Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Bene Ristorante, Living World Mall - Tangerang

All you have to do is to look around the corner.
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Pesto con gamberoni pasta

And then you'll find it. The small, unassuming yet welcoming restaurant called Bene Ristorante.

If you're familiar with Living World Mall, you must know that there's a long corridor on ground level nestling copious number of restaurants. Go straight to the very end. I doubt you'll regret it.

bene-ristorante

Picking Italian dishes as their specialty, it is also reflected on the decoration. The open seating itself isn't that spacious, but quite cozy and definitely colourful. Couches or chairs? You choose.

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Interior

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The open kitchen is an attraction, although I didn't see much of pizza base flipping action that day.

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1 meter pizza sign

Although we (I took the brother as the lunch date of the day) were curious about their pizza, especially since we saw the 1 meter pizza which is perfect for groups, we started off zingy and refreshingly with their fizzy drinks. The blue orange soda and spring apple soda weren't just easy on the eyes but also on the throats.

bene-drinks
L - R: blue orange soda (IDR 36,000 - $3.6), spring apple soda (IDR 36,000 - $3.6)

Our antipasti was a bowl of neatly arranged fried mushrooms topped with sexy mozzarella cheese, funghi fritti. The juicy morsels had crunchy batter and stretchy cheese atop, served with tangy marinara sauce. The portion was perfect, I say. The mushrooms weren't too big to make you full already before your main comes but not too small either.

bene-funghi
Funghi fritti - IDR 39,000 ($3.9)

And then the prettiest highlight of the meal came. Pesto con gamberoni pasta is one of their recommended menus, starring generous number of juicy king prawns and flavorsome homemade pesto paste. The fetuccine itself was cooked perfectly, and each strand was coated with the slightly oily (in a good way), addictive, and nutty pesto. Sprinkles of powdered parmesan cheese and chilli flakes made the dish even more thrilling.

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Pesto con gamberoni pasta - IDR 56,000 ($5.6)

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We were slightly dumbstrucked when Americano classico pizza was plated in front of us. It was way too huge for the two of us, especially after two dishes before. It is actually portioned nicely to feed 1-3 people.

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Americano classico pizza (SF) - IDR 79,000 ($7.9)

They make their own pizza base from whole wheat flour, which was thin enough for me without having biscuit-like texture. The toppings (tomato sauce, ground beef, sliced pickle, onion, mushroom, melted mozzarella, mayonnaise and chopped beef bacon) tasted similar like cheeseburger. It did feel like eating thin, sliced cheeseburger. Apart from the fact that I needed tabasco and chilli flakes to lift the game a bit, it was enjoyable.

bene-americano-pizza-slice

As full as we were, there was always a backup stomach for dessert, right? So we soldiered on and finished the warm brownies al ciocccolato bianco (white chocolate brownie mixed with nuts) with a really nice pair of vanilla ice cream. If I can make a suggestion, the white sugar on top of it is probably not needed.

bene-brownies
Brownies al cioccolato bianco - IDR 37,000 ($3.7)


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Rating: 3.5/5 (Really worth the try)
Impeccable service, reasonable price, good pasta and other Italian dishes, nice and quite comfy ambiance.



Disclaimer: Irene's Getting Fat! and +1 dined as guests of Bene Ristorante. The opinions remain personal and based on individual taste.







Address:

BENE RISTORANTE

Mall Living World
Alam Sutra unit G-71 
Jl. Alam Sutra Bulevar Kav. 21, Tangerang

Phone: (021) 29239570

Web: Bene Ristorante
Facebook: Bene Ristorante
Twitter: @BeneRistorante


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Monday, 14 April 2014

Tsurukamedou, Taman Ratu - Jakarta

Best ramen in town, they say.
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Bowls of steaming ramen at Tsurukamedou

Just because Jakarta is hot and humid, it doesn't mean that the word 'ramen' doesn't send a delicious tingle through my spine everytime I hear it.

Tsurukamedou is one that has been talked about quite a lot, and since I heard and saw numerous good and such positive reviews about it, especially with the tag line of 'the best ramen in town', it went straight to my to-go list. Now that I'm around, I couldn't postpone my visit any longer.

The name itself means 'the hall of crane (tsuru) and tortoise (kame)', paying tribute to the two respected animals in Japan and their good spirit regarding to ancestors. The minimalist place is slightly smaller that I thought it would be, but it has welcoming and comforting vibe; it doesn't intimidate and it takes no effort to feel at ease here.

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Setting and interior

The wooden tables and chairs are arranged neatly, producing adequate space to breathe. Interesting view is provided by the open kitchen on the further side of the place, where the chefs flick their wands to create a satisfying bowl of hearty ramen.

tsurukamedou-patrons

Talking about the chef, they have a Japanese chef running the kitchen, guaranteeing an authentic Japanese, or Hakata-style to be exact, ramen every single time.

The menu is simple and straight forward. Really, don't expect fusion ramen or ramen with a touch of Indonesian here. You come here for a side dish and a great bowl of ramen, and that's the end of it. The side dishes and the fried rice aren't to replace your ramen, they're just there to make your day fuller. I am not complaining. One spectacular specialty dish is better for me than many mediocre options to choose from.

Lunch that day was started by the nicely grilled buta (pork) gyoza that had crispy bottom and juicy, flavorsome minced pork and some vegetables inside. The gyoza comes in three different types of meat: buta (pork), tori (chicken), and ebi (prawn).

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Grilled buta (pork) gyoza - IDR 32,000 ($3.2)

But really, we were here to sip some thick broth and bouncy strands of ramen noodles, right?

I ordered my anthem dish everytime I go to a new ramen joint: tonkotsu ramen. In a nutshell, yes, it was quite amazing.

tsurukamedou-tonkotsu-ramen
Tonkotsu ramen - IDR 45,000 ($4.5)

Let me break it down.

The broth was superb. It was thick enough to make strong and lasting impression in your mouth, but not too strong to make your tongue all oily and numb to feel anything else. I personally think that the broth here is less heavy and oily than the others, but still so very delicious. The straight noodles, typical noodles for Hakata-style ramen, were cooked perfectly to retain that bouncy feel but not hard to bite. The egg (tamago) was simply to die for. Seasoned very well with oozy and creamy center; I have nothing to regret in life.

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The noodles and the egg

Of course, I saved the pork belly (chasu) for the last. I let it soak more of the intense soup and when I finally took it gently with my chopsticks, it yielded its fatty and tender goodness easily without any resistance. It was thick and full or flavour on its own, what's not to love?

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Obligatory pork belly shot

The other bowls of ramen ordered that day were based from lovely juices of chicken. Tori ramen had the same awesome noodles and egg, but the broth was much lighter and somehow cleaner. Still very mouthwatering, nonetheless. The slices of supple and juicy chicken stole the highlight of the whole bowl.

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Tori ramen - IDR 45,000 ($4.5)

Tori shishen ramen was pretty much the same with the immediate previous, only with some spicy touches in the soup. It wasn't too spicy but my tongue still protested about the heat on my first sip. Everything else was good and well, actually more than good and well, in that bowl.

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Tori shishen ramen - IDR 45,000 ($4.5)

You may notice the absence of nori sheet and mushroom in that tori shishen ramen. Apparently that is how they serve spicy ramen in Japan, and Tsurukamedou is all about authentic ways and flavours. They don't even provide chopped chilli and garlic on the table (you can ask if you need it) like the other joints do. They don't always depend on the market demand of Jakarta, they make their own market, with high quality ingredients and great passion in their food as the foundation.

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Service was also friendly and quick. There is always room for improvement, but I believe they're already on the right track.

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Complimentary jelly shots

So. It's your call to agree whether or not this is the best ramen in Jakarta. To me, it is a very strong contender to its rival, indeed.

(P.S. I know it's been a while since my last post, I'm sorry! Geez it's been depressing and busy months for me. I made a few posts during the weekend i.e. the only time I have some space on my plate and I'll try my best to post regularly after I've done with prac and whatnots. Meanwhile, I post more often on Instagram so do check them out!)

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Rating: 4/5 (Recommended)
Superb bowls of ramen, good service, really nice and comforting ambiance, price is relatively high but still within the standard.







Address:

TSURUKAMEDOU

Jl. Ratu Kemuning Raya Blok A2 No. 8A
Taman Ratu Greenville
Duri Kepa, Kebon Jeruk
Jakarta Barat

Phone: (021) 56940711

Facebook: Tsurukamedou Jakarta
Twitter: @TsurukamedouJak


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Monday, 3 February 2014

Warung Bu Kris, Fatmawati - South Jakarta

Our love to sambal is undeniable.
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Ayam goreng penyet (smashed and fried chicken with crushed chilli paste)

I don't even think you can talk to an Indonesian about food without mentioning, at least once, sambal. The chilli paste, which is usually made with fresh crushed chillies, cooked or uncooked, and mixed with various fragrant and rich ingredients is almost like kimchi for Korean. Eating without it will not be as exciting. Combined with penyet-style proteins (smashed and then fried), we are talking about great eating experience here.

Warung Bu Kris (literally transated to Mrs. Kris's Stall) is said to be the pioneer of this kind of menu in Surabaya, but now they have branched out to the big capital city. It is one restaurant spoken highly by many, and as an avid fan of sambal and ayam goreng (Indonesian-style fried chicken), I braced myself for the traffic jam and made my way there.

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Interior

It is not literally a stall. It's quite a spacious restaurant with two-storey dining area. I was expecting it to be crowded in lunch time but it wasn't hard at all to find a table for two. The setting is simple but quite homey, with red and yellow cushioned chairs and wood-patterned tables.

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The menu is quite extensive although every line emphasizes their specialty: smashed-and-fried proteins (chicken, beef, duck, ribs, seafood, etc) served with their sambal whose spicy level can be adjusted.

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Preparing an umbrella before it rains, I picked es cao (iced grass jelly drink) to be the day's fire extinguisher, while the father opted for the really nice es sari dele (soy bean milk). Both were great and refreshing.

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Fore: es cao (IDR 6,500 - $0.6); back: es sari dele (IDR 7,000 - $0.7)

I was starving when my ayam goreng penyet (Indonesian-style fried chicken served with spicy crushed chilli paste) arrived. The chicken was adequately portioned, it neither too big or too small. I had chosen 'spicy' level for my sambal, and it was rather fiery already. Or maybe my chilli tolerance has dropped down.

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Ayam goreng penyet (Indonesian-style fried chicken served with spicy crushed chilli paste) - IDR 16,000 ($1.5)

The chicken and sambal were perfect together, especially with collaboration with warm rice. The bird was tender yet retaining some bouncy bites, it was also quite moist and nicely seasoned. Overall, it was very praise-worthy, but it fell short from my expectation. With so many good words about it, I was expecting 'amazing' or 'breathtakingly delicious'.

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Moist and tender chicken

Our bowl of sayur asem and two big pieces of fried tofu and tempeh deserved an applause as well. Although the soup was slightly too sweet, it was light and helped toning down the heat well.

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Sayur asem (sour vegetables soup) - IDR 6,500 ($0.6)

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Fried tofu and tempeh - ea IDR 3,000 ($0.3)

The father's ayam bumbu rujak (fried chicken with rujak-based chilli sauce) wasn't the easiest food item to be taken photo of, but it was one rich and exquisite dish with finger-licking good sauce. It didn't come with the sambal but the flavorsome sour and spicy chilli sauce made up for it.

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Ayam bumbu rujak (fried chicken with rujak-based chilli sauce) - IDR 16,000 ($1.5)

To sum up, it was really a very pleasant, typical Indonesian eating experience. Great fried chicken, fierce sambal with warm rice, fused with frequent sips of the soup and some bites of the fried tofu and tempeh, all eaten by hands instead of cutlery; this is exactly why I had missed Indonesian food so much.

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BTW.

I am sorry that it took me this long to post the first post in 2014! There were distractions and a few big hiccups in life, and to be honest I was losing my blogging and even eating mojo a bit.Or maybe I should say I am. Hopefully both, especially my appetite, come back soon and I can post as regular as usual.

And I hope 2014 has been treating you well so far!

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Rating: 3.5/5 (Really worth the try)
Really nice sambal and fried chicken, service is quick and welcoming, price is reasonable, ambiance is clean, nice, and homey.







Address:

WARUNG BU KRIS

Jl. RS Fatmawati Raya 37 D
Cipete, South Jakarta 12420

Phone: (021) 7590 0802

Opening hours: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.


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