soto ayam is basically indonesian chicken noodle soup. delicious chicken noodle soup with ginger, garlic, green onions, turmeric. a dish i have a deep and unfaltering love for. a dish i crave almost weekly and make at home on a regular basis. a dish my friends have come to love, crave, and make at home. a dish i go out of my way for. but it was not always this way…
years of living in indonesia (and eating soto ayam) were wasted because it was not until my first visit to puncak pass that i fell in love. in the end it may not be the best soto ayam i’ve ever had (truth be told the one at borobudur in sf is incredible!), but because it was my first it will always have a special place in my heart. plus, there’s something about eating food in its country of origin that always makes it taste that much better.
and so even though we eat it in sf all the time, i took the journey out of jakarta and into the mountains of puncak to share with my gf that special bowl of soup. puncak pass is a hotel and restaurant that sit in the foggy hillside of puncak overlooking the tea plantations. but be warned, the drive from jakarta can be painful and on this particular journey took 4-hours each way (!!), longer than we spent up there! but it was worth it (and we stopped for margaritas when we finally made it back!)
jl. raya puncak
sindanglaya cianjur (puncak), west java
one of my fave restaurants ever is a place in jakarta called riva at the park lane hotel. the former head chef: gilles marx, recently opened his own restaurant, amuz. so rather than having dinner at riva, we went to try it out instead and the space is absolutely beautiful. my dad is a longtime customer and knows the chef who unfortunately was off that night.
amuse: crab croquet
tomato consome with crab ravioli
lentil soup with edamame and duck bacon
veal chop with haricot vert and potato gratin (the weakest dish we ordered)
pan seared whole fresh lobster, they actually bring it to your table live before cooking it, with spinach fettucini and artichoke (highlight of the meal!)
chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream
2 bottles of red wine – one from dad’s cellar, one crappy california wine from the restaurant list (importing wine and booze into indonesia has becoming increasingly difficult)
not the best meal in my chef marx history (they were out of a few things and our veal was a bit more rare than i would have liked) but still delicious overall and i’ll keep going back, but hopefully next time the chef is in the kitchen!
The Energy Building, 2nd Floor SCBD Lot 11A
JL. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 52-53 Jakarta
potato head jakarta is on the ground floor of pacific place mall. with the bonus of an outdoor seating area giving you the full jakarta humidity, diesel fuel, clove cigarette experience. my dad took us there for a late afternoon drink, and it seems like a pretty fun and trendy place. had the potato head mule: vodka, lime, ginger; can’t speak for the food but the drinks are good, and apparently it gets pretty cracking at night.
potato head beach club bali is right on seminyak beach. there’s an infiniti pool that overlooks seminyak beach making it the perfect place to watch the sunset with poolside lounge-beds, cocktails and food. if you order a reasonable minimum you get pool access all day. my highlight drink was the prohibition ice tea (what would happen if a long island was actually good): vodka, gin and rum served in a teapot with mini teacups and a side of vodka infused orange slices. i had to stop myself from drinking too many of these and ending up too drunk to enjoy bbq and martini’s later.
both outposts have a similar design aesthetic and the personal highlight for me were the walls of old window shutters. solid drink list with some interesting history and facts about each cocktail.