Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eating Out in Jakarta: Gourmet Garage, Jln Kemang Raya

Ooh. You can't miss this place. It's a big place right opposite the Papillon on Jl Kemang Raya. You can't miss the Papillon because it's a simply gorgeous glass building. There is a rather posh French restaurant in the Papillon and I've been told it's very good but I haven't been there yet because I've also been told portions are small there and small portions are no good for a 33-week pregnant lady!

Gourmet Garage was a chance discovery for Dear Hubby and me. We were still new in Jakarta and on one of our first forays into Kemang when we saw the place and decided to try it. It quickly became our favourite restaurant and we've been back most weekends for a bite. It's a restaurant-cum-food shopping place. On the ground floor, you can get good quality meats, fresh veg and fruits and canned goods that are dear to (Western) expat hearts. This is where we picked up some lovely English sausages some time ago. They also have a small bakery which always makes my mouth water when I'm there.

There is small seating area downstairs for the restaurant bit, most of the seating for the restaurant is upstairs (including a smoking area) but we're usually too lazy to climb up. This place is very family-friendly. Each time we're there on weekends, it's filled with families out to enjoy a good meal. The staff are excellent - they are friendly, they know their stuff and yes, they speak quite decent English, so the non-Indon speaking expat need not resort to guesswork and sign language. If you are sitting downstairs, remember to ask the staff to bring you the menu for "upstairs". For some reason, it's more extensive. The menu is a mix of Western, local and Japanese and I've sample bits from all three and it has yet to disappoint.

What I really recommend there is the garlic prawn fettucine. YUM!!! It's so delicious that my heart melts at the very memory of it. You get three large prawns arranged very prettily on this bed of fettucine. The killer bit is the garlic sauce. Ooh. This is the one time when I really don't mind having garlic breath. The portion is just right too. Well, er... for me at least. It may be too much for smaller tums.

A value-for-money meal is the Javanese fried rice. Heaven! It comes with kerupuk emping (a sort of crisp, I don't know what emping is), fried chicken and the obligatory pickled vege that seems to be served with most Indon meals I've tried. It's spicy, it's sweet-ish and it's a HUGE portion. Dear Hubby and I usually split this meal as it's just too much for one person to finish off on their own. This is proof of how good the Javanese fried rice is -just last night, Dear Hubby was moaning that he was eating more rice than potatoes of late and was vowing not to touch rice till about middle of next week but the moment I suggested this dish, he readily agreed to have it for lunch.

For drinks, I highly recommend the banana smoothie. It's rich, it's creamy and so very smooth. Hence the name I suspect. Yum-yum.

As for the Japanese menu, I haven't been eating Japanese of late as I prefer my Japanese cuisine in the raw form and I can't eat raw stuff at the moment because of the baby. So I can't quite remember what's good there. The only one I eat off the Jap menu now is the Hiro beef with rice, that's deliciously prepared.

We were there this afternoon and paid about Rp150,000 (approx. RM40) for a Javanese fried rice plus two banana smoothies. So it's about the same as you would pay in KL for a meal in a eatery in say... a shopping mall. The food is always good, I've never had it disappoint in so many visits there, you can do a bit of grocery shopping at the same time, and the toilets are sparklingly clean. Each time I'm in there, there's always someone polishing something inside.

It's dead easy to get to. Just ask your driver/taxi to take you to Jl Kemang Raya.

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