Food, People, Personal, Travel

Visited Amber

Another uniquely-themed restaurant has just opened in South of Jakarta. Amber is located at No. 61 Jalan Senopati Raya and has a different atmosphere that many other restaurants in that area.  Now that there area so many restaurants in town competition is getting serious. Restauranteurs have to be creative and innovative, as people coming to restaurants look for both great food and a good atmosphere.  And, with Jakarta’s traffic many people would rather spend time in a nice restaurant rather than face heavy traffic going home in rush hours.

Jo (from ajourneybespoke; http://www.ajourneybespoke.com) and I became curious when we saw the lovely facade of the building, so we popped in for a lunch at Amber. As soon as we opened the door a friendly staff member greeted us and asked whether we would like to go for a main course or only dessert. The first floor turned out to be their desert lounge – definitely heaven for those with a sweet tooth. The lounge is designed in a french style with elegant and softly coloured furniture. There are so many varieties of beautiful cakes, truffles and macaroons, and specialty teas too.  A perfect place for afternoon tea with your girl-friends. The second floor is called the library room.  The books on the shelves, wooden floors and comfy chairs really make this place look and feel like a small library.  Although the books were acquired for display, I’m sure no one would mind if you wanted to read or look through one.  I recall a restaurant in Sydney I visited that had a library – there you could read and purchase what was displayed.  The third floor is a music lounge – actually located on the roof – but I think that it is only open at night, perhaps because during the day it would be too hot up there.  But definitely a great place for a private party.

After we finished lunch we went downstairs for dessert. Actually we could have asked the staff to bring up our dessert but we preferred to go down and experience sitting at the dessert lounge. It had a very different atmosphere to the library.  We chose to have macaroons; cream cheese (blue) and curry (brown). Curry macaroon may not sound too tempting, especially for those not too keen on curry – but you really must try one. The exotic flavour (masala) will give a little bit of kick to your tongue but I’m sure you’ll find this macaroon rather special and just as unique as Amber itself.

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© Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick PhotographyIMG_0472 © Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick PhotographyOne of the restaurant in Sydney that have library concept

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Commercial, Food

Casadina Kitchen and Bakery

Finding a nice place to relax with a good coffee and croissant during the weekend is not always that easy.  But recently I found a great spot: Casadina Kitchen and Bakery.  It’s located in the Kuningan area, South Jakarta. I really love the simplicity and casual air of the place. Seems that the owner, who’s also a chef, knows how to make a place just as comfortable for a family hangout as it is for anyone who wants to relax alone. Whether you go for brunch, coffee, dinner or an afternoon tea (and I have been there for all those reasons!) I think this place should be on your list of options.
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Food, People, Travel

Beautiful Minangkabau

Traveling to Sumatra was something I had been really looking forward to. I think for those who never been to Sumatra, visiting Bukittinggi (in West Sumatra) should be on your list. I went with a group of five friends from Jakarta. It was just a four day visit but truly a nice journey. As I love spicy food I was so looking forward to tasting the real flavours of Padang food such as beef rendang (beef curry) and Satay Padang.  I knew it would not be too different from the taste if bought in Jakarta, but I wanted to taste the real thing. We were so lucky that one of our friends in the group is from Bukittinggi.  She guided us to some great places. Particularly when visiting new places I find it a true pleasure to explore the place and do unique things. Beside tasting the food, visiting a traditional market was a must for me, and my thanks to Rino who took me around the market. In fact there were so many kind of products sold there I even managed to get a photograph of a dried eel – Rino also told me how to cook them to make crunchy and spicy. Sounds delicious !

Our journey begin as soon as we arrived at Padang airport. Our tour guide drove us straight to Bukittinggi.  It took three hours. We finally made it to our first stop the Lembah Anai (Anai waterfall).  It was OK – nothing really special though.  I don’t know why this place is so popular with tourists. We did not stay there too long.

We visited Pusat Dokumentasi and Informasi Kebudayaan Minangkabau (Centre for Documentation and Cultural information of Minangkabau). That was quite interesting too. It is a stunning building the shape of rumah gadang (sharp peaks at both ends of the roof).  The inside is more like a library with open space and so many old black and white photographs displayed everywhere. After we listened to a short history of the Rumah Gadang the guide took us to a dressing room – this was the fun part. We had the opportunity to wear a beautiful Minang bridal costume, including the tall head ornaments.  The guide told us the ornament we had on were only imitations and that the originals that were worn by the bride in a Minang wedding weighed an additional five kg.  Wow! Anyway I can tell you we had so much fun in dressing room – six little girls playing dress up!

The Hills hotel (www.thehillsbukittinggi.com; Jl. Laras Dt Bandaro, Bukittingi, Sumatera Barat 26115, Indonesia
+62 752 35000) that we stayed at during in Bukittinggi is just walking distance to the famous Bukittinggi icon Jam Gadang and Pasar atas (a traditional market located upstair where they sell handcrafts and fabrics and a market below where they sell fresh veggies and fruits). Jam Gadang in the evening looked more charming than during the day. They have a night market every Saturday and that gave the place a more “happening” feeling with locals around  as it is likely the products they sell are only for local consume not for tourist.

The last day of our trip we went to Lembah Harau (Harau Valley) and Danau Maninjau (Lake Maninjau) before heading back to Padang.  However, for me the highlight of this trip was when we visited Istana Baso Pagaruyung (Pagaruyung Palace) that was beyond my expectation. It’s real beautiful. Pagaruyung Palace is the istana of the former Pagaruyung Kingdom, located in Tanjung Emas subdistrict near Batusangkar town, Tanah Datar Regency, West Sumatra, Indonesia. The exterior and interior palace are stunning and well kept. Never seen anything like it before. The inside palace is exeptionally well maintained. I loved those colours and the sparkly fabric in every piece of  drapery. This palace used to lived in by a king and queen with their big family (the history of this palace please check Istana Baso Pagaruyung).

Lembah Anai (Anai Waterfall)

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Pusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan Minangkabau (Centre for Documentation and Cultural information of Minangkabau) in Padang Panjang.

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Istana Baso Pagaruyung (Pagaruyung Palace, West Sumatra)

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Jam Gadang at night, Bukittinggi West Sumatra
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Food, People, Personal, Travel

Bali … Again.

It is a while since these photographs were taken. But I have had no time to write. Fortunately, my passion for photography never fails me – i just need to find time to record my thoughts. I take photographs every single day wether with my camera or my iPhone. I do enjoy capturing small things that catch my attention. I like the phrase by Bill Bryson;  “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”  It’s so true. Although we visit here relatively often,  every visit reveals  something different and we always look forward to returning for that reason.

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Commercial, Food, Travel

2mad Gallery and Eatery, Kemang

Recently I took some photographs for 2mad Gallery and Eatery in Jakarta. I was trilled when Maggie, the owner, contacted me. As one of their clients I do not just adore their stuff but I agree with Maggie that we should support local designers to be competitive and creative. If we don’t, who will? Maggie’s place   accommodates  Indonesian designers who display and sell their products in the gallery. The gallery is located on the second floor, above the cafe.  So while you are waiting for your meal you can go upstair to check it out. Most of the pieces are one of a kind. They also sell custom made furniture, home ware and paintings. So when you see things there probably its never seen anywhere else.

The restaurant concept is very casual and cozy. As soon as you enter the cafe you will see the picture of New York’s Madison Avenue hanging on the wall. This cafe reminds Maggie of New York where she spent a few years studying. This little cafe is located at 46F Broadway, Kemang South of Jakarta. It is easy to find as they are on Jalan Benda Raya – just look for the yellow door. Whether you come for cocktails after office hours or brunch on Sunday morning this place is always great. If you would like to know details about this place you can check their website 2madison.com. BTW, they also sell furniture online and from experience, I can assure you that delivery is always on time.

2Madison Outlet, Jl. Benda Raya No. 46F unit B, Kemang, Jakarta Selatan. Phone : (+62-21) 788 334 80/ 788 393 82 (or wa 087 886 461 788)

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Food, People, Personal, Special Events

Cooking Class

SieMatic collaborated with Petty Elliott to present an interactive cooking class recently. Petty demonstrated how to make a simple yet healthy meal quickly. The recipes were from her cook book (salad, main course and dessert all wonderfully presented). Here’s the menu; Beetroot Carpaccio with Griddled Chicken and Feta Cheese salad; for the main course, Tagliatelle with Padang Pesto and pan fried Barramundi, this is Italian twisted with Indonesian style pesto “sambal hijau”  (green chillies) and; a dessert of Strawberry Semifreddo. All delicious and surprisingly easy to make.  My favourite was the dessert, it was delicious. I really enjoyed it.  Here is a little  story about Petty Elliott: she’s an Indonesian who found her passion in cooking and has spent years in the UK where she participated in the BBC’s Master Chef competition in 2001. She recently published her first book, “Papaya Flower”, on Manadonese Cuisine and is a contributor to Miele Guide, a restaurant guide for Asia and to the Now Jakarta magazine.

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Food, Personal, Travel

Sydney I am in love

Welcome to Sydney the most populous city in Australia.  Its no surprised that this city was ranked 7th most economically important city and among the top 10 most liveable cities in the world. While New York or Paris are great tourist destinations, in my opinion Sydney is the better family holiday destination.  My 12 year old daughter is always excited about visiting Sydney which is only a three and a half hour drive from Canberra – and I can’t recall exactly how many times we have made the trip.

Each visit means an opportunity to relax and to take as many photos as I can , wherever I go. I enjoy having  a flexible schedule and just spending quality time with my family, especially with my daughter.  So I don’t mind if she wants to visit the Aquarium (yet again) or the Zoo – these are always on her “must do’ list.  However, this last trip, we skipped the Zoo.  As Sydney has so much to offer we often wander around jsust experiencing the different atmosphere in each part of the city.  We also took a ferry to visit our friend in Mosman.

When my husband was occupied at his company workshop, my daughter and I just explored the city. The Rocks area which a place full of unique spots and galleries is great for those that love the arts. The  Contemporary Art Museum is a must see.  A great variety of restaurants too. I am Indonesian and I was pleased to find excellent Indonesian restaurants there too (oh, heaven!). This city will always be in our hearts and I don’t doubt we’ll be back again soon.

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The Rocks
The Rocks
The Rocks
The Rocks

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Tiger costume
Tiger costume
Circular quay#Opera House
Circular quay#Opera House
Sailing
Sailing
Mosman
Mosman

Martin Place# Pitt Street

                                                                                                                                                                                             Martin Place# Pitt Street

Exterior design
Exterior design
Sydney Aquarium
Sydney Aquarium

Sydney Aquarium
Sydney Aquarium
Sydney Aquarium
Sydney Aquarium
Sydney Aquarium
Sydney Aquarium

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