Sunday, July 3, 2011


"During a Convivium, a banquet with emphasis on richly prepared and novel food, the partaking of which was a pleasure - a conviviality - which would be accompanied by a generous flow of wines." ~ Stuart J. Fleming

And what a conviviality dining here was. This homey ristorante stole my heart from my first visit in May and since then I’ve been here two more times; and I will keep coming. There are lots of places that serve Italian dishes in Jakarta, but not many do it right like Convivium does.

I first heard about this restaurant sometime in May from my friends who swore by Convivium’s red velvet cake. MD actually passed by the place once around the same time, saying how the place was small and didn’t look so inviting. I managed to drag her here though, after a not-so-successful lunch (go to page), for the sole purpose of trying out their famed red velvet cake for ourselves. 

This little establishment was crowded at that time; the parking space was full so we had to park a bit far from there. Walking in, I immediately loved the interior; the bookshelves with their cooking books and cute kitchenware, the chalkboard with menus on it, the cupcakes on the serving dish, the open kitchen, everything. 

The Look

Once seated, we ordered a slice of red velvet cake (they call it torta passione here) (35K), a slice of mocha delight (recommended by the waitress) (35K), and two cups of caffe corretto (30K each) (literally “the right coffee”; a concoction of espresso and liquor which MD thought tasted like jamu). 

The torta passione was indeed scrumptious. It was moist, crumbly, and creamy at all the right levels. The cream cheese frosting was spread thinly it wasn’t overwhelming like with most cakes; and with some desiccated coconut, it was heavenly. The cake itself was delicious; with a bright, charming red color and fitting hints of cocoa. The mocha delight was a decent chocolate cake but we still prefer the one from that famous chocolatier franchise from Singapore (go to page)

Red Velvet Cake

On our next visit, we came as they were opening the store at 11AM; and we got to choose the seats of our wanting. This time I ordered spinach and ricotta cannelloni (65K) and iced caffe latte (28K) while MD had lasagna (65K) and caffe mocha (28K). 

Iced Caffe Latte
Caffe Mocha

The cannelloni and lasagna came in around 20 minutes looking very tempting it was so very hard to hold ourselves for 5 minutes to take these pictures. Both of the dishes were in generous portion with generous fillings. 

I loved the tangy sauce of the cannelloni, and the pasta was also cooked perfectly. 


The lasagna was very meaty, which is good, and the sauce did marvelous in distinguishing this dish from the rest of its ‘average’ counterparts in Jakarta. These dishes were served warm, and you’d want to dig in while they are; eat first, talk later.


So Convivium is now our most favorite Italian place in Jakarta. Service may be a bit standoffish at times (for such a small joint, it was kind of hard to get the staff’s attention), but the food is great and the place is cozy. We will definitely be coming back here for more pasta and desserts, and so should you 

Souly Butter Kitchen

One day, YP sent me a link about a small cakery in Kemang named Souly Butter Kitchen. After reading about it (and I’m easily tempted with pastries), we decided to try it that weekend. The article said that the place was small and had limited seating which could only accommodate approximately 15 people.  Hence we booked for seats, just in case the place was full.
Souly Butter Kitchen was located right across Kentucky Fried Chicken Kemang.  Entering the place, I was shocked a little, the place was smaller than I thought. I don’t think it’s even enough for 15 people (well, maybe if all of those 15 people were slim and sat crammed). When I confirmed about my reservation, the waiter seemed confused and there were no seats with the ‘reserved’ sign. It’s quite disappointing that they missed about the reservation.
The place was nice though. It looked like small painted white kitchen decorated with sofas and colorful cushions.  Red velvet cupcakes, black forest cake, caramel éclairs and buche were displayed on the kitchen table. It was a nice and tempting display. Unfortunately, I don’t think they were baking when we came, because I did not smell any cakes baking in their oven. I love the smell of freshly baked cakes.

The Displays

The recommended menu was carrot cake but they did not serve it that day, thus we decided to order a red velvet cupcake (20K) and a caramel éclair (25K). We did not order the buche  because we had lots of chocolates the day before. However, we could not resist ordering Valrhona ice chocolate (35K) for drinks.  We could always find excuses for Valrhona anyway.
I love the color of the red velvet cupcake, a tempting red, but the topping was a bit messy. I expected a cuter cupcake with pretty topping just as they pictured in the brochure. You can choose between cream cheese or mascarpone to be spread on your red velvet. We prefer a lighter taste, so we chose the mascarpone. Though the cupcake was too dry, the sweetness level suited me well.
Red Velvet Cupcake

On the other hand, the caramel éclair was too sweet for my taste bud. The look of the caramel éclair was also less attractive. In a glance, it looked like fried banana. I prefer the traditional chocolate éclair with a little infusion of rhum (I know, we mention a lot about the rhum, we just love it).
Caramel éclair

The Valrhona ice chocolate was quite delicious. They served the sugar separately. I like this kind of serving because I can adjust the sweetness level by myself. I had the drink without adding sugar, which could make me taste the chocolate better. They were quite generous with the chocolate. The drink had a rich chocolate flavor. For a chocolate lover, this drink could be a delightful option.
Valrhona Ice Chocolate

For such a nice and homey little place, it was a little disappointing that they did not forbid the guests to smoke. There were these other guests that smoke a lot. It was a small closed place, thus the smoke filled up the room and caused a disturbing suffocation. Another guest, which was a foreigner family (with a child), complained to the waiter about this but the waiter didn’t warn the guests who were smoking. I think the waiter might be afraid or hesitate. Ahhh well it was a little beyond their control anyway, but I think it would have been nicer if they could be stricter. Despite that smoking thing, this place was nice to chill. I won’t mind revisiting this place and try their other menus.

Food: Average

Ambience: Average
Value: Average

Souly Butter Kitchen
Jl. Kemang Raya 15A

Tel: 021 719 9985
Twitter: @soulybutterkitchen

Friday, July 1, 2011

Awfully Chocolate

If you’re super busy and don’t have the leisure to read this whole post, just know this: Awfully Chocolate serves the meanest chocolate cake in Jakarta. Period. Hands down. If you have the time to spare, then please be my guest and read the rest of this article.

First of all, Awfully Chocolate has been in Indonesia for quite some time now. We, too, have been two of their loyal fans since forever. We didn’t, however, use to indulge ourselves with these sinful delicacies before as we have been these few months. You see, due to their very strategic location (as in, close to our office), recently we have been purchasing their cakes for our colleagues’ birthdays (gaining more fans in the process; we should really start asking for commissions). We love all three of their cake variations: original (instant classic; not too sweet just how we like it), banana (a tad sweeter thanks to the two layers of fresh bananas), and rum and cherry (the ultimate cake, be prepared for lots of  ‘oooh’s and ‘aaah’s).

A couple of months ago, we received one of the best news of our lives (this is no exaggeration): Awfully Chocolate’s Senopati Branch is starting its own dessert café. We couldn’t be more excited; we were to finally have what those lucky Singaporeans, Chinese, and Taiwanese have been enjoying!

So it’s sad that we missed their opening event in May and was only able to finally sit in their neat, petit café last week, along with two friends of ours. As we entered the store we didn’t waste any second and started ordering like crazy: two slices of super stacked chocolate cake (31K), a slice of white chocolate butterscotch roll (32K), one cold-poached chocolate with kahlua-infused cream (36K), and a few morsels of kahlua-infused truffles (9K each) (yes, we love kahlua, so what).

The super stacked chocolate cake was exactly what their website says: a richer, thicker, chocolatier version of their original chocolate cake. It was less sweet, denser (more fudge, less cake), and overall I prefer this to the original, although the lack of alcohol is quite a pity. A little rum (well, not so little) might go a long way. 

Super Stacked Chocolate Cake

The white chocolate butterscotch roll was sweet, sweet, sweet. From the start, we were no fans of white chocolate (white chocolate ain’t chocolate!), and this cake couldn’t make us cross over to the white side. 

White Chocolate Butterscotch

The kahlua-infused truffles were very rich; you might want to cut the small pieces to even smaller bits so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Kahlua-infused Truffles

Now, the cold-poached chocolate was the highlight of that night. The soft, velvety dark chocolate just melted beautifully in our mouths along with the fresh, seductive kahlua-infused cream. Truly a brilliant concoction by the Awfully Chocolate kitchen. They had another version by the way, one with butterscotch cream instead of kahlua, which we didn’t get to try that night but would like to some other time.

Cold-poached Chocolate with Kahlua-infused Cream

The next day we tried their HEI chocolate ice cream (26K) (I seriously need to ask what HEI means next time) which proved to be scrumptious; perhaps the better choice for chocolate ice cream in town. Plus, they put these little scoops of heaven in cute Chinese-takeaway-esque boxes (yes, we will take pictures of it next time). Nice presentation never hurts.

Talking about presentation, the café itself is very charming, for me at least. Like I said, it’s pretty small, maybe only enough for twenty persons or so, with an open kitchen where you can watch the master chocolatiers at work. White dominates the interior. The staffs were helpful and friendly, and the (assumed) owner hopped in once in a while to lure her helpless customers to a chocolaty heaven.

The Looks
In conclusion, I will repeat the first sentence of this post: Awfully Chocolate serves the meanest chocolate cake in Jakarta. Period. Hands down.

Food: Good

Ambience: Good
Value: Good

Jalan Senopati
No 41C Jalan Senopati Jakarta 12190
Tel: +62 858 8015 8988, +62 21 573 1457

Plaza Indonesia
Level LB#31 Jalan M.H Thamrin Kav. 28-30
Tel: +62 21 3199 0205

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ocha & Bella

This is a long, overdue post. On my birthday last month, we went to one of the hippest place in town currently, Ocha & Bella.

From the name of it, one is sure to guess that this place serves Italian and Japanese. And maybe a fusion of both. The idea of such fusion itself is no cutting-edge concept; well at least to us. Some places in town have been serving mentaiko spaghetti or pizza con wasabi for a while now. And though several of my conquests to these places have proven scrumptious, I still prefer to have these two exquisite cuisines standing on their own. A restaurant that serves both would surely deliver perfection at neither. Or so I thought. Hence, I went to Ocha & Bella almost half-heartedly. The only thing that drove me to go there was these great pictures of the place that I saw over the internet. I thought I would at least go home with some decent pictures. IT turned out I also went home with a new favorite hang-out place in mind.

This place was smooth! Well, the outside area, at least, we didn’t really care about the indoor space; too…. heavy. Outside, they had these little gazebos with seating for around six people, perfect for a Sunday lunch with the family or maybe lingering lunch with some friends. There were only the two of us that day however, so we opted for an ordinary table.

We were given two different menus upon sitting, one for the Italian dishes and one for the izakaya (Japanese-style bar, look it up on the internet if you’re curious) –esque fares. There were only a few fusion items in the menus, namely the mini burgers in the Japanese division, and boy, were we glad about these. 

We decided to try both cuisines and ordered Ocha costolette (350K) and crunchy roll sushi (45K). For drinks, we had Berry Mojito (90K) and OB Negroni (martini) (90K), both of which were refreshingly awesome, especially the mojito.

The sushi were okay. They came hot, straight from the fryer, but honestly, I prefer the ones I ate some good five minutes later, when they were a bit cooler.

Crunchy Roll

From the description on the menu, the Ocha costolette was supposed to be this massive 650g slab of rib eye cooked to perfection with a special Ocha & Bella sauce accompanied with mashed cauliflowers, baby tomatoes, and tuilles. Our maitre d’ even boasted on how the dish was enough for four. Well, his previous customers must have been on a very strict diet as when the ribs came we felt a little cheated. They must have had accounted for the weight of the plate. Anywho, the ribs were indeed tender and succulent. They were cooked just on the level I liked, the level where those thick meat would just fall of the bones without so much of an effort. The said special Ocha & Bella sauce was pleasant, a bit on the sweet side, but nothing to write home about. The mashed cauliflower was something we wish hadn’t been there. The tuilles were also unnecessary; bland, plain and hard that you, too, would end up hoping they would have had omitted the vigorous process of making these and simply mashed some potatoes instead. Ordering rosemary roasted potatoes (35K) on the side was one of our best calls that night.

Ocha Costolette

Roasted Potatoes

About the time when the rib was the only thing left on the plate, we were craving for some sweets. Their list of desserts was pretty regular and predictable: tiramisu, panna cotta, melted chocolate cake, etc. As we were on the hunt for the best tiramisu in town, we immediately asked for the tiramisu.

The tiramisu (50K) came with an unusual platter (as seen on the picture). They gave a separate coffee sauce for it, which we thought was nice as it added extra moisture to the ladyfingers. The mascarpone was generous and delicious too. The only thing lacking was some kick from rum, but maybe it’s just us.


Overall we loved this place; we stayed for almost four hours that night. Yes, the price might be on the high scale, but for a nice, warm quality time, sometimes you just feel that it’s worth it.

Food: Good
Ambience: Good
Value: Good

Jl. KH Wahid Hasyim No. 70
Menteng, Jakarta 10340

Tel: +62 21 310 5777
Twitter: @Ocha_and_Bella

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pesto Autentico

MD and I, along with a friend of ours, went to Pesto Autentico, a ristorante located at the Thamrin Nine, a rather new establishment in the bustling Central Jakarta. The name of the restaurant first came to my attention around a month ago, and as a fan of that certain Italian sauce made from basil that shares the same name, I felt a certain calling to come here.

We arrived here around 2pm,kind of past lunch time, and maybe that is why the restaurant was not so crowded. The place definitely had an industrial theme to it, which worked well for me. The lighting was dim at the right level, lounge/jazz music in the background was a pleasant touch. A pity the view from the window-side tables was not so great.

The Look

Appetizers were not in our interest that day; we went straight to the mains: ravioli with ricotta and spinach (55k), roast beef (99k), and fettuccine pescatora (75k). Where's the pesto, you said ? That's exactly what I asked to the waiter, who then pointed me to the only dish in the menu with pesto while saying "it was really just the name of the restaurant". It was not even in the recommended items. Was I disappointed? Yeah, pretty much.

My ravioli came in modest portion, 6 pieces of bite-size (admittedly MY bite-size is larger than most) ravioli. These morsels tasted nice, the best entree we had that day, but I definitely had better ricotta spinach ravioli before. The roast beef, which was the only item from the "recommendations" blackboard that we ordered, came out too ordinary. They served it with some baby potatoes and salad in a fried-wonton-skin-bowl (we thought the salad didn't look appetizing so we passed it). The fettuccine pescatora (description: a combination of handmade fettuccine with prawns, squid, and white wine cream sauce) was a tad too creamy.

Roast Beef

Fettuccine Pescatora

Our drinks were refreshing but nothing too special: fragolino (a combination of strawberry, orange, yoghurt; 40k); tropicana (a concoction of banana, lychee, strawberry, honey, yoghurt; 40k); and pesto signature iced tea (with strawberry, peach, selasih, lychee jelly, and mint leaves; 35k).


The only dish that lived up to its name and lifted us up that day, was the tiramisu (29k) we ordered for dessert. This guilty indulgence came chilled in a very cute canister. The ladyfinger biscuits (yes, not sponge cake) blended very well with the soft, creamy mascarpone and the not-so-subtle rum, sweetness of which was balanced by the bitter cocoa. The coffee beans gave some nice but unnecessary crunch.


Overall Pesto was not what I expected. The place was decent but wasn't enough to make up for the food, especially with that price. If we ever wanted to come here again, it would be just for the killer tiramisu.

Food: Average
Ambience: Good
Value: Average

Thamrin Nine, UG Floor
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 10
Jakarta, Indonesia
Tel: +62 21 29937230
Twitter: @PESTOautentico