Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Koono Gelati Artigianale, Malang

Fancy having some international-standard gelato but with traditional Indonesian tastes? Then you definitely have to try Koono Gelato on Jl. Bromo Malang. Koono Gelato occupies a colonial-style house. Maybe that's why it's called 'Koono' (read: kuno), which translates to 'ancient/oldies' in English.




They have an open kitchen for customers to witness how the gelato is being produced from scratch. FYI, Koono Gelato only uses fresh and natural ingredients, no preservative and artificial colorings involved.

This is their menu board. Strictly gelato, mineral water and soft drinks are sold here.


As I have mentioned before, Koono's main selling point is gelato with traditional Indonesian flavors. Where else can you find tape singkong keju or rujak gobet gelato?

Taro, Strawberry Milk & Straciatella Gelato - IDR 25,000 (medium size)
These three flavors belong to regular category, while there is the premium one which costs IDR7,000 more expensive. There was only one premium flavor available that day, which was ricotta cheese. The medium size allows you to have 3 flavors in a cup, in which my parents chose taro, strawberry milk and straciatella. The gelato, however, melted very quickly. The taro and strawberry milk flavors tasted ordinary. Meanwhile, I love the straciatella flavor, which is milk-based ice cream embedded with crunchy chocolate shavings.


Rocky Road, Regal & Peanut Butter Gelato - IDR 25,000 (medium size)
I decided to stick with conventional flavors without having any intention of underestimating the local ones. I was hoping to find marshmallows in my rocky road gelato (there are supposedly marshmallows inside rocky road right?), but I couldn't find any, so I was a little disappointed. It was rich with chocolate nonetheless. The Regal flavor was yummy with that taste resembling real Regal biscuit. The star was the peanut butter flavor, which was creamy and had distinct nutty taste.


Koono Gelati Artigianale, Malang Apart from good-tasting gelato, Koono Gelato also offers a cozy and Instagrammable hangout space for both family and youngsters. Every corner is designed to adorn your Instagram feed, especially the purple flower decors on the outdoor walls. Well, all the best for Koono Gelato and I will definitely revisit this place the next time I'm back in Malang!

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Jl. Bromo 19
Malang, Indonesia 65119
+6281231199966
IG: koonogelato
Opening hours: 12pm - 9pm (Tue - Sun)
Closed on Mon

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

BlackBarn Coffee, Surabaya

Getting bored with the usual atmosphere in coffee shop? If so, you should try this cafe called BlackBarn, located on Jl. Untung Suropati, between TooTooMoo and ORE. The place is not big, but you can choose to sit in indoor or outdoor areaa. Actually, I have once come here before, but in my previous visit I came at night and I didn't manage to take pics. This time, I could take many pics since I came in the afternoon.

The outdoor space can get very hot in the daytime


There is a coin-operated virtual dart machine that you can play with too




The atmosphere inside is really unique, different from common coffee shops whose interiors are usually bright and monochrome. Here, it's dimly-lit and full of tribal-style decorations like dreamcatcher and antler wall mount.

Sarsaparilla - IDR25,000
Isn't it uncommon to see a drink like this in a coffee shop? The sarsaparilla is put inside beer bottle - you can drink it directly from the bottle or pour the drink into a glass of ice cube. For those who may not know, sarsaparilla is a kind of soft drink made from a mixture of sarsaparilla plant stem and soda. Some people call this is Javanese coke haha. It tasted cool and kinda sweet, like drinking coke with sweet and sour flavors.

Iced Lychee Tea - IDR27,000
This one tasted refreshing. The lychee flavor was noticeable and there were 2 fresh lychee fruits inside.

Caffe Mocca - IDR31,000
Since it's a coffee shop, coffee is a must-order for me! I ordered their hot mocha. Not the best one I had, but it was decent with faint chocolate flavor.

BlackBarn Friedrice - IDR38,000
Wanting to eat rice, my cousin ordered fried rice which was served with fried overeasy egg, beef kebab satay and crackers. It tasted really salty! My cousin told the staff about it and the staff offered her to replace with the new one. The new one tasted better. The soy sauce tasted dominant and there was generous chicken meat inside the fried rice. No comment for the satay, it tasted weird and salty.

Shakshuka - IDR38,000
I thought the shakshuka would be served on hotplate, until it was served on a normal plate. The egg was baked with tomato sauce and mushroom then served with grated cheese and garlic bread. It tasted yummy although not very filling. It reminded me of lasagna minus the eggy taste.

Spaghetti Meatball - IDR39,000
I initially underestimated the small portion, but it turned out pretty filling. The tomato sauce was a bit too sweet to me. The pasta was al dente. There were 3 pieces of beef meatball, all of which suffered from the same condition: too salty.

Overall, I enjoyed my time at BlackBarn listening to slow country music in the background (I felt like I was in Texas lol). The prices here are practically reasonable given the central location (good news, there are no tax and service charge here). The atmosphere is cool and they have quick wi-fi, plus the strains of slow country music that is very supportive. Oh ya, this also a good place to bring your friends too, because they offer beer by bottle and tower at night. God bless this barn!

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Jl. Untung Suropati 79
Surabaya, Indonesia 60264
+6231-5671066
Opening hours: 11am - 10.30pm (Mon - Thu) // 11am - 11.30pm (Fri - Sun)

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Dusk Blue, Bali

Bali has no lack of good cafes, and this includes in Sanur area. Dusk Blue is not an ordinary cafe as it also offers a variety of merchandise for sale. Another thing I like about Dusk Blue is its location. This cafe is situated on a quiet street that leads to the beach. It's a perfect place to retreat from the hustle and bustle of Bali island life - very contradicting from the vibrant Seminyak and Kuta, I would say.



The interior is simple and unpretentious with dominant pastel blue color (as the name suggests). The ambiance is soothing and it reminds you of home. With wooden tables in white and fluffy pillows on the sofas, it's an ideal place for those who wish to do some work in peace.

Salt and pepper sauce dishes were served on wooden tray with a tiny spoon. So cute!

Chocolate Milkshake - IDR38,000
It's a drink that will not let chocolate lovers down. The chocolate milkshake was thick and gooey. It was spiked with bold chocolate flavor that wasn't too sweet or too bitter.

Organic Farm Eggs Any Style with Bacon - IDR50,000
For breakfast, I had a plate of scrambled eggs with sourdough, bacon and butter. The scrambled egg was fluffy and not heavily seasoned. This way, it's easier for you to adjust the flavor to your preference with salt and pepper that are provided separately on sauce dishes (I have posted the pic earlier above). The proteins went really well with the sourdough bread too. Toasted to a slight crisp, the toast made good company to the lightly-salted bacon and eggs.

Smoothie Bowl - IDR60,000
They also have smoothie bowl in the menu, although only one variant is available. The pink pitaya blend is topped with granola and sliced fruits (banana, strawberry, blueberry, mango and green apple) for a jumble of textures. It wasn't the best smoothie bowl I had tried in Bali, but it made me feel good nonetheless.


Overall, Dusk Blue is one homey cafe worth visiting in Sanur. As long as you are armed with Google Maps, you are good to go. I would suggest you to come here by motorbike since the lane is relatively narrow and you might find difficulty in parking your car.

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Jl. Duyung 3, Sanur
Bali, Indonesia 80228
+628113985611
IG: duskblue_bali
Opening hours: 8am - 7pm


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Makmu, Surabaya

If you grow up in Surabaya or have been living in Surabaya long enough, you must be familiar with the word 'makmu'. It literally means 'your mom', and we Surabayans use this word to express our disapproval or dissatisfaction. Okay, actually it's considered a profanity lol. However, in this post I'm going to review a kind of food court called Makmu. I'm really amazed at how a swear word is used as a business name haha.

The food court is non aircon-ed, thus it feels warm inside. There is a small aircon-ed section, but it often functions as private room for events and group bookings. There are many stalls to choose from - most stalls sell Indonesian food and snack though. Oh ya, here you are required to order at the stall, where you will be given an order card to be brought and paid at the cashier. You can also order drinks at the cashier by the way.

Mojito Strawberry - IDR15,000
It tasted just like strawberry syrup with soda and lime. Refreshing!

Iced Latte Mocha - IDR15,000
Totally regretted ordering this. It tasted like cold milk with very little coffee syrup and lots of liquid sugar. There wasn't any hint of chocolate at all (oh please, this is mocha latte dude). Well, couldn't complain since it's only IDR15,000.

Mie Kuah Kleneng - IDR18,000
My friend got attracted to try the noodle from Mi Pecut stall. It's just simple egg noodle cooked in spicy soup with a few pieces of siomay. If you are a fan of spicy food, you will like the soup - but to me, it's devilishly spicy!

Fish & Chips
It's indeed fish and chips, but don't expect to get one big fillet of fish. Instead, you will be served bite-sized fish with a small amount of fries. The batter tasted sweet, I felt like eating goreng pisang lol.

Beef Pepper Rice - IDR25,000
Since I wanted something heavy, I got myself this beef pepper rice from a stall whose name containing the word 'plate'. Yes, it's another budget version of Pepper Lunch haha. For IDR25,000, this dish was not bad. The beef slice was generous and the seasoning was quite good.


Martabak Manis Mini Ovomaltine Keju Kacang - IDR40,000
If you fancy having some martabak asin or manis aka terang bulan, head to the martabak booth right  next to the entrance. I tried their martabak manis mini with ovomaltine, cheese and peanut. Eh, it turned out really good! It tasted very cheesy but in a good way, resulting from the use of premium cheese. The Ovomaltine spread could be more generous, but it tasted so yummy to eat together with the cheese and nut. By the way, look at the takeaway box, isn't it too cute?

Overall, Makmu is one of the better hang out places in Rungkut area. You can consider this place to 'bukber' (buka bersama) with your colleagues, friends or family. Just be ready with the crowd and be ready to park your car a few meters away from the location.

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Jl. Rungkut Kidul 4/M-32 (MERR)
Surabaya, Indonesia 60293
+6282141376535
IG: makmu_sby
Opening hours: 11am - 11pm (Mon - Fri) // 9am - 11pm (Sat) // 8am - 11pm (Sun)

Friday, May 18, 2018

COO Bistro & Boutique Hostel, Singapore

Hi peeps! This will be my very first accommodation review on my blog. The place I will be talking about is just so cool and I think it deserves a mention here. Ever since I had graduated (no longer a student pass holder in Singapore, sigh), I always stayed in hotels/hostels. When travelling solo, I would rather stay in hostels than hotels. Why? Because I'm broke. Haha actually it's because I don't want to spend so much on accommodation when I only spend less than 7 hours in it.

In Singapore, I have stayed in a hostel before and it was my first experience sharing room with strangers. The place wasn't very impressive to me - enough to refrain me from considering hostel as my accommodation again. But this time I would be going to Singapore in December, which was peak season and most hotel rooms were charged at least $80 (what I mean here is budget hotels). Thankfully, I stumbled upon this hostel called COO Bistro & Boutique Hostel while browsing Traveloka. I saw many good reviews about this hostel on TripAdvisor, so without further ado I immediately booked a bedspace for 4 nights. Now let me tell you more about what COO has in store.

Location
Don't you agree that location is one of the most crucial things to consider before booking an accommodation? I had learned my lesson - the hostel I previously stayed at is located quite far from MRT station (I'm not saying it's ulu. 2-3 bus stops away from MRT doesn't qualify as 'nearby' to me) - so this time I wanted to choose hostel with 1 bus stop away from MRT at the farthest. COO is located on 259 Outram Road, quite a central location and it can be reached within 15 minutes walk or 1 stop bus ride from and to Outram Park MRT station. The bus stop to MRT is just across the hostel while the one you alight at from MRT is behind (refer to Google Maps for details). Most of the time, I was lazy to walk/take bus to MRT station (no la, I was actually just too tired to walk), so I relied heavily on Grab that could conveniently pick me up by the hostel's doorstep. A trip from COO to Orchard (I usually dropped by Somerset) would cost $8 for a 15-minute trip with Grab.

First Impression
I took a cab from Changi Airport straight to COO, and frankly speaking the driving direction to there was quite confusing to the cabbies (to make it worse, I'm not familiar with the area and furthermore, I'm a tourist you know *flips hair*). Lol I dunno how to describe it, you should drive there and see whether you can easily navigate your way there. COO itself looks catchy from outside and it has futuristic vibes. I thought I had made the right choice to stay here right from the start.

The Room
I booked a bed space in a 6-bed female ensuite dorm (it's called 'Me+5 Ensuite Female). There are options of 4, 6 and 8-bed, female only or mixed, with or without ensuite bathroom. If you are traveling with friends, it's better to book the whole ensuite dorm for yourselves.

The room is not spacious but the room in my previous hostel is narrower. You can put your luggage against the wall under the towel hanger (refer to above pic) or under the lower bunk bed. The window was kept closed so the room looked rather dim. I didn't know whether it was bright or dark outside haha.

Oh ya, there is no conventional room key here. Instead, we will be given a waterproof rubber wristband that functions as the room key. You can literally wear it everywhere, even when you are sleeping and showering. This way, you will not forget where you put your key. How cool and convenient is that!

I was assigned to one lower bunk bed close to the bathroom. The bed and pillows are super comfortable! They are firm yet fluffy, and the bed size is just perfect for a single person. The centralized aircon was kinda cold, but thankfully there was a thick blanket that kept me warm throughout the night. There is a reading light above the bed, and of course power point with small space to put your phone. I love how I could charge and use my phone while laying down on my bed (yes I rely heavily on my phone haha).

Facilities
I felt relieved that COO had the option of ensuite room (room with attached toilet and shower) because tbh I disliked shared bathroom since it got dirty easily. Well, this is still a shared bathroom, but at least the number of people I share the bathroom with is lesser and I don't have to leave my room to use it. I was surprised that the bathroom smelled good when I came, the floor was dry and the water heater worked perfectly. It was really beyond my idea of shared bathroom. Shampoo, shower gel and hand soap are provided as well. There was hair dryer too, but I didn't use it as the sound would disturb others.


Every individual pod has a personal locker with ample space to store your belongings. It's safe to store your valuables here as this locker also functions as a safe deposit box with combination lock system. It also has small mirror and another power point (yoohoo!). Complimentary towel for guests will be stored here and to get your deposit back you need to return the towel upon check-out.

Bringing heavy luggage to your room is hassle-free as lift is provided. The lift is uber cool! It looks like normal door as it has handle outside. You just pull the door to enter the lift and push to get outta it. I felt like going inside a time machine while using it (sorry I'm just being hyperbolic). The lift interior looks so futuristic that I can't help but keep taking mirror selfies inside the lift haha.

Oh, have I mentioned that breakfast is included in the room price? Yay! The breakfast is served at COO Bistro from 7am to 9.30am. From 10am, the place will ‘transform’ to a bistro that is opened to public. I only ate breakfast here once as on the other days I woke up late after the breakfast time had ended. Everything is self-service here, you even have to put your dirty dishes in a special box.

Sorry for the blurry pic, I forgot to take pics of the food so I just screenshot from my Snapchat

The breakfast spread consists of sliced bread with choices of peanut butter or jam, pastries, waffles (which were cold and tough), cereals and beverages like orange juice, fresh milk, coffee and tea. It was decent, enough to energize myself before going out exploring the city.

Service
The front staff was welcoming right from my arrival (oh dear, I forgot her name). She was very friendly and gladly assisted me when I had an issue with my locker. Another staff that assisted me with the check-out process was also hospitable and she let me store my luggage at lobby until I had to leave for airport at 4pm. The check-in and check-out process went very smoothly without taking too long.

Verdict
Overall, I had a wonderful stay at COO. I had made the right choice to stay here for sure. Staying in a hostel is a contradiction to staying in a hotel, whereby in hostel I need to be more independent, be amicable to other guests and staffs, and take care of my personal belongings as I'm sharing the room. By the way, I have written so much until I didn't realize I have yet talking about the price haha. I paid IDR1,354,000 for 4 nights, which means the nightly rate is IDR338,500. At approximately S$32.70 per night in a 6-bed female dorm with ensuite bathroom, it definitely saved me so much $$, allowing myself to spend more on other things (okay I ended up spending more $$ on food than accommodation lol). I highly recommend COO to everybody (not only the budget-conscious or backpackers) - this is a perfect place for you to stay whether you are travelling solo or in group.

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259 Outram Road
Singapore 169056
+65-62217060
IG: www.instagram.com/staycoosg