04 September 2015

Exploring Le Gran Cafe and Aoki Japanese Cuisine at Gran Mahakam Hotel

Gran Mahakam Hotel  
Jln. Mahakam I no.6, 
Blok M, 
Jakarta 12130
Tel: +6221-7209-966 
E-mail: dopr@granmahakam.com; pro@granmahakam.com

Blok M area is not a new place for me. I had the moments when I took a bus from the station and shopped around the malls there. My previous office was located in the area too. And Gran Mahakam Hotel is not so strange for me because I had taken my previous clients to have the business meetings in the restaurants of the hotel. When I received the invitation to have a Dinner Gathering in the hotel, all of the sudden, all the good memories return to my mind. I am so excited to feel the old atmosphere again.

As I enter the hotel, I can feel that there is nothing change there. It still feels the same way. So homy and comfortable. I always love the warm feeling I get in its lobby.

As I go up to the function room where the event is held, I can see some of the hotel guests are relaxing their mind by sitting comfortably at the couch in the lobby that feels like our living room in our house.

The Gran Mahakam Hotel is designed in the European-baroque-style architecture, so you feel like going to an old building in most of the places in Europe. The hotel is a boutique style hotel which means that guests can expect an intimate atmosphere when they stay here.

The hotel holds the Dinner Gathering to introduce the signature food of the two restaurants in the hotel, Le Gran Cafe and Aoki Japanese Cuisine. Le Grand Cafe is known for its superb International Buffet and Indonesian Cuisines, while Aoki Japanese Cuisine is known for its authentic Japanese food.

The event is started with a Blind Food Tasting. The hotel team prepares Putu Mayang - the traditional Indonesian snack, Sushi roll and Raspberry Sorbet. What we should do is to guess the ingredients of the food. I know what kind of food I eat, but I give the wrong name for the first food - I named it with one of Indonesian singers Mayang Sari, and I can not describe the ingredients of the Sushi and the Sorbet. Damn! I fail! LOL!
What I learn so far from this session is that our eyes is the main source of our taste. Once we close our eyes, our tongue and mouth might know what kind of food we eat, but our brain can not explain the ingredients of the food that we eat. Amazing experience!
That is the reason why they say "Eyes are the windows of the heart" and "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Ladies and gentlemen, our eyes are the key to our joy and happiness, so please take care of them.
(The photo is taken from Billy's camera).

OK, it is time to eat with open eyes :-D


Gado-Gado Padang 
(Mixed vegetables with the signature Padang peanut sauce on top)

The sauce is delicious that I and my food buddy, Billy, request for the second bowl of sauce. The taste of the sauce is sweet and fresh, and I guess it fits the taste in the tongue of both Asian and Western people. This is one of the best food that night.

Fresh Crab Hand Roll 
(Crab meat wrapped in soy paper with fresh tuna on top)

The unique thing about this food is that you can eat the crispy soy paper. There is an art to eat this food. You need to start from the bottom until you reach the top of it where you can find the tuna. So exciting!


Soto Padang 
(Angel hair, potato, jerked beef served in the signature soup from West Sumatra)

The broth from the soup is delicious and warm. This soup is good for those who like rich taste in a bowl. You need to try its delicious chilly sauce / sambal that is placed inside a mini green bowl from a lime. Don't worry about the taste of the sambal, I think it has been adjusted to meet Westerners standard of hotness :-D
Don't forget to pour the lime to the soup to add the feeling of fresh and juicy, and to eat the pink crackers to feel the kampung or village moment from the bowl.
You can order the soup and combine it with rice. Hot soup and hot rice are the best friend for a rainy day :-)


Nasi Daun Jeruk 
(Rice with lime leaves served with ayam masereh; shredded chicken with chili sauce, mixed vegetables with anchovies, squid with green chili sauce, jerked beef, satay, dried potato and our signature peanut brittle)

Special flavored rice with many assorted Indonesian side dishes of meat and vegetables! Perfect for those who are really hungry. This is unique for me as the one I usually eat in a special occasion is Nasi Kuning or Yellow Rice, and its yellow color is from turmeric. The rice I eat in the gathering is Nasi Daun Jeruk or Lime Leaves Rice, and its green color is from the leaves, so I can call it Green Rice. This Green Rice can be used as an alternative to replace Yellow Rice when the chef is running out of turmeric :-)
Forget about ordinary steak and other meat with their basic sauces and condiments. This dish is good if you want to sample the spices in Indonesia that are mixed in the food, such as lemongrass (Sereh) and chilies. Like the rainbow, you can find many colors of Indonesia from this dish. From salty to savory, from sweet to spicy. I think this is the best signature food from the hotel.
By the way, Yellow Rice in Indonesia is only available when we celebrate special occasion and ceremony. It is made in a cone-shaped like mountain just like this dish, but in a bigger size, with banana leaf on its base. We also call it Nasi Tumpeng. In 2014, the Indonesian Government awarded Nasi Tumpeng as the official national dish of Indonesia, and describe it as "the dish that binds the diversity of Indonesian various culinary traditions".

Truffle Beef Bowl 
(Japanese slices marinated beef sprinkled with the finest Truffle sauce and scallion served on steamed Japanese rice)

After all the spicy food I eat, this dish neutralizes all aspects of my taste buds. The sweetness of the Truffle sauce can turn the rock n' roll music in mouth to a romantic song. The dish is good enough for a fan of sweet and savory. The stickiness of the Japanese rice is perfect. And I start to slow down everything, because my belly is so full :-))


Es Tape Hijau 
(Mixed of tape ketan, tape singkong, kopyor, kolang kaling with milk, coconut milk and syrup)

The duo of fermented sticky rice and fermented cassava are dominating the taste of this dessert. The interesting strong aroma from the fermented ingredients and the sweetness of other fruits and syrups are good combination to freshen my throat after I eat so many kind of food. The naturally occurring coconut mutant (Kopyor) and the fruit of sugar palm tree (Kolang Kaling) add freshness to the dessert. Check out the color, very pinky! The traditional shaved ice can show you that Indonesia has its own version of ice cream :-D

Mochi Ice Cream 
(Japanese confection made from mocha - pounded sticky rice - with green tea ice cream filling) 

For a fan of ice cream and not too sweet dessert, this is a good choice for you. The ice cream is very smooth and the sticky rice balances the coldness in the dessert.

The night is still young as we realize that all the people who attend the dinner gathering get many special prizes from the hotel and a sponsor.

The hotel gives a Teddy Bear and a brunch voucher for two people. The Teddy Bear is definitely mine! And the voucher will be given to special people in my life. Who are they? I will update you later ya :-)
The other sponsor in the gathering, Code Hunter application from Alternative Media Group, gives Nescafe Dolce Gusto - the coffee maker. Oh my God! I had been wanting this coffee maker for so long, and finally my dream comes true. Woho!
Code Hunter is a code hunting games application in the smartphones that can be downloaded from the Google Play and App Store. There will be reward for the hunters who are able to collect the most points through the certain media they see. The coffee maker is a part of the rewards, and the biggest prize is a car and motorcycles. So if you want to get many gifts in your life, you can download the app in your smartphones. Good luck!

Going home with a satisfied belly, a Teddy Bear, a brunch voucher at Gran Mahakam Hotel and a Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee maker from Code Hunter app, I just can't deny the joy and happiness I get from the gathering :-)

Thank you, Gran Mahakam Hotel and Code Hunter app from Alternative Media Group, for a night of joy...

Have a great dining, everyone!

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