Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Sambal Tapas - Outdoor lounge

Hello fellas, this time I would like to share my experience at Sambal Tapas - Outdoor Lounge and Pool Bar - Sheraton Bandara Hotel, Jakarta.

In the recent holiday season (Eid Mubarak Holiday), My wife and I and our son visited the Sheraton Airport Hotel. This was not our first time there. We have been eating several times in the restaurant there, but this time we were curious to enjoy the outdoor lounge at Sambal Tapas.

There were two bars at the pool but only one bar was serving

We were so interested because the location was good and seemed to be a nice place to relax while enjoying the breeze from the lake and watching the sunset. YES!! Can you imagine that?!?!?! Up to this point...thumbs up!

We chose a seat overlooking the lake with views off than facing the pool. And it was indeed very spectacular. It was like we were not at the airport area at all.

The view from my seat

No sooner had we sat down, we called up the staff to order drinks and snacks. Sambal Tapas staff immediately came over us carrying a list of menus on Ipad. Pretty high tech, huh! He provided us with an explanation of the amount of servings of food/snack at this place. Since this was a Tapas (means bar), so the food/snack provided had smaller portions than those at the restaurant, but the drinks would be in bigger vessel than the restaurant, but of course the price would be different.

My wife ordered Green Apple Tea (my wife's favorite beverage at the Sheraton Airport Restaurant) and I ordered Platano (mixed juice of orange, banana, and syrup). For the snacks we ordered Croquetas (fried mashed potato balls mixed with Parmesan cheese and covered with bread crumbs)

Not too long, our orders arrived. And we could not wait to taste it. But apparently the disappointment began! My wife noticed that the drink tasted somehow different from the usual. There are some ingredients missing and the taste was not as good as before. I was trying to calm her by saying maybe they were running out of that particular ingredients on that day.

Green Apple Tea IDR 60,000

But it went on! I was also very surprised when I tried my Platano. I ordered this drink because there was banana in it and it is our son’s favorite. So I thought he would like it, but after one sip, he refused to have some more. I wondered why? Then I tried it myself and I realized why our son rejected it. It was quite sour, and the banana flavor was very thin.

Platano IDR 60,000

Even worse!! Croquetas that we ordered was very horrible! Bland and no cheese flavor at all!! This time we could not take it anymore. We again called the staff and filed a complaint. He said he would convey our complaint to the chef and let the chef talked to us.

Croquetas IDR 35,000/portion (4pc of potato balls)

Just for a moment and a very young chef came directly toward us. And guess WHAT!!! The first sentence that came out from his mouth was : "Yes, what is it?" My wife and I immediately looked at each other shocked to hear that. That kind of question in our opinion was very disrespectful. If we were his friend maybe it was okay. But we were his customers and were complaining about his food, I think he should have asked in a more appropriate question such as “How can I help you sir/madam?”

Come on!! This is Sheraton!!!!

We told him that the Croquetas was very bland and we couldn't really taste the cheese. But the chef said the Croquetas indeed taste like that, no salt is needed because the saltiness would emerged from the cheese.  And he insisted it.  My wife asked him “So, you are saying that it is because we are so used to salty food out there that we find your Croquetas bland?” And he responded “Yes maybe”.
Seeing that kind of response, we did not want to argue any longer and we said okay, if you said so then we requested for a bottle of chili sauce, otherwise we really really unable to swallow that plain croquetas.

Horrible! The relaxing superb atmosphere soon turned out to be really sucks! Drinks were not good, moreover the snack, and the CHEF! OMG, very disappointing! We were wondering was the chef at Sambal Tapas a trainee or real chef? Or a replacement chef while the actual chef was on leave due to Mubarak Holiday??

what a wonderful place to relax...but too bad....

I think Sheraton Bandara Hotel need to do much improvement on the Tapas. Too bad. Such a lovely place, and nice staff around the hotel, but the Tapas !!!!!???? drinks and food were so unexpected and the inappropriate behavior of its chef. 

Everything written here is based on my own personal experience and genuine opinion without any negative intention to discredit any parties. I have not been offered any incentives or payment to write this review.

Instagram : tac_travelandfood
TripAdvisor : AdeHilman

Friday, 24 July 2015

Kira-Kira Ginza - Authentic Japanese Food

My wife is a great fan of Japanese food especially Japanese home cook. Once in a while she will ask me to bring her to her favourite Japanese Izakaya the Kira-Kira Ginza at Blok M to enjoy authentic Japanese home cook. The authenticity of food served in Kira-Kira Ginza always bring back her nostalgic while she lived in Japan 13 years ago.

It's not any elegant classy Japanese restaurant that we usually see in the mall. Kira-Kira Ginza is an izakaya. Izakaya is a Japanese informal drink house that usually serves drink and some home cook dishes. Don't judge the book from it's cover, Kira-Kira Ginza serves one of the best authentic Japanese food in Jakarta and it is inexpensive!!!

Once you step into the izakaya, you will feel as if you are in Japan. The interior and decorations are all traditional Japanese style which is dominated by wood furnishings.


Kira-Kira Ginza provides private tatami room for 4 people, 6 and 10 people. We are usually sitting at the private room for 4 people if it is still available. It is more comfortable for my son to wander around and we won't  feel too guilty towards other customers if our son make too much noise lol.

My other half and our son

Aisle with private rooms at both the left and right side. 

 Free Manga (Japanese comics) but of course not to be brought home.

larger tatami room

What we ordered on that day were:

Konnyaku Piri Kara IDR 25,000. This is my wife all time favourite. She likes to sprinkle some tougarashi on the konnyaku.  

Wakame Salad (M) IDR 33,600, Fresh veggies, tasty dressings and generous portion

 Shougayaki Don IDR 62,000, it's a set menu of rice with pork, soup and other small Japanese dishes

 Close up look of the pork rice

Ume Chazuke IDR 45,000. Rice with plum pickles and soup poured over the rice. It has a little bit of sour taste of the plum and salty taste of the hot soup. Very authentic and tasty!

They actually offer two choices of Chazuke. Another one is Sake Chazuke, the rice with salmon flakes. The salmon fish were served fresh on the top of the rice bowl and we will be given a tiny teapot of soup (yes a teapot!!) to pour on the rice and cover the lid for a few minutes to let it cooked. Sorry, I couldn't show you the picture of Sake Chazuke, because we didn't order that on that day. But we will share with you the picture next time we visit Kira-Kira Ginza again. 

 I tried this out of curiousity, Bintang with lemon, unique and fresh! with mild alcohol level. IDR 31,000/bottle

A complimentary dessert coffee jelly

The staff were all very friendly and helpful. There was no difficulties to get them to assist you. And the most important was they did not discriminate their customers like some restaurants and hotels where the staff tend to treat expat customers better. I am Indonesian and they treated us just the same like the other expat customers.

 This tiny bell is used to get the staff's attention and available in all private rooms.

Kira-Kira Ginza is located at the opposite of Blok M Square Mall. Even though the sign board is a little bit small and somehow covered up by a tree, but it is not difficult to find them.

The full address is:
Kira-Kira Ginza
Jl. Melawai IX No.30
Ph (021) 7262611

 See you again!

Everything written here is based on my own personal experience and genuine opinion without any negative intention to discredit any parties. I have not been offered any incentives or payment to write this review.

Instagram : tac_travelandfood
TripAdvisor : AdeHilman

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Fatahillah Square - Kota Tua

This post is the continuation of my previous post. Last Sunday, after an unpleasant lunch, we took a stroll at Fatahillah Square, located in Jakarta Old City (Indonesian: Kota Tua). This spot is very popular among both local and international tourists and always crowded everyday, especially weekend and during school holidays.

I will share a brief history of Fatahillah Square. Fatahillah Square (Indonesian : Taman Fatahillah) is a public square, which was known as Stadhuisplein or the City Hall Square in the past. In the center of the square is a fountain which was used as the water supply during the colonial era back then. You can see it in the video at the bottom of the post.

A portuguese cannon (known as Si Jagur Cannon) with a hand ornament showing a fig gesture, which was believed by the locals to be able to induce fertility on woman.

Fatahillah Square was also used to be the arena of executions during the colonial era.

A man painted in black posing as a soldier sitting on nothing. I am not sure how he did it but it was pretty amazing. Yes he is a real human, not a statue.

There are several museums in the Fatahillah Square :

  1. The Jakarta History Museum (Museum Sejarah Jakarta) also known as Fatahillah Museum or Batavia Museum.
  2. Wayang Museum
  3. Fine Art  and Ceramic Museum

Unfortunately all the museums were closed on that day due to Lebaran Holiday, so I cannot share much photos here, but I will be visiting the museums again in the near future and share the experiences  here.

It was a crowded merry afternoon. All the young, old, couples, families, children were all mixed together happily enjoying the fun attractions performed by local artists around the square. Some were cos-playing characters from the famous animations such as Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Mickey Mouse and even princess Sofia. Too bad, we didn't spot Queen Elsa yet, lol. Some were demonstrating their levitating skills (of course it is just a trick), and some even dressed up as characters in Indonesia Horror films like Kuntilanak (the one holding a dead baby), Sundel Bolong (lady with long hair and bloody hole on her back) and Pocong (moslem style zombie).

Visitors enjoy taking picture with them. Will they still enjoy taking picture together when they meet a real one? lol

In the midst of this crowd, food vendors and merchants certainly do not want to miss the opportunity to offer their products. They were toys, mobile phone accessories, clothing, bags, souvenirs etc etc. Almost like a night market.

 Ladies waiting for their food to be served. The man in red is cooking their orders.

 Kerak Telor, Betawi signature food. It is like a pancake make of egg, rice, onions and baked on charcoal and garnished with fried coconut flakes. This is very delicious!!!! 

Rainbow Rainbow...what a candy to the eye

Oh, I almost forget to mention another interesting activity which is cycling. Many visitors like it. Old antique bicycles are available for rent. You can get around in Fatahillah Square with style because an eye-catchy classic hats are also available for you to put on. a perfect selfie is very possible.

Ondel-Ondel (Betawi style giant puppet)

You can take picture with any characters cos-playing around the square, but prepare a lot of small notes with you, unless you want to be a super generous tipper.

Here is a short video of our little adventure. I combined the video of Cafe Batavia from the previous post and Fatahillah Square. Musics are from our collections of Indonesia most favourite oldies. Hope you enjoy watching the video while listening to our popular oldies. 

It was a trully enjoyable experience!! see you again

Instagram: tac_travelandfood
TripAdvisor : AdeHilman

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Cafe Batavia - [Indo-Western food]

Cafe Batavia is a historical colonial style building located at Fatahillah Square, Kota Tua, Jakarta and was used as administration office by VOC after the construction was completed in 1850. Later in 1991 an Australian native purchased the building and turned it into a cafe and opened for public for the first time in 1993.

Our first visit here was around 2 years ago for breakfast on a beautiful Sunday. Unfortunately, it was ruined by the poor service, the waitresses were so slow and seems to be more attentive to expat customers than to the locals. Took quite sometimes for the food to be served and the taste was not pleasant at all. Last week, we decided to give it a try again after 2 years (it might sounds weird after our bad experience), but we do believe people will improve.

Guess what??

We were truly disappointed again!!! This time we came for lunch, it was pretty crowded now. First seeing the crowd, we were so excited, we thought the standard might have improved! but NO!

Again, the service was poor, waitresses were slow! They were not very attentive to their customers. We asked for an extra spoon and it never came that we had to asked for several times. My wife asked for desserts menu and it never came, too, that my wife had to walked to the waiter and asked for it. We even witnessed the waiter served the wrong food to the wrong table TWICE on the same day. What was going on with this cafe ???

Do you see frames hanging on the column? they are the desserts menu. The menu was printed at the back of the frame. It is indeed a very unique way, but what took the waiter or waitress so long to pass us one???

We noticed most of the guests ordered local food, so we tried some. The taste was bad, the fried rice was not warm. The nasi campur didn't taste authentic at all, not even close! The only food that was quite acceptable was the satay, at least it was well grilled, and the peanut sauce was quite okay.
If you have been reading my blog, you would have seen other fantastic Indonesian cuisine and tasty fried rice that we had at some other places. And the worst is, the price doesn't correspond to the taste, it is overpriced.

Ice Tea IDR 25K@

Fried Rice IDR 85K 

 Nasi Campur Meneer IDR 75K

IDR 50K, ice cream melted even before it was served on our table

The only thing that we can truly enjoy here is the ambiance of 19th century Batavia and the historical value that the fact this cafe is actually located at our historical point, Fatahillah square. If you are looking for a place to enjoy live music, smoke and drinks, maybe this is the right place. There are quite a selections of drinks and liquor available. But if you're looking for a good food, this is not the right place.

The Bar

The Fatahillah Square were a huge consolation to our disappointment. It was a fun afternoon stroll at the Fatahillah Square. I will blog about it on my next post. 

Everything written here is based on my own personal experience and genuine opinion without any negative intention to discredit any parties. I have not been offered any incentives or payment to write this review.

Instagram : tac_travelandfood
TripAdvisor : AdeHilman