Premier Lounge – Jakarta

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Premier Lounge

The Premier Lounge at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) seems to be the catch all lounge for many airlines.

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Everybody Welcome

Airlines from all 3 alliances, as Priority Pass, Diners Club, Lounge Club, and Lounge Key members can be admitted.

I had planned on spending a fair amount of time in the lounge to get a better sense of the lounge, but with the usual horrible traffic in Jakarta, and intermittent light sprinkling, it took nearly 2 ½ hours to get to the airport from the Grand Hyatt Jakarta.

By the time I got through immigration, I barely had enough time to get to the lounge and snap a few pictures before heading to the gate.

The lounge is on the dark and dingy side, and was fairly crowded.

Food offerings include soup, potatoes, chicken sausage, rice, and noodles were offered, but did not look too appealing.

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Juice Dispenser

There was a juice dispenser.

There were a couple of display cases of different types of desserts.

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Drinks

There was a refrigerator drinks as well.

The Premier Lounge is certainly not a “destination lounge”, but could be a decent place to kill some time before a flight. I did not even have a chance to see how the internet connection was.

Istiqlal Mosque – Jakarta

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Istiqlal Mosque

The Istiqlal Mosque is the largest in Southeast Asia, which is not too surprising considering Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. Istiqlal is located across the street from the Jakarta Cathedral and close to MONAS.

The mosque opened in 1978, and is open to the public for tours. On my tour, I was told that part of the reason why Istiqlal is located so close to the Jakarta Cathedral is that they wanted to demonstrate that Muslims could get along with other religions.

From the outside, I could never really get a good picture, but you can tell that it is an imposing structure.

The mosque is six stories high, and is separated into a men’s and women’s prayer section. Prayer can be performed both indoors and outdoors.

I do think it’s worth a visit when in Jakarta.

Francis Bakery – Jakarta

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Francis Bakery

During my brief trip to Jakarta, I was mostly disappointed at the places I ate at. The one shining star I came across was Francis Bakery. They are a Japanes-French based bakery using Asian ingredients.

Francis Bakery also does regular bakery goods such as bread and bagels in addition to their “specialty breads”.

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Kyoto Choco Mochi

The Kyoto Choco Mochi bread, has a nice crunchy crust, and a soft chewy exterior. The chocolate chips add a nice punch of sweetness. This bread reminds me of a sweet version of “Pao de Queijo”, or Brazilian cheese bread.

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Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese

The Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Bread may not be a thing of beauty, but the dark chocolate is offset by the zing of cream cheese. The amount of cream cheese is also very generous.

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Kohi Mocca

The Kohi Mocca Bread combines coffee and chocolate. The only problem with this bread is that both flavors were rather subdued. The walnuts added a little bit of bitterness and textural contrast. The bread was also a little dry. Definitely not the favorite.

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Choco Durian

The Choco Durian Bread has a strong, pungent scent and is dotted with chocolate chips. To me, the bread had a very strong durian flavor, but perhaps it stood out more since I am not a fan of durian. My wife said that she hardly tasted the durian, and it was on the “crunchier” side, meaning younger durian that doesn’t exude as much flavor as more mature durian.

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Choco Bun
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Choco Bun Bag

Surprisingly, the star of Francis Bakery isn’t found on any of the shelves. The Choco Bun are placed into little bags containing 5 pieces of bread that were located right on the front counter, and kind of off to the side. If you didn’t know, you would likely pass them up without blinking an eye, and that would be a shame. The bread is reminiscent of a fudgy brownie in bread form, but there is a molten center of chocolate that oozes all over the place when you bite into the center. At 30 cents a piece, or $1.50 for the bag of 5 this is a must buy. Hoard as many of these as you can, and stuff them in your suitcase to bring back home if only visiting Jakarta.

I would definitely try more of their vast selection of offerings when returning to Jakarta, but I would be sure to bring an extra suitcase for the Choco Bun.

 

Kafe Betawi – Jakarta

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Kafe Betawi

Kafe Betawi is a chain of restaurants throughout Indonesia. As the name would suggest, they specialize in Soto Betawi, which is a soup made with beef, milk or coconut milk, and vegetables.

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Soto Betawi

This version of soto betawi was made with coconut milk, potatoes, tomatoes, basil, and beef and beef offal. The soup was creamy and mild. One of my main complaints with this soup was that it was served lukewarm rather than hot.

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Sweet Barley Soup

The next dish was dessert like. It had a barley taste with sweetener, and pieces of bread. It reminded me of a sweeter version of the barley drink served at many Korean restaurants following your meal.

I didn’t have the opportunity to try much of the menu at Kafe Betawi, but what I did have was more than passable. I know many people will scoff at this restaurant, as soto betawi can often be found on the street, in one of the many carts that dot the city.

NamNam Noodle Bar – Jakarta

It was getting late at night, and I was tired and hungry. Of course that led to an unwise dining decision. Choosing a Vietnamese restaurant in Indonesia is akin to choosing an Indonesian restaurant in Paris. Sure, there might be a decent to good option, but chances are you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

NamNam Noodle Bar is a chain with locations in Manila, Singapore, and Jakarta.

I decided to go with the Spicy Hue Australian Beef Noodle Soup, which is their take on Bun bo Hue. Bun bo Hue normally contains rice noodles, beef, may contain pigs blood, and vegetables/herbs can include lime, cilantro, onions, green onions, bean sprouts, banana blossoms, mint, basil, and saw tooth among others.

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Spicy Hue Australian Beef Noodle Soup

When the dish arrived, it had a reddish hue with two globs of chili. There were a couple of meatballs, along with thickly sliced beef. The dish looked fairly appealing on first glance.

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Disappoint Ensues

Upon mixing up the soup is when disappointment really set in. Instead of rice noodles, what appeared was spaghetti noodles. On the positive side, there were also a couple of shrimp.

The soup itself was not spicy, but was also lacking and depth of beef flavor.

The amount of protein in the dish was actually pretty generous.

The soup was average at best, and is not something I would crave for on any return visit.

The restaurant is also slightly overpriced for what it is.