If you’re one of Jakarta residents who is constantly chafed at how polluted the air or how bad the gridlock is, you sure wish not miss the period where the air is relatively clean and you can go to every corner of the city jam-free, and FAST! Also best time to practice driving or hone that skill. That happens only once a year, and only for two weeks max, during the holy festive days of Lebaran (Eid al-Fitr/Idul Fitri).
The number of vehicles diminished last week and is slowly peaking up again this week until everything goes back to normal next Monday(?). How nice it’d be if the roads remain uncongested year-long. The only downside is that many eateries would close shop, and if they remain in service, there is this probability that the foods aren’t prepared by the usual cooks – they may head back to their hometowns (mudik) as well – thus the quality and taste might differ. That aside, I love my not-so-bustling Jakarta =)
So… I spend this break time doing some mall-hopping, yunno wandering one mall to another, from eatery to eatery because we’re constantly hungry after checking the tenants out.
Next stop: Kota Kasablanka (Kokas), Moroccan-themed mall, another relatively new addition to the flourishing spread of shopping centers in town. It’s located on the same strip as Lotte Shopping Avenue (LOVE) we explored a while ago, though not under the same street name. If you’re coming from Sudirman area into Jln Prof. Dr. Satrio, just go straight past LOVE, Manhattan Hotel, and Park Lane Hotel towards that tall, easy-to-spot checkered-blue superblock in Jln Casablanca.
That’s what we did, though we got completely averted by this wavy circular wooden nice-looking building just meters after Mall Ambassador called Kuningan City. At which we totally went, “Waa~ that’s not bad. What is it called again? Let’s check it out!” and thus made an impromptu left-turn visit. It looks big from the outside, but is neither long nor wide in size, which goes from LG to Level 3. LOVE isn’t that big of a mall either, but Kuningan City is smaller — just one stretch with tenants on its left and right; LG floorplan is more scattered. It’s tastefully designed and adorned, although numerous corpulent pillars placed in the middle of walkway obstruct viewing and eat up space. What struck me the most was how many escalators each floor hosts (around 4 sets) you’ll bump into one every few meters. C’mon, we’re not that lazy~
Many of the lease spaces were used to hold warehouse branded sale most visitors flocked food area. Its foodcourt – Eatery – offers around 15 stalls and only half of them were open for business that day. I ordered this grilled chicken rice served with generous amount of thick munchy chicken fillet from HotRock at 28K+, compared to my sis’ gindara teriyaki rice topped with more veggie than sliced fish from SakuraExpress at 30K+.
As we descended to LG, my eye caught a glimpse of a familiar signboard reads Renaldo’s Apple Strudel and Pastry. Whoa! Can’t no longer find it in Spore, which closed all of its outlets in 2010, it’s happily puff-ing strudel slices in Jkt! There’s another outlet in Kemang Village. It offers wider range of strudel and horn fillings and serving sizes and much less selections of éclairs. We flipped upon this discovery but was soon let down by its pricing.
The pricelist on the hanging board doesn’t match those tagged in the display table; the price of its horns/éclairs have increased by 50% from 10K to 15K a piece. I was like, there’s no way I’m paying 15K for two bites of sugary food, that’s ridiculous! It was tagged S$1.30~.50 per horn, S$1.65 per éclair, and S$3.70~4.70 for mini strudel, 10.50~13.80 for half, and 19.80~25.50 for full, now sold at Rp.15K per horn/éclair, 50K for mini, 100K for half, and 200K for full. Even if you do a SGD-IDR currency conversion, it’s still way more expensive buying in Rupiah! How can things be this pricey is beyond me. Fortunately, their horn and éclair taste the same, though I noticed that its horns are stubbier now. We’re itching to get our hands on its strudel, we like it better than Ritz’s, but its high price really was the turndown factor. I’m a cheapo, so 50K for a strudel? No, thanks.
However, if you think about it, it’s not insanely costly although still not wallet-friendly. That’s usually the price one would have to pay for snacks, desserts, or other after-meal treats. E.g. a cup of your basic mushrooming bubble drink is 19K, a slice/piece of cake/cupcake is 20K, the smallest cup of frozen yogurt is 25K, one freaking scoop of gelato/premium ice cream is 32K, a tall frappuccino is 41K (all are approximate starting prices). Hold your impulses down and consider your buying power or these sweet indulgences would cost more than your full meal. No kidding.
Another from spore to jkt expansion is Olive Vine pasta fusion I mentioned in lost and (not) found entry. Finally dropped by its Marina Link outlet – another one located at Suntec City’s sky garden. Price has gone up from its food court pricing and is subjected to 7% GST; its taste… isn’t what I remembered it was, especially the arrabiata sauce, which was quite a letdown *shrug* Anyway, we noticed the announcement pasted near entrance about soon-to-be-opened outlet in Central Park, Jakarta, in Oct/Nov 2013. We weren’t as excited as I thought we’d be, so yeah… Will see what they’d have in store.
With that, let’s fast-forward to Kokas. It looks quite small from the outside when in fact is thrice the size of Kuningan City’s stretch. They have something like this oval-shaped main atrium with escalators forming an X, rectangular-shaped middle section (mainly for apparels I guess?), and two-storey full Food Society corner — vast in size, various cuisines to choose from. More options are available on LG – Carrefour, Daiso*, and Turkish ice-cream stall are amidst many many outlets on that level. The mall was jampacked with people thus wasn’t as easy to navigate as Kuningan City. Will come back on another day to fully explore the tenants when it’s less crowded.
On the way out we grabbed several Tous les Jours “French-Asian” bakery goods. You might recognize the name (or the CJ logo) if you’re a
K-drama/movie everything-Korean fan… hopefully that’s not the reason why this bakery store is so popular nowadays. We didn’t try many selections to judge if there’s anything special, but the bread we bought was soft and not too sweet; its castella left a bitter aftertaste though.
Oh! Almost forgot to mention, the hourly parking fee in these two malls is Rp.3K, which is quite a pleasant surprise considering they are in CBD area and nearly all establishments in town charge Rp.4K/hour.
I’m more of food snapper but managed to provide some pictures for you here. Yay?
*) I’m so behind these things. I didn’t know Renaldo’s Kuningan City outlet has been operating for almost two years, neither did I know that we have Daiso Japan in town. This hyakuen (100yen) shop has many overseas franchises like “always S$2” stores in Singapore. I understand they have to adjust to local currencies and such, but Rp.22K per item isn’t exactly ‘dirt cheap’.
I realized I talked more about price than any other topic here, but unless your money has no serial number (the term we use to refer to uber-rich people who busily search for what/where else to spend those credits on), it will always be an issue. In case you didn’t notice already, money and service are my two biggest pet peeves 😉