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

Saturday, May 5, 2018

TooTooMoo Patisserie, Surabaya

Hello readers! Recently, my churchmates and I had a catch-up session at TooTooMoo Patisserie on Jl. Untung Suropati. TooTooMoo will be the first cafe you see on your left (if you come from Jl. Dr. Soetomo), and it's only a few blocks away from Black Barn and ORE Store. Going inside TooTooMoo, I was surprised to see the homeyness of this cafe. The setting doesn't look like a cafe at all. In fact, the original layout of a house remains unchanged (you know, a house with 'bathroom', 'living room', 'bedroom' and so on).

Above-left: Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie - IDR38,000
Sorry for being skeptical, but I chose to have smoothie instead of coffee here. The peanut butter and banana was well-balanced and the drink wasn't too thick nor diluted. The only thing I found annoying was that the crumbles got stuck easily in my straw.

Above-right: Hazelnut Frappe - IDR35,000
Didn't try it, but it looks so sinful indeed haha.

Mac & Cheese - IDR40,000
I couldn't finish it due too the excessive use of cheese here (funny how I said it's too cheesy while in fact it's called mac & cheese lol). I love that they threw in a few toasted garlic croutons inside the mac & cheese, making this dish more enjoyable to eat.

El Carnita Muy Loco - IDR65,000
One of my friends recommended this Tex-Mex dish which contained braised pork belly, salsa, veggie, lime sour cream, guacamole, chilli wrapped in the form of burrito. I was fascinated at how big and heavy the plate was! Haha. The wrap tasted quite yummy and there was a hint of spiciness that probably came from jalapeno.

Dark Chocolate Mousse - IDR33,000
Don't you agree with me that the 'thing' on top looks annoying? Haha. Each bite of the cake was filled with the goodness of quality chocolate. You might take some time to finish this cake as it could get very chocolatey.

L'Opera - IDR36,000
The cake had a dense and rich chocolate flavor combined with a hint of coffee in between layers of almond sponge cake. Did you notice what's on top of the fudge glaze? It's 24k gold baby!

Overall, TooTooMoo is a good choice if you fancy a gathering in quaint and homey atmosphere. You gotta try their cakes because it's their forte, really. All staffs were polite and catered to our needs. I will revisit this place for sure.

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Jl. Untung Suropati 63
Surabaya, Indonesia 60264
+6231-5688064
Opening hours: 9am - 10pm (Tue - Sun)
Closed on Mon

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Juicery, Singapore

A Juicery is a place selling cold pressed juice and coffee in the CBD area. The place is accessible within walking distance from Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Raffles Place MRT. It's precisely located on Lorong Telok, a small street across OCBC Centre. The place is decked out in soft pink color - small chance that you will miss out this place. As the name suggests, A Juicery sells various cold-pressed juices and coffee.




The menus come in the form of mirror and it's hung on pink-tiled walls. Instagenic!


Look at that pink La Marzocco coffee machine and pink flamingo! Don't you want to bring them home already?!


Strawberry Latte - $7
I'm not a juice person, so I opted for their coffee. I decided to try the strawberry latte. This menu was previously a secret menu (I presume it's no longer a secret as it was already listed on the menu board). The strawberry latte was pleasant - a good choice for those who are not into strong coffee. At some sips it somehow tasted like strawberry milk to me.

Overall, A Juicery is a place worth visiting when you are in CBD area. It's not a place to sit and chat for long given the small space (it's more like a to-go cafe), but don't let this deter you from visiting this place and taking Instagenic pics.

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21 Lorong Telok
Singapore 049033
+65-65331301
IG: ajuicery
Opening hours: 8.30am - 5pm (Mon - Fri)
Closed on Sat & Sun

Monday, April 16, 2018

Labore Coffee Eatery, Malang

Malang has always been my favorite city to have a short escape and do food hunting. Recently, I visited a cafe called Labore Coffee Eatery, which was recommended by a friend of mine in Malang. It's situated on the busy Jl. Soekarno Hatta. The road is two-way and it's not very wide, making it a little bit tricky to do the parking (especially if you come from the opposite direction).

The main entrance of the cafe is not visible from the front - basically you have to go toward the right side of the building, walk up straight until you find the main door (if you know Caturra Espresso in Surabaya, this entrance thingy concept is similar).

Personally speaking, I prefer cafes with minimalist interior and black, white and grey colors compared to cafes with colorful interior and girly decorations. This kind of cafe somehow gives hipster vibes and makes it look elegant.


Front: Pink Berry Monster Shake - IDR36,000
This pinky shake is made of milk, strawberry, ice cream, arbanat and mix berries compote. I dunno why but the presentation looks bizarre to me, especially those cotton candy strands. The milkshake itself tasted just okay and it was already sweet enough to drink on its own. Glad they had provided a big plate so drinking the shake wasn't a mess.

Back: Golden Gay Time Monster Shake - IDR36,000
This funny-sounding shake is made of milk, butter cookies, caramel and vanilla ice cream. While the presentation did look pretty, I found it too sweet for my liking.


Salted Egg Yolk Chicken - IDR34,000
When salted egg is on the menu, nothing else matters! To me, this is the best salted egg yolk chicken I have ever eaten in Indonesia - the taste is close enough to the one in Cui Xiang Yuan, my favorite salted egg chicken in Singapore. For the egg, you can opt for either half-done or well-done (of course I opted for the former haha). The chicken was tender and the runny sunny side up made this dish even more flavorful. I think that sunny side up looks so sexy that I have to score it a perfect 10.

Molten Lava Cakes - IDR32,000
It took so long for the cake to be served, and they never stated the estimated waiting time in the menu though. Anyway, the cake had moist texture and flowy warm chocolate lava. Perfect to end the dining experience.

The most Insta-worthy spot here is gotta be these huge-ass teddy bears located in a corner of this cafe. Don't leave the place without taking a pic with them!

Overall, I would suggest you guys to drop by Labore Coffee Eatery if you happen to be in Malang. The price range is a little bit steep for Malang standard, but if you compare to the Surabaya cafes of the same level, the food in Labore is considered cheap already. I'm gonna return for sure!

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Jl. Soekarno Hatta 25
Malang, Indonesia 65142
+6282143348955
Opening hours: 10am - 11pm (Tue - Sun)
Closed on Mon

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Blacflac, Surabaya

Container cafe is now a common sight in Indonesia, where cafes and takeaway stalls are set up in cargo-converted containers. If Seoul has Common Ground, Surabaya has Loop. Loop is one of my favorite places in Surabaya to take #ootd with container cafes. Fancy white, black, yellow, or blue background for your shot? Everything is settled here.


Trying to blend with the backgrounds hehe

Anyway, I'm not gonna talk further about Loop, but instead I will review a container cafe called Blacflac. In my opinion, Blacflac has the most interesting layout and background for ootd among the others so I decided to drop by for some morning caffeine kick. Coffee is never an excuse, no?

Blacflac also has outdoor and upstairs seating. The problem: it was scorching hot when I came, so nothing could get any better than the comfort of aircon. If I came in the evening, I wouldn't mind sitting outside.

Just head to the counter to place your order and the barista will later serve it to you


The place was empty so I could take many shots there haha

Iced Latte - IDR26,000
I found it weird to drink hot coffee inside a container (well actually it's just because of the hot weather), so my brother and I both ordered the iced version. The latte was light and refreshing, but it became plain after a while. It wasn't too acidic, great even for non coffee drinkers.

Iced Mocca - IDR28,000
The iced mocha featured strong chocolate taste that could be a little less overpowering. Ain't the best iced mocha I had, but nevertheless, I finished it until the last sip.




Overall, Blacflac had some hits and misses with their coffee, but they surely deserve another visit. Despite the small set up, Blacflac did a good job sprucing up the space to be Instagram-worthy. I won't mind making a trip far to the west for decent cuppa and hipster background hehe.

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Loop, Container 8
Jl. Mayjend Yono Soewoyo 100P
Surabaya, Indonesia 60213
IG: blacflac
Opening hours: 3pm - 11pm (Mon - Fri) // 7am - 1pm; 3pm - 11pm (Sat - Sun)