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Category: Jakarta

Keraton at the Plaza, Jakarta Jul 2015

Inspired by the Javanese word for “palace”, Keraton at The Plaza, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Jakarta is a distinct and intimate luxury hotel offering a unique, modern interpretation of the rich Indonesian culture.

Located at the Thamrin roundabout, the hotel can be considered to be at the epicentre of Jakarta city. Besides being connected to a huge and one of the most upscale shopping and entertainment complex, Plaza Indonesia, the hotel is also prominently situated in the business district. It is within walking distance to government offices, corporate headquarters, key cultural attractions, museums and vibrant nightlife.

With only 140 lavish and spacious guest rooms and suites located between the 8th to the 22nd floor, this address whispers exclusivity. As soon as you step into a room, you will be amazed at the space the room affords you. This is one of the biggest hotel rooms I have seen. In addition to the work desk, the bench in front of the bed, the couch, there is still plenty of space to walk about. You can put 4 more beds in the room. Yes, there is that much space.

The bathroom is equally spacious. There is an open closet, a bathtub, a huuuuuugge shower stall (with a bench inside) and a counter with 2 wash basins. I really like thaht there are 2 wash basins. You don’t have to fight with your travelling companion in the morning to use the basin at the same time. Also, the toilet is a separate stall with its own door. That is great if one person is showering and someone else needs to use the toilet. They have paid great attention to details—– the toilet seat is heated.

All guests here enjoy 24-hr butler service, which only heighten the sense of luxury and exclusivity.

Should you be bored, you can enjoy a workout in the 24-hr gym (accessible with your key card). Or you may enjoy a swim in the indoor swimming pool. Keraton at the Plaza has one of the best spas in Jakarta. It is extremely clean. There is a huge jacuzzi with views overlooking the city. The massage therapists are highly trained and give firm, detailed massages.

After your spa treatment, you may head down to the luxurious lounge for the utterly decadent Godiva chocolate afternoon tea. Besides hot and cold items, you can enjoy the yummy Godiva chocolate in various forms —– chocolate truffle, hot chocolate etc. They have a wide selection of premium tea and coffee to accompany this unique afternoon tea.

With all the luxury you can ask for and an unbeatable location, Keraton at the Plaza is definitely one of the top hotels in Jakarta.

Enmaru, Altitude, Jakarta, Jul 2015

At Enmaru, located at the top of The Plaza, you can enjoy Izakaya dining style while enjoying a bird’s eye view of Jakarta.

Originally a style of eating where one sits down for sake after a long day of work, Enmaru is enhancing the experience of devouring delicious pub food. Here, you get to enjoy in a modern, lively ambiance set in traditional, down-to-earth Japanese decor in the heart of the city.

Sashimi Moriawase IDR100,000
Chef’s choices of 3 kinds of sashimi

Ikasumi Roll IDR95,000
Squid ink rolled rice with cream cheese and deep fried chicken topping (8pcs)
Innovative, modern, eye-catching.

Foie Gras Chawanmushi IDR50,000
Steamed egg custard with foie gras
The usual Chawanmushi given a boost of luxe in the form of foie gras. It’s like Chawanmshi on steroids!!!

Kushiyaki 5 Kinds Moriawase IDR85,000
Chef’s choice of 5 kinds skewers (5 pcs)

Atsugiri Wagyu Tongue Steak IDR150,000
Grilled wagyu tongue on salt plate

Foie Gras and Yaki Onigiri Steak IDR160,000
Grilled onigiri topped with sautéed foie gras, served with teriyaki sauce
A complex harmony of flavours, colours, textures, carbohydrates, fats and protein. Deceptively simple, yet it works, works, works.

Buta Kakuni Wasabi Potato An IDR130,000

Braised pork belly with soy sauce and sugar, topped with wasabi mashed potato
Really like the sweet, very very tender pork. The best of the lot!

Maccha Fondant Cake and Vanilla Ice Cream IDR50,000
Maccha chocolate fondant cake served with vanilla ice cream
A favourite with the ladies. I guess that should be testament enough.


Salt Grill, Jakarta Jul 2015

Salt Grill by Luke Mangan is the one of the three restaurants of Altitude, a premier dining destination perched on top of Jakarta. Helmed by Executive Chef MJ Olguera, the restaurant is situated right at the centre of the Thamrin shopping district.

Sashimi of Kingfish, Ginger, Eshallot and Goat’s Feta IDR145,000

One of their signature dishes, the freshness and lightness of the sashimi and rucola, the sweetness and nuttiness of the eschallot, the creaminess of the feta, the saltiness of the salt sprinkled on all come to make an excellent blend of flavours. The dish is complex, tantalizing and teasing to the palette.

Sydney Crab Omelette, Enoki Mushroom, and Herb Salad, Miso Mustard Broth IDR140,000

This appetizer has an unmistakable Asian quality. The crab omelette is flavourless. Hence, it is highly recommended to consume the omelette together with the herb salad on top and the miso mustard broth. The herb salad, consisting basil, fried shallots, chili strips for colour and enoki mushroom, add welcomed crunch and textural complexity to otherwise soft, limp egg. They have also cleverly added mustard to the miso broth. That adds a certain depth or volume to the broth. When all the components are taken together, this appetizer works well.

Pan-fried Gnocchi, Corn, Asparagus, Zuchini, Parmesan, Thyme, Truffle and Verjuice dressing. (Vegetarian) IDR120,000 for entree or IDR180,000 for main course
Starchy and greasy, this is comfort food.

This place is often booked up for events, so call in advance.

Gaia, Altitude, Jakarta Jul 2015

Gaia is a hip restaurant. It sits tall in the office block The Plaza overlooking Monument Selamat Datang at the famous Thamrin roundabout in Jakarta. Gaia’s neighbours are five-star hotels and huge shopping malls.

Helmed by a new executive chef Orlando Nazario, it would do well to come back regularly to the restaurant for the menu changes regularly. Instead of following a fixed menu, Chef Nazario prefers working with produce available at the market to ensure the freshest cuisine and a changing roster of dishes to excite the palette of diners.

Panzanella Crab Meat Salad Granchio with marinated Tomato Lemon dressing IDR110,000
Traditional Italian bread salad topped with modern salad. Light, fruity, zesty.

Spaghetti with Sunset Clams and Sea Urchin IDR185,000
A wonderful blend of the taste of sea, the spiciness and heat of chilli, a slight creaminess and a certain umami quality. The spaghetti was the very definition of al dente. This calibre of cuisine excites me.

Grilled 200g Angus Beef Tenderloin Filet with Foie Gras, Crouton, Figs, Port Wine sauce IDR490,000
The very tender beef was plated on a crouton disc and topped with salted pan-seared foie gras. The very important figs decorate the side of the plate— their sweetness balance out the saltiness of the four gras; their fruitiness balance out the fat of the foie gras.

1956 Recipe Mascarpone Cheese Tiramisu Cake With Espresso Coffee, Biscuits and Cacao
Lots of mascarpone.

Fashionable and the place to be, this restaurant is often booked up by immediately recognisable international brands for private functions.


Alila, Jakarta Jul 2015

Alila is an excellent 4-star hotel located towards the north of Jakarta city, in the district of Gambir. The hotel is located not far from the Independence Monument.

Gambir is an administrative district. In other words, there are many government offices and ministries around the hotel.

The street, along which the hotel is located, is definitely not glamourous. There are small run-down shops and garages. There are a couple of mini-marts along the same street as the hotel as well as a couple of small restaurants. There are no shopping malls nor supermarkets in the immediate vicinity. The nearest supermarket is Carrefour. As the hotel is towards the north of the city centre, its location makes for a good base to explore Sunda Kelapa and Old Batavia (Kota Tua)—– these places are near, the taxi fare will be cheaper and you can probably avoid a good few traffic jams.

Regardless of the surroundings, the hotel offers functional accommodation and hidden charms. The rooms feature contemporary, minimalist décor. All the usual amenities are available and the hotel provides free wifi.

I would highly recommend getting an Executive room. Executive guests enjoy access to the Executive Lounge on the 7th floor where great value and enjoyment await guests.

Alila beats innumerable other hotels in Jakarta by offering an a la carte breakfast menu (in addition to buffet items) at the Executive Lounge. When I first learnt about the a la carte menu, I was like, “Wow! This is like Ritz Carlton.”

The a la carte menu is pretty extensive and offers items such as:

Alila Big Breakfast
Two eggs cooked any style served with mushroom, grilled tomato, chicken/ beef/ pork sausage, bacon and breakfast potatoes.

3 Egg Omelet or Egg white Omelet
Prepared with your preference of tomato, mushroom, ham, bacon, cheese, onion, bell peppers and chilli and sausage

Eggs Florentine
Two poached eggs with ham and spinach. Served on toasted English muffin and Hollandaise sauce

Steak N’ Egg
Sirloin steak topped with fried egg and breakfast potatoes

Scrambled Salmon
Soft scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. Served with grilled tomato and wheat toast.

Served with cinnamon poached pears

With caramelized pineapple and maple syrup

Morning Burrito
Chorizo, peppers, cheese and scrambled eggs in a flour tortilla roll with tomato salsa and baked beans.

Bubur Ayam
Indonesian chicken porridge with boiled egg, Chinese croissant, leeks and fried shallot. Served with sweet soya sauce.

Soto Daging
Clear beef soup with vermicelli noodles and vegetables. Served with lime, emping crackers and sambal.

Japanese Miso Soup
With tofu, seaweed and served with steamed rice, broiled salmon, nori, tamago omelette and tsukemono pickles

Nasi Kuning
Indonesian yellow rice served with braised beef, shredded egg, vegetables, coconut salad, homemade sambal and crackers.

Even the excellent Shangri-la Jakarta offers only bacon, eggs, sausages and the like for its a la carte menu. During my stay at Alila, I never once bothered to head down to lobby restaurant for breakfast. I always had my breakfast at the Executive Lounge. The a la carte items here are delicious! You can order as many items as you want, as many times as you want. They are simply and elegantly presented. Overall, this calibre of product is just excellent value and far exceeds other Jakarta hotels.

Come evenings, the Executive Lounge offers a pretty good cocktail hour. There are 2 hot items, burritos, canapés, dessert, wine and cocktails. Interestingly, they always try to feature a few different types of chilli sauce from different parts of Indonesia.

Should you feel peckish at any time during the day, you can always head to the 2 restaurants in the hotel: Buzz and Shanghai Storm. Buzz is the all-day dining restaurant of the hotel. Being the all-day restaurant, I did not really have high expectations for it; I thought it would simply be average and exist to support the hotel. However, the restaurant far exceeded my expectations. The cuisine here is excellent.

Braised Oxtail Terrine and Scallops
Madura – East Java
With cauliflower, edamame, shallots, chilli lime dressing and oxtail essence
The scallops were thick, white and fresh. The chilli lime dressing added zing to the dish and totally enlivened it.

Fresh Squid Ink Pasta
Kepulauan Seribu
With prawns, garlic, semi-dried tomato, sambal olek and coriander

Pan Fried White Snapper
Lampung – Sumatera
Served with vegatables, peanut pickle, spicy tomato vinaigrette

Shanghai Storm offers authentic Chinese cuisine served in a casual setting. The dishes are offered in Tapas portion and Main Course portion, which makes it convenient to try many dishes.

Other things I enjoyed about the Alila:

Every evening, they would put little tea lights on the floor by the walls in the lobby. The lobby is transformed and the ambience became so magical. Who would have thought that such an inexpensive thing (tea light) would create so much value?

In the bathrooms, they provide chemical-free soap handmade from virgin coconut oil, palm oil, vegetable glycerine, honey and essential oils.

They have a great gym— big and very complete

The spa treatment rooms are spacious and clean.

The staff speaks good English. There is no problem communicating at all.

Alila definitely surpasses bigger and more expensive international chain hotels.