Old school: Women chat at Passer Koeningan, the food court at Pasar Festival in Kuningan, South Jakarta. The mall will hold a grand opening for its food court, re-themed “Jakarta Tempoe Doeloe”, on Friday. JP/Wendra AjistyatamaInside Pasar Festival, a typical mall on Jl. Rasuna Said in South Jakarta, an unusual scene catches the eyes of visitors, especially during lunchtime.
The mall’s food court, Passer Koeningan, has been redone with the theme “Jakarta Tempo Doloe”, or Old-Time Jakarta, giving diners a touch — and taste — of old Batavia, as the capital was once known.
The main gate of the food court takes the form of a traditional porch of a Betawi house — complete with two armchairs and roundtables, while photos of Jakarta as it once was adorn the walls.
Inside, browns and whites dominate, especially on the signs of individual restaurants, which are bathed in yellow light.
The wooden chairs have been painted dark brown, blue or green. Big mirrors have been installed under the sinks in the style once favored by the city’s European colonizers.
The vendors who sell selendang mayang, a dessert made from rice flour and palm sugar, and kerak telor (egg crust) reinforce the “tempo doeloe” atmosphere, although some parts of the food court had yet to adopted the retro look.
Restaurants at the food court, which include several national franchises, offer local delights such as bakso afu, a meatball soup, and steak gowes in addition to dishes from Lampung, Manado, South Sulawesi and Lombok.
One patron, Devi Sari, said on Tuesday that she liked the old-timey feel of the food court.
“The decorations are interesting and the food has a great variety,” she said while waiting for her business partners to arrive for a meeting.
Devi also welcomed the change in cuisine. “It’s good if we have many varieties of food, because sometimes franchise fast food is not healthy,” said the 35-year-old, who said she liked Betawi dishes such as kerak telor and asinan, or vegetables in sweet-and-sour sauce.
The price of traditional food in shopping malls was not too expensive, Devi said, although it was higher than on the street.
“I’m disappointed when the food does not taste good but the price is expensive,” she added.
Devi tried bakso Malang, which she rated as “not bad”.
“Some bakso are delicious, but some others are fair,” she said.
Rama Prima Lukman, who works for the food court’s management company, Gaia Mahaga Buana, said that the food court had a soft launch with its new theme on May 2, although the grand opening would be on Friday.
Meanwhile, the company’s media and promotion manager, Candy Sutedi, said that the company had tried to preserve traditions while offering an alternative choice and atmosphere for customers to enjoy their meals.
‘“There will be 45 outlets that sell various kinds of Indonesian food,” she said.
Candy said that the decorations were not yet fully installed. Additional items, such as sepeda onthel, the traditional bicycles that are a staple of the city’s old town in Kota, would be added before the grand opening.
Other than nuance and food, Candy said that the food court also offered affordable prices.
“For Rp 50,000 (US$5.40), a costumer can enjoy a delicious meal plus a drink,” she said. (cor)