta:
This place is a favorite to Adam of Pergidulu.com. He originally lives in Bandung, but when he is in town, he likes to visit this venue. As a coffee drinker, he says Monolog is a rare find in Jakarta that has a great mix of ambience, great food and great location, which is in the Plaza Senayan Shopping Center. He says that the food has been excellent, as he is diligently trying them all. It might be pricey, but worth the money. His recommendation is the omelette. He didn’t mention a specific coffee from the menu, so I’m guessing he just likes ‘em all. As for food, anything I tried was excellent. It was a culinary high afterwards. I would recommend the Spiced Coffee Latte. It’s similar to a cappuccino but with more kick of spices, appropriate in the land of spices. It’s gold!
This spot is TV personality and #savesharks activist, Riyanni Djangkaru’s favorite place to hang. Understandably, as she also works at Dive Mag, which is located above the venue at Terogong Raya. But, her likings has basis. The venue is a relaxing place, pretty creative with dive-themed drawings on the walls and ceiling, and serves tasty food. Her recommendations have to be the ‘peuyeum balls’, or the traditional fermented cassava made into little cake balls with orange peel and white sugar, and coffee wise she recommends the ristretto. They take their coffee seriously, as the ristretto was serious caffeine shot! One shot gave me the chills because it was so full on. I’m sure the caffeine shot was to keep you fresh all through the hangout session or through anything you’re up to at Divebox. Did I mention the spicy chicken wings are delish?!
This place is a favorite to three of my friends, the duo from thedustysneakers.com and Valen, a food writer from Femina, an Indonesian prominent woman’s magazine. The coffee seems to be pretty serious here. It is said that the venue, located on Surabaya street, is only open between Wednesday – Saturday because the owner is roasting during the rest of the week. It’s not a very big venue but it’s a cozy and intimate place. It can get pretty packed on Saturdays, as it is the only day of the weekend their fans can get some of the brewed coffee. The coffee was really good! There’s not much food available, but there are a few snacks on the rack.
Windy Ariestanty, a writer and one of my Indonesian language teachers, loves this place for a few reasons. She loves to sit in this particular corner, she loves the spinach dip, and she loves the Green Popeye drink. Yes, she’s a vegetarian. She is also a ‘lychee ice tea’ connoisseur and she says the one here is top notch. She doesn’t drink coffee but when her friends want to ‘ngopi’, this is her recommended place, as it caters to her vegetarian tongue. She loves the ambience of the place and it’s always her option for business meetings or just general hangouts with friends. Because she’s a fan of the cold air, O Coffee Club is right for her. On the other hand, I had to hold in the cold a little bit more than my likings. I can concur that the spinach dip is spectacular. The black coffee is also thumbs up as it is has a good bitter taste and not too thin!
One of my favorite food bloggers would have to be Captain Ruby of Wanderbites.com. He recommended this place as a spot to get great coffee, even for its manual brew. He also emphasized the existence of the Chicken Maryland. Important, as I’ve never had it before and my first was a blast. The place is also pretty artsy, which brings him inspiration. I can see why. The place was pretty cute with its own animal characters and clean spacious rooms. The characters consistently decorated the cafe right down to the cookies, which was irresistible to buy. It’s easy to blog away here, he says in his post of this place. So, I won’t say more of the place. Oh Chicken Maryland, I miss you!
Tash of welovejakarta.com is also a vegetarian. Always has been and has successfully made her partner, Mahatma, into one, too. Their spot of choice is Java Bean Coffee, especially in Pejaten Village. It’s easy to access from home, which is a plus considering Samudra the adorable addition to the family, and they love the food. The Aglio Mushroom Dumplings is a must for them as it is a tasty vegetarian dish and their favorite. As for place, it’s a nice airy place, with access to the balcony overlooking the Jakarta skyline in the distance. As for coffee, Tash nor Mahatma drinks it but I’m a fan for their subtle coffee.
I have to admit, I was pretty surprised when Graham Hills, Managing Director of Wego.co.id suggested the ‘kopi tubruk’ of Liberica. ‘Kopi tubuk’ is black coffee without the French press, so you have debris of coffee on the rim and on the bottom of your cup. Not a lot of expats like this coffee but apparently he does. He loves the coffee at Liberica Pacific Place, at SCBD, for the coffee and location, as it isn’t too far from his home. I have to agree with Graham, the coffee is memorable. With so many places to have a cup of Java, it’s hard to stand out, but the coffee here does the job. The interior is very masculine and dark but it balance the bright lighting of the mall. As it is located in a mall, I’m guessing he likes to shop afterwards too?
Vesta is a well-known Indonesian traveller and is currently the travel consultant to go to. She loves Djournal Coffee Bar in Grand Indonesia especially for their holiday drink, which she mentioned happened to be hot Nutella latte last Christmas. Djournal might be one of the first to introduce this coffee and she’s head over heals for them. Naturally, she’ll have them with the Nutella croissant. She loves the spacious ambience compared to some of her other favorite places. It’s a good spot to hangout there and not feel you’re rushed by those waiting inline, such as in a smaller venue. Not to mention, she loves the discount of being an Ismaya member. Well, that pretty much says it all.
I have to add my favorite place to hang out on this list of cafes in Jakarta. Bookopi is located in my flat complex of Kalibata City. Not only is it close to home, I can do work ‘cause the wi-fi is strong and they have tables for single visitors complete with electric sockets to charge your gadgets. They understand me. The food is also yummy. My favorite menu has to be their spicy fried spaghetti with tuna, amongst other things. Their coffee is nice and subtle. I must say their cold ‘kopi/teh tarik’ with grass jelly is my drug. It’s a bit sweet but still on the good side.
So, there you have it! A list of cafes in Jakarta, where you can hangout too, and maybe bump into these people. If you have a favorite place to hang that didn’t make the list and people should give it a go, let me know. Who knows any of us might change our minds 😀
This post was made to test the quality of my mobile phone camera, the Sony Xperia V, whether the quality was OK for a blogpost. The pictures of my friends are taken with the Canon G12 or cameras. So what do you think?