Brunch has to be the most fun meal to have out, especially after a long working week of perfunctory breakfasts – and even better when it’s the morning after the party-hard night before. Sara Veal makes the rounds to find the best brunch bets in town.
When I first moved to Jakarta from London earlier this year, one of the things I missed most were my weekend brunches. Saturdays and Sundays meant waking up late, whiling away hours at a cute café with friends and fat newspapers, followed by laidback retail therapy – a routine that never got dull and very effectively recharged my batteries for the week ahead.
However, “brunch” in Jakarta seemed to mostly mean lavish, free-flow buffets at fancy hotels – a real treat, but not something you can or want to do all the time. So I set out on a quest for the city’s best non-buffet brunch spots. After selflessly enduring various delicious dishes and cozy settings, I can now recommend 10 places to kick off the perfect lazy weekend – or even a weekday! It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it …
Menara Gracia, Ground floor, Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. C-17
Reservations: +62 21 520 0380
Weekdays 6 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Weekends and public holidays 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Brunch dishes: Rp 30,000–52,000
It can be hard to get out of bed sometimes, but at The Apartment, you don’t have to. Or at least, you can get back into bed once you get there. Designed to be a home away from home, this fun concept restaurant allows you to eat in whichever part of the apartment you prefer – the kitchen, bathroom, library, bedroom, living room or even dining room, if you’re feeling subversive. Being a bookworm, I felt happiest feasting in the library, especially remembering all the power-mad librarians who had confiscated my necessary study snacks at university.
The brunch selection includes Fluffy Pancakes, French Toast, Eggs Benedict and Fish and Potato, which comprises pan-fried fish fillet, hash browns, cured cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. There are plenty of teas, coffees and fresh fruit juices on offer.
Charmingly, the waiters and waitresses are clad in pajamas and the menu resembles a daily newspaper, adding to the feel of a highly civilized slumber party. While brunch is available every day, Sunday are especially accommodating for families, with a balloon artist at hand to entertain the kids – as if getting to eat in the TV room wasn’t exciting enough.
Jl. Pintu Besar Utama 14, Jakarta 11110
Reservations: +62 21 691 5531/+62 21 691 5534
email@example.com / http://www.cafebatavia.comm
Daily 9 a.m – 5 p.m.
Brunch dishes: Rp 37,500–95,000
Café Batavia can’t be beat for a dose of authentic colonial glamour. Housed in what is believed to be Jakarta’s second-oldest building, the interior has a speakeasy feel, with a stage for live jazz and piano music, vintage furniture and walls that are covered with old movie posters and photos of Hollywood legends.
Along with the usual fare, dishes such as Raspberries & Rose Water Yoghurt with Nougat, and Shirred Eggs with Bacon, Tomato Fondue and Garlic Bread offer a nostalgic culinary adventure.
On Saturdays and Sunday, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., David & Omo treat the patrons to oldies tunes – perfect timing for late brunchers. Later, if you fancy delving even further into Jakarta’s past, the Jakarta History Museum is just a few minutes’ walk away.
Pacific Place Level 4 SCBD
Jl. Jend Sudirman Kav 52–53, South Jakarta 12190
Reservations: +62 21 579 73742
Weekends 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Brunch dishes: Rp 45,000–70,000
Canteen thoughtfully combines my two of my leisurely loves: books and brunch. Paired with the Aksara bookstore, it offers the ideal place to curl up with an enticing read (although, oddly, they do insist you pay before you take the books anywhere near the grub).
The food, which includes Breakfast Pizza and Croque Madame, is simple, satisfying and promptly served by friendly waiters. If you’re feeling virtuous, you may wish to subject yourself to the Spinach Surprise and Brocolius smoothies, or maybe you’d prefer to be both naughty and nice with a fresh fruit cocktail.
The inside is warmly lit, with comfy seating, glossy wooden furniture and exposed brick walls. The music – funky cover versions of old favorites like Prince’s “Kiss” – is just the thing to get you in the mood for a night out, without distracting from your chosen literary trip.
Plaza Indonesia, 6th floor, No. E02-03, Jl. MH Thamrin, Kav. 28-30.
Reservations: +62 21 3983 8257
Daily 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Brunch dishes: Rp 29,000–58,000
Although better known as a deep house music venue, Immigrant offers an edgy, industrial brunch experience – ideal for those who haven’t quite finished partying from the night before.
The inside resembles a factory, with dim lighting, metallic surfaces and bottles galore. As it’s on the top of Plaza Indonesia, you can choose to enjoy the high-rise metropolis view, adding to the Blade Runner atmosphere.
The All Day Breakfast is available every day, and includes French toast served in a variety of ways, Mediterranean Omelet and a hearty Big Breakfast. Oodles of coffees and fresh fruit and vodka infusions (i.e., hair of the dog) means you’ll have everything you need to deal with that hangover. Or everything you need to get another one.
Koi Kafe and Galeri
Saberro House, Jl. Kemang Raya, No. 10a
Reservations: +62 21 7195 707
firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.koiindonesia.com
Weekends 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Brunch dishes: Rp 19,000–74,000
Koi is a pioneer in Jakarta’s developing brunch scene, having served up lazy Sundays for the past six years, with an innovative brunch menu that includes both European and Indonesian creations.
Browsing the menu is exquisite torture – so hard to choose, yet you can hardly wait for it to arrive – even before you’ve ordered. The Eggs Benedict are particularly renowned, while Waffle Liege with Berries is freshly made using the Belgian chef’s grandmother’s secret recipe. Indonesian dishes include nasi lemak and chicken curry porridge. There is also a specials board that changes monthly.
With the ordeal of selection out of the way, you’ll be able to relax into the immediately welcoming environment. There’s a small play area for the kids, paintings on the walls that showcase local artists and free Wi-Fi for Net addicts. The casual yet elegantly designed dining area smoothly extends into the furniture shop section, in which Koi sells exclusive export-quality products – so if you’re finding it hard to leave, you can always take a piece with you.
Loewy Bar and Restaurant
Oakwood Condominiums, Jl. Lingkar, Mega Kuningan E4. 2 No. 1, Jakarta
Reservations: +62 21 2554 2378
Weekends 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Loewy’s provides an unexpected oasis of calm in the midst of Jakarta’s high-powered business and commercial district. The spacious, airy restaurant has a classic, New York-style design and views of billowing greenery and a water fountain, accentuated by music from the Rat Pack era.
The cheerfully orange menu wisely proclaims brunch as “the most important meal of the week”. There’s something for both demanding and delicate appetites. Benoit’s Hangover Pasta (spaghetti tossed with gruyere cheese, beef ham and topped with a fried egg) is a great guilty pleasure, while Truffled Boiled Eggs with salmon, beef ham and ricotta soldiers is both light and rich. Hash Browns make an excellent side, and the spicy Bloody Mary was the best I’ve had so far in Jakarta.
Poste Kitchen & Bar
The East Building, Ground Floor, Jl. Lingkar Mega Kuningan E3.2 No. 1, Jakarta
Reservations: +62 857 8088 4433
Daily 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Brunch dishes: Rp 25,000–55,000
Poste is the sort of place you want to tell everyone about, but also keep to yourself. It’s fresh all around, in terms of décor, food, ambience and service.
The cuisine is modern Asian, with Italian influences, and there’s a sense of fun in the way the brunch menu is put together. Highlights include “Green Eggs & Ham” Frittata, à la Dr Seuss, Spring Onion Pancakes, served with smoked salmon and lemon butter, and Pan-Fried Mozzarella Cheese Toast. Everything is surprisingly good value – you can feel stuffed and still have change from a Rp 50,000 note.
The décor has a space-age touch, with grays and a large glittery disco ball, offset with splashes of bright color.
On certain days, if you’re willing to allow brunch to evolve into evening – not hard to do when there’s free Wi-Fi, comfy seating and a wide drinks selection – you can enjoy live acts like Enda & Rhesa and Mike’s Apartment on the acoustic stage.
Pacific Place, G 51A, SCBD, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav 52-53, South Jakarta
Reservations: +62 21 5797 3322
Sunday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Breakfast dishes: Rp 35,000–75,000
Although a highly popular cocktail venue, Potato Head can be more fully appreciated during the day, when you can admire the whimsical yet edgy interior design in natural lighting.
The mix of retro furniture, wooden gangways, kitsch toy lamps, space scene murals and tropical plants makes for a natural transition to a family-friendly brunch spot on Sundays.
The wonderfully expansive brunch menu is another treat for the eyes, with mouthwatering items like Grilled Basil Scented Haloumi Cheese and Traditional Buttermilk Pancakes. Plus, Potato Head prides itself on incorporating that expat brunch Holy Grail – real pork bacon – into its dishes, and always having it available.
Helpfully, for the health conscious (and those who do not eat pork), there’s a varied selection of fresh juices, which detail the exact calorie and fat content. Glad that wasn’t on any other part of the menu!
Harvey Nichols at Grand Indonesia, East Mall, 1st floor
Jl. M. H. Thamrin No 1, Jakarta
Reservations: +62 21 2358 1818
Weekdays 8 a.m. –3 p.m. All day weekends and public holidays.
Breakfast dishes: Rp 50,000–65,000 (Breakfast set menu Rp 95,000)
Right next to the Harvey Nichols Food Hall, Social House offers a fun and fancy-free casual dining experience, with the food coming as soon as it’s ready, which is particularly fabulous if you’re served first and wish to torment your dining partners.
The Breakfast Set Menu means you don’t have to choose between savory and sweet, and can try a bit of both, along with either coffee or tea. A satisfying combination includes Eggs Benedict over Butter Roasted Rustic Bread and Home Made Brioche with Nutella Spread. The breads and pastries taste very fresh, as does the well-chosen Fruit Platter.
The selection of drinks – coffee, tea, cocktails, smoothies – offers incomparable choice; they are always beautifully presented, with heart swirls on froth and tasty garnishes.