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Lunch at oldest coffee roaster in Java

Good Indonesian Food
Good Indonesian Food

Preserve and Promote Indonesian Cuisine

Jakarta  /  Wed, December 14, 2016  /  01:59 pm
Lunch at oldest coffee roaster in Java

One could easily take in the vintage feel of Bakoel Koffie. (Good Indonesian Food/File)

Cikini has long been a center for culinary tourism thanks to its noodle shops, Chinese restaurants and long-standing coffee shops that offer coffee and delicious food with an ambiance that evokes old Jakarta. Bakoel Koffie, which stands right across Menteng Huis, is one of them.

One could easily take in the vintage feel of this place, especially with the brown color palette that dominates the restaurant and the classic home cutlery provided. Near the cashier is a shelf containing coffee beans for sale. To sample a cup of coffee made by the first coffee roaster in Java, one could purchase a small pouch of coffee. There are also various cakes and snacks on display, ranging from tiramisu, cheesecake and tuna panada to market treats like klepon (boiled rice cake stuffed with liquid palm sugar and topped with grated coconut), lemper (meat-filled glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves), ongol-ongol (mung bean cake with grated coconut) and many more.

A stack of brochures with a sign saying “please take one” in front of it caught my eye, which turned out to be booklets detailing the history of Bakoel Koffie. Founded by Liauw Tek Siong in 1878 under the name Tek Sun Ho, its original spot was located east of Kali Ciliwung (known as Molenvliet Canal during the colonial era) along the transportation route for the delivery of wood and foodstuff from the north to the south.

(Read also: New service delivers curated coffee to your home)

Mie ongklok Wonosobo (Wonosobo noodle soup with side dishes).(Good Indonesian Food/File)

Initially focusing on just coffee as a beverage, the year 1968 saw Tek Sun Ho beginning to sell its own coffee beans. It coincided with the introduction of its logo, which depicts a woman carrying a basket that also represents its aim for their coffee beans to be universally enjoyed by anyone.

Besides its selection of coffee and light bites, Bakoel Koffie also provides a number of Indonesian dishes, including soto (savory soup), nasi goreng (fried rice), tape bakar (grilled fermented rice), singkong mbledug (exploding cassava) and a few others. My choice for lunch during my visit was mie ongklok Wonosobo (Wonosobo noodle soup with side dishes) because of its unique name.

My first impression of the dish once it was served was that it looked quite similar to lomie (flat-rice noodle soup) due to its thick and brownish soup. The noodles were quite meaty and have more in common with spaghetti than the common roadside chicken noodle dish. Its broth is sweet and savory and the concoction was topped with cuts of tempeh and chicken – an interesting yet incredibly tasty combination – and some emping (gnetum gnemon crackers). (kes)

Explore more Indonesian cuisine here.

Jl. Cikini Raya No. 25, Cikini, Menteng, Central Jakarta

Contact: 021 3193 6608

Open daily from 9 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.

Rp 75,000 (US$5.60) per person

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.