Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tea time at Bandung's Oza Tea House

Those visiting Indonesia's main cities will find an abundance of local and international coffee shops to choose from. The same cannot be said of teahouses.

Though Indonesia is one of the world's top 10 tea-producing countries, with 65% of its total production exported abroad, teahouses serving flavors of Indonesian tea are still far from popular.

Fortunately, for those longing to enjoy delicious Indonesian tea flavors in style, one teahouse in Bandung, West Java, provides both high-quality tea and classy surroundings.

Opened for business in January 2014, Oza Tea House, located at Jl. Diponegoro No. 25, greets visitors with tastefully packaged tea arranged on a table and cupboard near the entrance. Inside, visitors find homey wooden chairs and tables, a black piano, framed photographs of tea plantation owners and outdoor furniture painted white that blends well with the green atmosphere.

According to owner Oza Sudewa, Indonesians rarely enjoy their own country's high-quality tea, which is why he opened the teahouse.

“There is a long history behind Indonesian tea. Since 1835, before Indian tea and Chinese tea were popular, Indonesian tea was sold at auction houses in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Sadly, now most of our high-quality tea is exported and thus Indonesians rarely get to drink it," he said.

However, when TWG Tea, a Singapore-based tea company, opened a branch in Jakarta last year, Oza observed an opening in the domestic market.

"Tea as a global trend began in Europe in the 1980’s, followed by the United States in the 2000’s. In Indonesia, the same trend started when TWG launched its first branch in Jakarta," said Oza.

Optimistic about the growing market for tea, Oza decided to open a teahouse that would serve high-quality tea that struck a balance between pure, unmixed teas and blended concoctions.

“In Oza Tea House, guests can enjoy tea beyond their imagination. Other than flavored tea from Europe and China, we use local tea from a plantation in Ciwidey, West Java,” said Oza.

"Since 1835, before Indian tea and Chinese tea were popular, Indonesian tea was sold at auction houses in Amsterdam"

Signature offerings include the Silver Needle white tea, which is a premium selection of light, white tea served in a porcelain cup. Priced at Rp 55,000 (US$4.69), the antioxidants in the tea offer many health benefits, making it the right choice for those wanting to relax after just a few sips.

Sparkling aged tea is said to be favorite among customers preferring a cocktail-style tea experience. A mix of three-week fermented teas, lemon and sparkling water, the tea is served in a flute glass and is priced at Rp 33,000.

Those looking to sample Indonesian-style tea can try Hugo Victor (priced at Rp 33,000) which is inspired by a popular local beverage called STJM -- an acronym for the Indonesian words for the ingredients inside: milk, egg, honey and ginger. The tea is served in a cocktail glass and the beverage consists of morning spirit tea from China and egg yolks stirred with sugar into a foam.

A mixology concept called sutra ungu (purple silk) is also appealing due to its purple color. Priced at Rp 29,000, sutra ungu is a mix of chamomile tea and syrup, with a slice of floating orange and cherry added as garnishes.

In addition to sipping tea on site, Oza Tea House welcomes customers to buy packaged tea to take home. With prices ranging from Rp 39,000 to Rp 89,000 per package, premium selections include Silver Needle white tea, Dewata TGFOP, the exquisite blend Morning Spirit and Fruit Dream.

Oza Tea House also serves light meals to complement its selection of teas.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New magical parade enlivens Bandung's theme park

Trans Studio Bandung is offering a new-concept parade to add more excitement to its indoor theme park's entertainment.

The so-called Magical Parade of Zoo Crew highlights the journey of Trans Studio Bandung's Zoo Crew consisting of its four icons: Monty the hippo, Monica the adorable kitten, Maung the tiger leader and Kenny the shy turtle.

According to Trans Studio Bandung head of marketing communication Triya Filia Santi, the parade's new concept includes the use of lanterns on the floats as well as more surprising acts and colorful sparkling costumes.

"The parade starts with the Monica Magical Float accompanied with the sparkle of glow-in-the-dark fairies, bow dancers, a lantern carousel, a magician and stilt dancers who bring us to the wonderful world of Monica," said Triya.

Witnessing the parade myself, my excitement started to build upon hearing the loud siren that marked the beginning of the parade and saw visitors immediately position themselves on the side of the park's pathway.

When it finally started, all those bubbles, the fire eaters, the glow-in-the-dark costumes and the colorful lanterns were so dreamy and enchanting.

The approximately 20-minute parade ended with an equally enchanting show of Arilia the Mermaid.

Visitors can catch the Magical Parade of Zoo Crew at Trans Studio Bandung on Jl. Gatot Subroto No. 289 every day at 4 p.m.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Five cool restaurants for Sunday brunch in Bandung

With Bandung's endless list of eateries, it’s difficult to pick which ones to hit on your weekend break in town.

No worries. The Jakarta Post Travel has picked five great places to go for a fun Sunday brunch in Bandung, each with its own niche.

Miss Bee Providore

Situated around the Ciumbuleuit area at Jl. Rancabentang No. 11a, this newly opened restaurant is where you should go for a posh and happening brunch atmosphere for the whole family. With the buzz of the new restaurant, expect long lines.

Miss Bee Providore occupies a large old house from the colonial era that has been renovated to feel rustic and homey yet modern and chic.

The restaurant also features two children's playgrounds that will make both parents and children happy; a glass house where the open beverage bar is located; a small store selling cookies, lemonade and an array of well-designed home living items; and a quite large front yard.

The glass house and the al fresco dine-in spots are perfect for those wishing to dine overlooking the yard -- though it can be pretty hot during day time.

Miss Bee Providore offers mostly Western dishes with a few fusion Asian foods. Its recommended dishes include the "Bee Favorite" of Feeling O'Fish Sandwich (priced at Rp 59,500), which is basically a battered fish burger with tangy tartar sauce and lettuce; battered and crispy fried Portobello mushroom (Rp 44,500); a classic fish and chips (Rp 54,500); and a milkshake topped with KitKat called Kitty Kat (Rp 39,500).

The restaurant is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Do book prior to your visit to cut your waiting time.

Bumi Sangkuriang

Located at Jl. Kiputih No. 12, this restaurant has a long history as a place for relaxation during the colonial era. In the past, it had a club house for preanger planters (a term used for plantation owners) to take it easy during weekends.

Occupying a vast site that includes a small forest and a wide green field, Bumi Sangkuriang has a children's playground, outdoor pool and pool bar in addition to its restaurant. In short, it's a perfect place to spend the weekend brunching while taking a dip in the pool or letting the children wander freely on the field.

Its palatable choices of Indonesian and Western dishes such as nasi goreng (fried rice), bitterballen, fresh fruit juices and various steaks means you will have plenty of options to pick for brunch. And, best of all, the prices are quite affordable, starting from Rp 31,000 (US$2.59) for its famous Nasi Goreng Bumi Sangkuriang.

The restaurant opens as early as 7 a.m.

Little Subway

Last April, Little Subway at Jl. Maulana Yusuf No. 2 launched a series of Scandinavian fusion dishes, such as gravadlax and fermented herring called surstromming that are quite unique options for your Sunday brunch.

During the restaurant’s grand opening, guests were invited to sample the grilled sandwich with egg, oysters and cheese, squid with beetroot puree and a really delicious orange cake for dessert.

Other than Scandinavian fusion dishes, Little Subway also offers a variety of Indonesian and Western dishes that are quite nice too.

As for the venue, its semi-lounge concept is also attractive with a casual but cool and happening ambiance that makes for a perfect lazy and relaxing late brunch accompanied with a bottle of cold beer.

Mom's Bakery

Located at Jl. Progo No. 18, Mom’s Bakery makes its own array of healthy breads and cakes without any preservatives.

It is the place to go for gluten free sandwiches paired with a nice cup of tea or coffee. The price for a sandwich starts at Rp 35,000 and customers can choose their own preference of bread, the filling vegetables as well as the sauces or the dressing.

For newcomers, popular items include smoked salmon sandwich (priced at Rp 58,500), cheese whole grain bread (Rp 8,500), almond croissant (Rp 27,500) and guilt-free baked whole grain pita chips.

What's also great about Mom's Bakery is that when you order a beverage, it will come with an adorable mini cupcake.

Since the dine-in space at Mom's Bakery is rather limited, it is a good idea to come after breakfast or lunch hour.

Rasa Bakery

Rasa Bakery is one of Bandung's legendary bakeries that has been around for decades. A typical scene in this eatery is families coming in large groups containing three generations – all looking to savor its lasting delicacies.

Other than being famous for its bread, Rasa Bakery is also known for their delicious ice cream and an array of dine-in dishes from Indonesian to fusion Western, Japanese and Chinese.

Among its favorite dishes are various styles of fried rice, laksa, lontong kari (chicken in coconut soup served with rice cake and crackers), kerupuk oncom (crackers served with oncom sambal), Es Cincau Rasa, chicken wings and choices of Rasa Bakery's favorite ice cream flavors, such as Royale Coconut (priced at Rp 27,500).

The Royale Coconut, which comes in a coconut bowl with fresh cut fruit, is a fun dessert to share with your loved ones while happily ending your Sunday brunch.

Do notice that Rasa Bakery encourages cash payment and thus only accepts credit cards for purchases above Rp 250,000.

Rasa Bakery is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.