Kikugawa is the first Japanese restaurant in Jakarta, opened in 1969 by Kikuchi Surutake, a Japanese soldier who got sent to Jakarta during the World War, fell in love with a Manado woman, and returned to Jakarta after the war was over. He also opened the first Indonesian restaurant in Japan called Bengawan Solo. I assume Mr. Kikuchi is fond of river since he named both of his restaurant with river – Bengawan Solo is a river in Solo, whereas ‘gawa’ from Kikugawa means river, and he added his own name, ‘Kiku’, in front of gawa.

Kikugawa is hidden in Cikini residential area, which is used to be called Jalan Kebon Binatang, a few houses away from Gado Gado Bon Bin [Bon Bin = keBON BINatang].



They offer many kinds of set menus, and the prices are very reasonable.
20141108_194557 20141108_194627Tamagoyaki. Riri’s favourite dish. This one is the best I’ve ever had. 20141108_200418

Look how happy Riri was when the food arrived, just like a little boy who just got a new toy. 20141108_201412

Riri ordered the Kiku Set, which comes with sashimi, tempura, sukiyaki, yakitori, rice and miso soup. The egg in the sukiyaki looks very nice. 20141108_201416

Thatha had the Kikugawa Set A – chicken teriyaki, gindara teriyaki, agedashi tofu, mini oden, salad, rice and miso soup. I asked the chicken and fish to be grilled, and to replace rice with salad. I like the salad dressing, some kind of yuzu soysauce.  I really liked the agedashi tofu, as the sauce contains ginger. 20141108_201444

What made the special dish became more special was the super spicy chilli powder. Riri asked for togarashi, but turned out that this restaurant offered Thai chilli powder, which fits more to Indonesian taste. 20141108_201834

Look at how beautiful they cut the papaya, looked like salmon sashimi. 20141108_203759

After the free fruit dessert, the waitress gave us a comment form to fill. I gave full marks for each criteria, but I wrote a suggestion to add sake and dessert menu. And maybe it could be much more interesting if they write the history of Kikuchi on the menu book. Thanks to @efenerr for the valuable information.  20141108_204022

Kikugawa is truly a hidden gem. People come here to enjoy unpretentious Japanese soul food, not to enjoy luxurious interior in many famous Japanese restaurants in Jakarta. There are more unpretentious Japanese restaurants in Little Tokyo Blok M, which was developed a decade after Kikugawa, around the 80s. I was a bit worried that there was nobody when we entered the restaurant, but after  we ordered, more and more people came.

Face Bar

Face Bar is one of favourite dating spots for Riri & Thatha in Jakarta. It’s a very nice venue except the music is too loud.
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Thatha challenged Riri to pick up a strawberry from the glass by using 2 straws. 20141101_224307

Lyon @ Mandarin Oriental Hotel


 Lyon, the French restaurant inside Mandarin Oriental Hotel, offers all-you-can-eat brunch, for both a la carte and buffet menu.

Here is the menu for a la carte. 20141004_113133

1. Roasted Purebred Berkshire Pork with soft polenta and charcutiere sauce 20141004_114335

2. Free-Range Chicken Albufera with black truffle and macaroni au gratin 20141004_114345

3. Duck Foie Gras with salted beets – Riri is a big fan of foie gras, so he couldn’t resist from ordering a second round. The couple sitting next to us ordered 6 plates of foie gras; they are truly the huge fans of foie gras. 20141004_114418

4. Classic Farm Egg Florentine with smoked salmon 20141004_114451 20141004_114518

5. Rib of Lamb with potatoes and broad beans

20141004_1204126. Red Mullet Fillet with fava beans, violon courgette and chlorophyll 20141004_1204297. Roasted Black Angus Beef with pumpkin puree and watercress

20141004_120441The buffet section20141004_115157 20141004_115207 20141004_120609

Cheese and Dessert Buffet 20141004_121319 20141004_121338 20141004_121408

Kouign-Amann – It turns out that in Breton, Kouign means cake, while Amann means butter, so this dessert literally means butter cake. 20141004_121438 20141004_121511 20141004_121710

A la carte dessert: Praline Religieuse with salted butter caramel sauce 20141004_123001 20141004_123013

A simple black coffee to end the grandiose meal 20141004_124758

Pondok Makan Siti Al Azizah

Pondok Makan Siti Al Azizah is a street food vendor in Cikini area that sells bubur ayam (chicken porridge) and many other stir-fry Chinese food – although the name sounds Muslim. This food vendor is often full of customers and it is open for 24 hours. 20140929_20161420140929_20153220140929_20144420140929_201505

I had bubur ayam biasa (regular chicken porridge) and Riri ordered bubur ayam special (special chicken porridge). The difference between the two is that the special one has an egg. I really like the yellow broth, tastes much richer than the legendary Bubur Cikini (BurCik)20140929_20182720140929_201855There’s another vendor of Bubur Ayam Sukabumi in Tebet that is open for 24 hours, which is listed on Jakarta Midnight Snack by Area Magazine.

Saudagar Kopi

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then let these pictures speak thousands of words.

Part 1: Exterior20140602_09202420140602_101540 20140602_09203320140809_172543

Part 2: Interior 20140602_092140

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Part 3: Menu 20140602_09210320140602_09215420140602_09240820140602_092135

A different single origin coffee was offered when I came two months later. 20140809_180008

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Part 4: Barista in action

Note taken from Thatha about Saudagar Kopi:

  • Started in October 2013
  • Owner is from Bandung
  • The killer House Blend is a mix of Toraja Sapan, Padang, and Bali Natural
  • Single origini: Silimakuta
  • Round clock service
  • Bakmi Koji Bakso Goreng – both the bakso goreng (fried meatball) and the mie ayam (chicken noodle) are homemade. They also produced homemade srikaya (coconut egg jam)
  • Colenak Retro consists of three pieces of tape (cassava), topped with palm sugar. “Colenak” is another word for “tape bakar”
  • They offer two types of pisang goreng (fried banana): Pisang Tempura and Pisang Aroma. I tried the Pisang Tempura, where they cut a banana into three wedges and deep fry it. One portion has six wedges, which means they used two bananas.
  • Roti Bakar Baheula is kind of toast topped with condensed milk, margarin and sugar.
  • The decorations displayed are also for sale. Very smart.
  • Nearby coffee shops / cafe within walking distance: Oey Kopitiam, Rumate, Dr. Dre, Sabang 16, Eatology, Coffee World (inside Maxone Hotel)

Sabang 16 – Kopi & Srikaya

 Sabang 16 is famous for its kaya toast and local single origin coffee. The interior is quite interesting, a mixture of modern and oldies. There were collections of jokes on modern technology, as well as ancient housewares.

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The first time I came here I ordered a cup of Kopi Tubruk made of Sidikalang coffee beans and Roti Srikaya Panggang.
The kaya toast looks very fluffy. I liked it. 
20140604_080936 20140604_081301 20140604_084831However, the second time I came here with Riri, I was extremely disappointed. I wanted to order Ginger Tea, but it was out of stock. Then, I wanted to order its famous Kaya Toast, but they also didn’t have it.

Roti Tan Ek Tjoan

Tan Ek Tjoan is one of the oldest traditional bakeries in Jakarta. 20140823_111436

An old fashioned mobile cart 20140823_111442

Roti Dasi (Tie Bread) 20140823_111502

Roti Gambang is originated from Semarang, also known as Roti Ganjel Rel. This bread is a bit tough, but it’s good for digestion and easy to make you feel full. This bread has a long historical value, as the recipe was invented during the Dutch colony. The colour is brown due to the composition of palm sugar; it has sesame topping and a strong cinnamon flavour. Interestingly, the name “Ganjel” is related to the fact that this bread is consumed one day before the start of fasting period. “Ganjel” means without any hindrance, so by eating this bread, hopefully the Muslims are able to go though fasting period smoothly. 20140823_111513

Roti Buaya Kecil (Mini Crocodile Bread) is a type of sweet bread in the shape of crocodile, which is commonly seen in a traditional Betawi wedding ceremonies. During the Portuguese and the Dutch colony, this bread was made of yam or cassava, but now this bread comes in chocolate flavour. Crocodile symbolises the groom’s fidelity, as crocodiles mate with only one partner and they are very patient. However, the meaning of crocodile changed in nowadays society. We callmen who are unfaithful as “buaya darat”.  20140823_111518

Bubur Cikini (BurCik)

Bubur Cikini is one of legendary street food vendors in Jakarta. When I arrived at KFC Cikini, I saw two vendors with the title Bubur Cikini, both are crowded, so I wasn’t sure which one is the original. The first one I saw at KFC parking lot has BCR sign on its cart, which stands for Bubur Cikini Raya.


The second one I saw has sign Burcik H.R. Suleman Cirebon, located in Bintaro Bakery, right across KFC and BCR (the first one I saw). According to my driver, this one  is the original one.

 20140823_09054720140823_084827I ordered Bubur Ayam Telor (Chicken Porridge with Egg). I’m glad that they don’t use “kerupuk warna warni” (colourful crackers), but I’m sad that there’s no fried soybean for topping.

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The man in black is the porridge master. He scooped the porridge, chicken, cakue, emping, tongcai (冬菜 dōngcài / pickled daikon) and fried scallion. His assistant’s job was only placing a plate at the bottom of the bowl and a spoon inside the bowl before serving to customers. 20140823_090220

The hot tea tasted a bit different from regular tea, and there was 20140823_090117 20140823_090319

There are two carts under the same brand, the first one is the porridge, and the other cart sells Martabak Telor. 20140823_090409 20140823_090609




Sate Jaya Agung Khas Lamongan (Jawa Timur)

Menteng is famous for many varieties of street food, one of them is satay. Riri picked this famous satay shop at the corner of Jl. K.H Wahid Hasyim and Jl. Sabang.


Only one man was positioned at the satay grill station even though the orders were nonstop both for dine-in and takeaway.


Thatha had a portion of Sate Ayam (Chicken Satay).


Riri had a portion of Sate Kambing (Lamb Satay).


And we shared a bowl of Soto Ayam (Chicken Soup).


Everything was delicious, especially the lontong (Indonesian rice cake), very fresh and big.