Petromak: Blast from the Past

A new resto boasts retro feel and hipster appeal | The new Petromak cafe shines a light on Indonesian comfort food and unique takes on classic dishes

Petromak, a new restaurant at La Codefin, features a retro Indonesian concept that has created a buzz among Kemang hipsters since it opened in May. Owned by a group of Indonesian actors and actresses — Baim Wong, Lukman Sardi, Ririn Dwi Ariyanti and Ririn Ekawati— the restaurant is named after petromak lights, the traditional Indonesian oil lamps that were used in villages before the arrival of electricity service and are still commonly used today by street vendors and fishermen.

The semi-outdoor restaurant has a modern interior with a traditional feel. There are mini-petromak lights on the ceiling and tables, along with gerobak (food wagons) that offer ice cream and other deserts.

The Petromak menu offers a varied selection of main dishes — from burgers and steaks such as Johnny Wong Steak, blue cheese sirloin steak and honey dijon salmon steak, as well as an Italian pasta section featuring fettuccine alfredo and spaghetti with mushroom or meat sauce. In the Indonesian corner, you’ll find Petromak fried rice, buntut bakar, gado-gado and traditional rice wrapped in banana leaves, such as nasi pedas, nasi ulam, and nasi liwet bakar.

The main specialty dish at the restaurant is the Johnny Wong Steak, a sirloin steak with mushroom sauce. (Priced at Rp 99,000, it is the most expensive entrée in the menu.) The steak is served with rice and sweet soy sauce on the side.

“My tongue is very Indonesian, so normally, I’m not too crazy about steak. However, I have to say the steak at Petromak unlike any other,” said Irma, a customer who is a Kemang regular.

The fried rice is not like the ordinary fried rice you’ll find elsewhere either. At Petromak, the fried rice has a slightly yellow color, similar to nasi kuning (a traditional yellow rice dish), and is served with fried chicken, meatballs, mushrooms, shrimp and basil leaves.

“The fried rice is tasty and authentic, kind of reminds me of Tom Yum (spicy Thai soup) in a way, because of the shrimp and mushroom,” said Dicky, a customer from Singapore.

Petromak serves a few signature cocktails, such as Green Petromak, Kemang Sunset and Sweet Apricot as well as mocktails like Dewa Monkey, Petromak Plus and Petromak Special. These can be enjoyed with finger foods like fried tofu, nachos, chicken wings and more.

Petromak offers a relaxed setting where you can enjoy a varied selection of both Indonesian and Western foods at pocket-friendly prices.

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Petromak: Blast from the Past

Pictures by Dissy for Kemang Buzz

Lio Collection Comes to Kemang

Bali-based furniture maker brings classic and contemporary designs to the capital | Featuring Indonesian-made wood, rattan and bamboo furniture that has won the company international praise and recognition, the Bali-based Lio Collection will soon open its first Jakarta store in Kemang

Lio Collection is especially popular among furniture enthusiasts in Scandinavia, where it is recognized as the rattan and bamboo king. Known for producing top-quality furniture that is durable, waterproof and environmentally friendly, the company is looking to expand its domain within Indonesia and to earn the same credit in the Asian furniture market.

“Everything is made in Indonesia. Our quality is very high; we are not in the cheap business,” said Lio Collection President Director Michel Liokouras. “One of the keys to our success is to maintain quality control in our factories, and we are really serious about that part.”

Designed and produced in Lio’s factory in Java, the furniture collection is complemented by classic and contemporary designs for both indoor and outdoor furniture, top quality handicrafts and house wares, including intricate glass art, carpets and stone carvings, along with a wide selection of original paintings created by local and expatriate residents of Bali.

Lio’s father, Greek entrepreneur Christos Vassilios Liokouras, moved the company headquarters to Bali around five years ago after more than 35 years in the furniture business in Denmark, where he founded Lio Collection. “It was the best move for my father to move the company to Bali. The opportunities here are endless,” said Michel.

Lio Collection has 13 showrooms in various Bali locations, including Kerobokan, Seminyak, Oberoi, Jimbaran, Tuban, ubud and Ngurah Rai. The company has family-owned and franchised enterprises in Greece, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, Mauritius and the US.

There are more than 6,000 products in the Lio Collection catalog, according to Michel. “It’s thicker than a Bible,” he said. “Each year we export thousands of containers from Indonesia to hotels, restaurants, businesses and to our shops abroad.”

Lio Collection offers a complete customized service to clients looking to create a concept and character for their businesses— realizing design ideas for furniture, as well as interior design concepts for corporate identity. Some of their well-known clients include The Hyatt, Marriott and many other boutique hotels.

“We partner up with hotels, restaurant, businesses, or private residence, and work together with their designers to build one-of-a-kind products for their venues,” Michel said. “We can approach all kinds of people, for any model and design.”

Welcome to Kemang
Lio Collection expects to make its first appearance in Jakarta before the end of the year. “The opportunity is here. We have the network to develop the market,” said Bams Samsons, co-owner of the new Lio Collection store in Kemang (and a musician with the band Samsons). “I love the designs, and this is the first time for me to be in the furniture business. I’m very excited.”

Bams and his partner Lola began considering investing in the furniture business after Lola stumbled upon a Lio Collection showroom while shopping for furniture in Bali.

“I recently built a house in Bali, and one day I was furniture shopping in the Kerobokan area when I spotted a very unique table. The next thing I knew, all the furniture in my new home was from Lio,” said Lola. “I love all Lio models and styles. Everyone who comes to my house always compliments my furniture.”

At Lio you can mix and match furniture pieces or order anything custom-made to fit your specifications. “We can provide everything from the dining table to the spoon,” said Bams.

The new Lio Collection showroom on Jl Kemang Timur is currently under construction and has already begun shipping many containers of furniture to Jakarta.

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Lio Collection Comes to Kemang

Pictures by Dissy for Kemang Buzz

Lio Gallery, Bar & Resto
Jl. Kemang Timur No. 50, Tel: 021 7179 4409
info@liojakarta.com, http://www.liocollection.com

Why DVD Pirates in Kemang are Joyful

The continuing boycott of the Indonesian film market by Hollywood studios has caused no end of grief and disappointment among local movie buffs and cinemas houses. But in one corner of Kemang in a bevy of shops on Jl. Kemang Raya, those selling pirated DVDs of recent Hollywood releases are enjoying a brisk increase in business.

For many Indonesian moviegoers, the past couple of months have been like a never-ending scene from a very bad film.

Back in February, no one would ever have imagined that the standoff between the Indonesian tax authorities and the Motion Picture Association of America over the imposition of a new tax system for imported films would last this long.

As a result of this fiasco, there have been a number of clear losers: Indonesian movie lovers who have been deprived of access to imported films on the big screen; the local cinema industry which has seen a 60 percent drop in income from such screenings; and, of course, foreign studios who have suffered from the negative impact of a 50 percent jump in demand for pirated DVDs since they began their boycott of the Indonesian market.

In the last five months, Indonesia moviegoers have missed the big screen experience of blockbuster Hollywood releases such as Black Swan, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Kung-Fu Panda 2, Fast Five, The Hangover Part 2, X-Man First Class, and much more.

But that hasn’t stopped movie lovers here from enjoying these films in another setting – on pirated DVDs in the comfort of their living rooms.

“Usually, I go to the cinema with my girlfriend every Saturday,” says Martin, a banker who is an avid filmgoer. “Now we stay in my apartment for movies. I just bought new speakers for my entertainment system. I guess I have to stick to pirated DVDs.”

As elsewhere in Indonesia, residents of Kemang are resorting to pirated DVDs to satisfy their need for a new film fix, and pirated DVD vendors here, especially those located within a parade of shops on Jl. Kemang Raya, are enjoying a sharp increase in business, particularly since there are now few goods films available in the cinemas.

Julia (not her real name) works at one of the pirated DVD vendors in Kemang and says demand for new Hollywood releases has gone up since February. “Most of the new movies are sold out, even if they’re not good quality,” she says. “Before, people were somewhat picky in choosing movies, but now they just buy anything that is available.”

Other pirated DVD vendors around Kemang have also reported seeing a boost in sales. They are capitalizing on this opportunity by selling the movies for only Rp 7,000, or less than a dollar, each.

Missing the Silver Screen

Since the boycott, work has been busier than ever. Previously, Julia says she was able to get four days off a month, but now she can only take two days. “Every morning I have to put hundreds of DVDs, along with the cover, in the plastic slip,” she says. “On our busiest days, we can sell more than 1,000 DVDs.”

So far, the authorities have not made any major efforts to halt the distribution of pirated movies. Since the beginning of this year, the Kemang area has not been raided by the police, says Julia.

Moviegoers, meanwhile, say they have no choice but to resort to pirated DVDs. Andrea, an international school student who lives in the Kemang area and usually goes to the cinema two or three times a week, admits that since the boycott she has started buying more pirated movies than she had in the past. “I usually bought pirated DVDs only for movies that I don’t want to watch in the cinema,” she says. “However, every time there are blockbuster movies and new releases that I’m interested, I’m willing to pay five times more for the comfort and thrill of watching it on the big screen.”

Pirated DVDs may be a quick solution to the boycott problem, but they are not without their drawbacks, such as poor quality pictures for movies with great visual animation such as Cars 2 or Rio, or the irritation of having a disk skip in the middle of an action combat scene in a movie such as Thor.

Rina is a secretary and movie lover who works in the Kemang area. Before the boycott, she often went to the cinema with her co-workers after office hours. Now she spends most of her time at cafés or bars. “I really miss watching movies in the cinemas,” she says. “Sometimes I feel it’s a waste to watch good movies on a low quality DVD. I really wish that the boycott would end before they release Harry Potter, because I don’t want to watch the pirated version.”

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Why DVD Pirates in Kemang are Joyful

Pictures by Dissy for Kemang Buzz

The Food of Kings At Royal Persian

We are all familiar with kebabs, the skewered grilled meats served at many food courts, restaurants, and street stands. While most of us might believe the kebab is a Middle Eastern food, it actually originated in Persia (now Iran).

So what distinguishes Persian cuisine from other Middle Eastern dishes? The simple answer lies in the seasonings and spices. Persian food consists of more saffron-based dishes, and fruits are used extensively both on their own or as seasoning. Middle Eastern food is more often flavored with mint, coriander, parsley and Zatar (a wild thyme herb blend). Middle Eastern food also uses more olive oils, while Persian cuisine uses butter.

“There are some spices that we can’t get in Jakarta. To get the authentic Persian flavors, we ship them exclusively from Iran,” says Alex, the Iranian co-owner of Royal Persian. Ingredients such as baghali (broad beans), zaferan (saffron), and zereshk (dried berry-type fruit) are expensive and not available in the city.

“You have to understand that Persian and Middle Eastern are entirely different cultures,” he adds.

Alex has been living in Jakarta for more than five years. In 2010, he and his partner Hooman, also from Iran, decided to open Royal Persian in Kemang. “I wanted to introduce Persian food to the friendly Indonesian people who are always eager and curious to try new food,” Hooman explains.

“I believe that we are the only restaurant that serves Persian food in the city,” Alex adds.

Located on Jl. Kemang Raya, the spacious restaurant has an outdoor terrace and can easily accommodate 100 guests. Adorned with beautiful Persian rugs and traditional art works, the interior is cozy and dimly lit, with Persian music to set the mood.

Chef Esmai and Assistant-Chef Shahram, both from Iran, ensure guests will have an authentic Persian culinary experience. The menu naturally features various kebab dishes, served in generous portions and priced very reasonably, starting from Rp 50,000. Try the popular koobideh kebab which is made from ground lamb mixed with parsley, chopped onion, turmeric and seasoning, served with roasted tomato. Or the bakhtiari kebab, a combination of lamb, beef tenderloin and chicken breast. There are also the barg kebab, chenjeh kebab, and soltani kebab, as well as tasty chicken or fish kebabs.

If you prefer a non-kebab dish, there is the shishlik, one of the most lavish dishes in Iranian cuisine, which is lamb chops cut from the rack, marinated in a saffron-scented mixture of yogurt, garlic, and lemon juice. Along with the entrees, you can order naan breads or various types of rice, including baghali rice, barberry rice and biryani rice.

To finish off your meal, try the sholezard, a very sweet and delicious Iranian dessert made of saffron, sugar and rice.

Every guest is offered a complimentary traditional drink, khak shir (earth milk), a delicious and refreshing drink, served cold and topped with brown flower seeds. If you want to try something different, doogh is another traditional drink, a combination of yogurt, carbonated water, cucumber, and dried mint. For tea drinkers, try the Persian tea, brewed the Persian way and ideal for enjoying with shisha, which is offered for guests to enjoy in both the indoor and outdoor dining areas.

Royal Persian also serves a wide selection of Indian and Indonesian food.

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

The Food of Kings At Royal Persian

Pictures by Dissy for Kemang Buzz

Royal Persian

Jl. Kemang Raya No. 27,
Tel: 021 719 4242, 021 719 4343
 
Opening Hours:
Monday – Sunday:
10.00 am – 02.00 am
 

Focus Point: Oktagon

Photography is an expensive hobby and profession, so when you’re purchasing a camera or other necessary supplies, you want a store that provides quality products, knowledgeable guidance and reliable service. Oktagon in Kemang offers all of the above for amateur and professional photographers alike.

Oktagon first opened for business in 2002 at Gunung Sahari in Central Jakarta. Owner Wiryadi Lorens says he wanted to contribute to the development of photography in Indonesia. A young and creative entrepreneur, he saw an opportunity to offer camera retail sales, service repairs, rentals, gallery and photography school, all under one roof. In 2007, to meet the rapid development of the photography industry, Oktagon opened its second store in Kemang.

Oktagon client Andreas bought his Canon 50D at the store in Kemang three years ago, and has been a regular ever since. “I’m comfortable with the professionalism of the staff. They always have good advice when I purchase lenses or other products, and more importantly I can return for repairs if there are ever any problems,” he says.

Oktagon sets reasonable prices, which other stores often use as a reference. “They call frequently; I already recognize their voices,” says Zakaria, a camera expert at Oktagon who learned the trade from Oktagon’s training program when he began working at the store three years ago. As a new employee he was required to attend classes at Neumatt, Oktagon’s photography school. “Eventually I bought my own Canon 450D,” he says.

Photography is an expensive hobby and profession; the price range for an SLR (single-lens reflex) camera runs anywhere from Rp 5 to 80 million rupiah, and as much as Rp 300 million rupiah for a commercial or billboard camera, not including accessories, lights and lenses. Oktagon offers a credit installment option for serious buyers or professionals.

For beginners, Zakaria recommends Oktagon’s newest product and current best seller, the Canon 1100D, priced at about Rp 5 million for a complete kit. For most customers, looking for the best price is a priority. But at the end of the day, according to Zakaria, it is worth paying the extra money for the product service guarantee just to be on the safe side.

Choosing between Canon and Nikon is every beginner’s biggest decision, he adds, noting that both brands are great cameras. Whichever one you choose, it’s best to stick with lenses and other accessories that are compatible. Oktagon’s advice: pick a brand used by most of your friends or photography community; this way you can trade and borrow lenses from each other.

With the growing interest in photography, the market for professional cameras is no longer just for those who work as photographers, but for anyone with an interest. Many photography-related activities are held almost every weekend in Jakarta. Websites such as http://www.fotografer.net and http://www.ayofoto.com bring together amateur and professional photographers for exhibits, workshops and other events. Oktagon, too, often sponsors events and gatherings and provides free rentals for lighting and other accessories.

An industry that used to be dominated by men now attracts more and more women, Zakaria notes. When he first started working at Oktagon, only two out of 10 customers were women; today the number of female clients has doubled. “Just the other day, a housewife bought a Canon 5D to take pictures of her children and for travelling. It’s an expensive camera for a beginner and for that purpose alone. But that’s what she wanted, and she was excited to start.”

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Focus Point: Oktagon

Pictures by Dissy for Kemang Buzz

Oktagon
Kemang Icon
Jl. Kemang Raya No. 1,
Tel: 021 719 2757
oktagon.co.id

Store Hours
Monday – Friday: 09:00 am – 20:30 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 10:30 am – 17:30 pm
CLOSED ON NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Go Dutch at Dijan’s

f you’re looking for a Sunday brunch unlike the usual Jakarta hotel buffet fare, Dijan’s Pannekoeken and Poffertjes is the place to go. This intimate Dutch restaurant has a homey setting to enjoy pancakes and other Dutch specialties that call to mind grandma’s cooking.

I paid a visit to Dijan’s one recent rainy Sunday, after craving pancakes all morning. It’s early afternoon by the time I arrive after driving in the heavy rain. A security guard approaches with an umbrella to escort me from my car. I note it as a sign of good service, especially considering I’ve come unannounced and no one is aware that I’m here to do a restaurant review.

Entering Dijan’s I’m instantly reminded of my Dutch grandmother’s old house in South Jakarta — the stained glass with colorful tulips on the windows and front door, the wooden interiors, the porcelain and antique Dutch objects on display.
The restaurant has three sections — a lower floor, upper floor with a bar and an outside garden. Only a few tables are taken and I choose one on the upper floor, a non-smoking area. A waiter brings me a menu and I flip through the pages and go straight to the Pannekoeken section. I read through every single pancake description and they all sound tempting. There are pannekoeken served as a light meal, dessert, or as entrées. There are some with cheese, banana, strawberries, beef ragout, salad, ice cream, pretty much anything you can imagine. A shame I can’t try them all in one visit. I settle on the cheese and banana pannekoek.

I turn to the specials and review the Dutch brunch entrées. I had read before coming that the bitterballen (meatballs) were very good. I also consider the hutspot met gehakt (sweet potato and vegetables with meatballs). The vegetables are served with light cream, steamed French beans, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, sautéed onions, and two big meatballs seasoned with pepper and onions.

Another dish that catches my attention is the kakap ala meuniere, a snapper deep-fried in bread crumbs, which sounds like the Dutch version of fish and chips.

It is served with spinach and French beans cooked in butter and garlic, a baked tomato with sautéed onions and potato wedges. There are also some Indonesian dishes on the menu, and even spaghetti.

In the end it’s a toss-up between the Holland biefstuk (beef steak), which is tenderloin served with sautéed potatoes, vegetable and special jus (sauce), and the stamppot spinazie (spinach stew) with bratwurst or beef burger. I ask the waiter for a recommendation, and he says that since I am ordering two courses, it would be wise to go with the stamppot spinazie, which is a smaller portion and a favorite of many customers.

And then my food arrives, both courses at the same time. Both dishes look delicious and equally enticing, and I have to pause to consider which one to try first. I decide to start with Dijan’s specialty, the pannekoek with cheese and banana, which is best eaten warm.

As I take the first bite, I’m transported at once to my grandmother’s kitchen. I immediately know this is the real deal. The pannekoeken from my childhood days used to have just some sprinkles of sugar, but the melted cheese and banana are a delicious combination.

After savoring the nostalgic moment, I am ready for my stamppot spinazie with bratwurst. It’s a delightful presentation and very Dutch — bratwurst with sautéed onion on top, spinach mixed with potatoes and butter and a baked tomato. The bratwurst could have been better, but I eat everything on my plate.

I review the menu for the poffertjes featured for dessert. Poffertjes are basically warm coin-sized pancakes topped with all types of fruits and ice cream. I will skip them for now, but will be sure to have them next time.

I come away from my excellent Dutch brunch entirely satisfied. Dijan’s cuisine is authentic Dutch fare one can enjoy as a full meal, a light snack or a quick stop for dessert. I know I’ll be returning soon to try the other dishes.

Iwan Putuhena Reviews

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Go Dutch at Dijan’s

Pictures by Iwan Putuhena

Dijan’s Pannekoeken & Poffertjes

Jl. Kemang Selatan, No. 102A
Hours: Weekdays 10am – 11pm; Weekends 10am – midnight
Tel: 021 7179 3538