Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Namaaz Fun Dining

Hello loves! It's been quite sometimes that I post about food (or post anything, in fact. whoops.) but the molecular gastronomy experience I had with my girl Clarissa last night at Namaaz Dining was too good to just pass it off as a mere Instagram post. The details of the entire 17 courses of genuine Indonesian cuisine was beyond elaborate and wasn't it extremely delicious! We were mind blown, literally. Rule of thumb when dining there: what you see is not what you get and most importantly, have fun! I fell in love straightaway with the concept as nowadays, most of the times in every aspects of life, what we see IS what we get.. and somehow I feel that it dulls our creativity and sense of imagination, leading to lack of excitement of life and new discoveries, then boredom, anxieties, depression, oh, well you name it.

Anyways, enough with me digging over the concept and trying to be deep and philosophical and most of all the round depressing  (that was awkward.. but nevermind) and let us take you through the visual journey of Namaaz Fun Dining Vol. III to entice your mind and tease your taste buds! Let's start with the sets of appetizers, shall we?

Markisa Soda
This is not raw breakfast eggs you muscle builders drink, oh you protein addicts. Remember the rule of thumb always through this journey : what you see is not what you get. Instead of eggs, these "eggs" are actually a passion fruit bomb, a truly sweet beginning to much more to this wonderful meal. To enjoy, pop in the white soda pills and gulp down the "egg" in a manner similar to how we savor oyster.

Sate Lilit
Up next is the Balinese mackerel satay dolled up as a Popsicle, wrapped up around the normal grocer's ice cream stick. The lovely violet hue is actually red cabbage that topped up the mackerel. How is that done? No idea, it just show how much of a genius Andrian Ishak, the chef, is in implementing his 'Bjork' cooking style.

Martabak Telur
SO excited to see this appetizer coming to our table. It is a playoff from the tradition Indonesian egg murtabak in the form of fluffy croissant-like puff pastry with a baby food kind of jar filled with the egg yolk cooked using the sous-vide method for two hours, producing a gooey indulgence that I wish will never end. It is topped with the pearly egg whites caviar that adds the kick to the dish and made it my favorite appetizer so far.

Sop Buntut
Ohh, wait a minute. This may have just trumps the martabak. It is a twist on the classic Indonesian oxtail soup. The oxtail is dehydrated into the brown strings-like compound while the rice and bone marrow is liquified into the creamy paste piped as a line across the bowl. The soup itself is then poured after using an english teapot and I must say it was the best oxtail soup I have ever had to date!

Bebek Cabe Rawit

Excitement truly builds up as the journey of the courses developed. The next appetizer plated in the traditional Indonesian rock bowl used normally to smash up chillies into paste, of course, is not just chilli as it appears since Chef Adrian surely have no means in burning our tongues and let smoke pass through our nostrils and ears just yet. It is true that the outer layer is in fact, the skin of a large size chilli but it has passed surgery and now its contents along with its spicy seeds had been removed and replaced with finely minced, almost pureed duck ..... and was the duck flavor so, so intense. YUM.

Famous among Indonesians, Malaysians and Singaporeans is the dish that comes after that fine duck dish, the fruit rojak that now appears like some sort of dessert. Much to our amusement, Chef Adrian explained that the foam is actually papaya while the frozen yam "cake" is filled with goodies ready to be cracked up open like a pinata, revealing the melted brown sugar underneath the confetti of fruits which is then ready to be mashed up with the peanut sauce to enjoy. Whoa.

the rojak "cake" cracked up open.

AND NOW .. (drumrolls please) it's time for the maincourses! First up is indeed the most impressive dish to me out of all the seventeen in terms of visual presentation and taste.

Paha Ikan
Quoting directly from the chef himself, only at Namaaz Dining you can find exotic fishies that has thighs. Yes, you have guessed correctly, it is certainly not the average chicken drumstick. In fact, this chicken lolly is the Chinese influenced steamed fish dressed in sweet soy sauce! I was just too impressed. Just look at it, oh, just look.

The fish is so succulent, delicate and juicy that it felt that it just melts in your mouth. Such perfection.

and much to my excitement, there's actually chicken bones inside the fish. This winner fish must had eaten a chicken dinner. Yes, lousy pun truly intended. Excuse me for that.

Tongseng Kambing

Coming up next is the pretty looking yet deceiving white chocolate bar. Instead of expecting a sweet sensation to spring up from it, you are actually up for a truly delicious savoury dish, the coconut based mutton soup! The mutton is hidden inside the coconut milk shell disguised as the white chocolate dish. How smart indeed, we were just speechless.

the white choc bar, melted just seconds after the hot soup is poured down onto it.

the end product, the mutton coconut based soup!
Udang Telur Asin
Not yet done with feeding us with marvelously delicious goodies, Chef Adrian's next dish was the Chinese style salted egg prawn. Wait a minute... where's the salted egg though? It's the noodle, loves! The wonderful thing about this noodle is, it's actually instant noodle - the nation's favourite (my favourite for sure, I ate so much of them it's not even funny) - upgraded. Instead of three minutes cooking time for the normal Indomie to be ready, Namaaz Instant Noodle brand only takes three seconds (!), served cold like soba. Talking about speed of light here.

How is that done? Well, all we know was that Chef Adrian piped down something like mayonnaise to a glass of ice cold water and suddenly the instant noodle which is actually salted egg is ready. Conclusion: it is done with magic, tada! And this dish is definitely magical to our taste buds as well.

Steak Rendang
Last but not least of the dishes that belongs to the main course category is this wonderful western style steak married with the Indonesian rendang.  The red piece of meat itself was sous-vided for two hours (if we remember it correctly.. sorry Chef we were just too excited to enjoy the meal!) to a medium well perfection up to the very core, which then is served with the dehydrated rendang sauce that now looks like brown sprinkles, sauteed morning glory and coconut milk foam. Heavenly through every slice, mmhhhmmm.

Marshmallow Klappertart
Sad knowing that this wonderful molecular gastronomy meal is coming to an end but at the same time oh-so-excited since it's dessert (well, who is not excited for desserts?!), the parade of the last section of the meal hence begins with this marshmallow klappertart camouflaged as a Chinese New Year orange.

When the orange is 'peeled', it then revealed the marshmallow core wrapped with the klappertart. And no, please, pretty please, don't eat the leaf, it's not candy, it's pure leaf. Let's just be good customers and not get all involved in a chocked up drama.

Pisang Bakar
Next in line is this all around edible candle up to its fuse! It is so much like a candle that it actually lits up for as long as an actual candle does, I think, since I was in awe of it and just stared at this dish and the light keeps on burning until I blew it off, pretending it's my birthday wheeee. Everyday should be my birthday, and yours too, minus the additional grey strands though.

banana crumble for real, folks, served with pop rocks and icing sugar for fireworks effect in my mouth, making me starry eyed. *o*

Pencuci Mulut

Derived from the Indonesian word for dessert, this dish is shaped like a soap bar since we Indonesians call desserts as 'mouthwash' if it were to be translated literally. This dish, made of almond, mint, butter and other goodies that my brain sadly can't remember (sorry again!) is a winning contender that lasts through all three volumes of Namaaz Dining to date. For your information, what I mean by volumes is the way Namaaz Dining design its menu. Basically, the menu changes every semester, indicated by the birth of a new volume. As the menu changes, some of the most voted dish by customers will be brought up to the next volume by Chef Adrian and pencuci mulut is definitely one of them.

Funny thing about this dish is, the chef has to repeatedly warn his customers that the towel is made of wool since all of us is so impressed with his talents most can no longer tell which is edible and which is not. And that's how my dear friend Clarissa managed to fool me to believe and the paper napkins that is brought over after were our next dish. Thank God for saving me from the embarrassment of  munching napkins by sending the real dish to come afterwards. Phew.

Es Teh Panas
Desserts that comes after the soap bar are all beverages and this one is the most fascinating out of all of them to me. I love how the chef transform the nation's drink of sweetened ice tea into his own hot and cold ice tea. Yes, it's hot and cold at the SAME time. How cool (or how hot) is that?!

So, the gelatine like consistency shown in the picture above (those speckles of jelly like particles that clings on to the cup) is half of the cup which is cold while the other half is the traditional hot, sweetened black Indonesian tea.

Es Buah
Next beverage is the Indonesians' favourite street drink, the iced fruit. What's exciting of this beverage is how instant the ice is actually formed, again, like magic poured out of the manipulatively ordinary looking Fiji water bottle. Elsa's frozen powers comes to life may best describe our sightings.

Es Kacang Merah 

Ending the delightful gastronomical meal on a sweet note is the red bean iced drink served with vanilla meringue, which another one is later cooked in nitrogen and when eaten, produced dragon breaths to its consumers (kinda hard to describe, for details follow my instagram @priscandthepea and see the vid!) right after you finished this sweet treat. As the show of throwing out nitrogen on to the restaurant's floor by the genius yet humble Chef Adrian followed right after, so has the spectacular night at Namaaz Dining ended. We were all still starry eyed and wish it has not ended yet despite our tummy being filled up to the brim, but, oh well, nothing last forever, right? And the good news is, Namaaz Dining Vol. IV will be out soon! So for you lucky ones who resides in Jakarta or is coming to Jakarta, don't miss out on this experience. Book a seat and be as marveled as Clarissa and I!

Whoa. Definitely the longest write up I had done for this blog. Or maybe I am still in a food coma that's why it seems long and took so long. The bed is calling now, 'til next time then, God bless!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Hello Kittycats!

The laziest blogger in (probably) the universe is back! I noticed that unlike many others whom I truly respected for dedicating their time to diligently post and share with the whole wide world, I only posted once in a couple of months. Oops. I know, it's a crime. Therefore, let me redeem myself bit by bit, starting with this post!

Being the ultimate cat person (yes, I'm a cat lady. I hope I don't get to be alone at 70 with 2 dozens of cats but if fate says so, at least I got my cats, eh? Well.... that will only happen if by then I'll be capable enough to keep the cats alive, that is), I was over the moon when I stumbled upon this cat cafe in the middle of a must do make-up shopping trip down at Myeong-dong in Korea! It all begins with my countless failed attempts of capturing my towering green tea and vanilla ice cream with the scene of Myeong-dong as the background..

my leaning tower of ice cream. aren't the couple wearing matchy varsity jackets and even the same hair colour just adorable! adding varsity jacket to my shopping list, definitely.
which then leads to seeing this fellow all dressed in a cat costume with (luckily) some English written on him/her...

excuse me for the wobbly image. whoooo.
 .. and off we go to the kitty cats!

This was the view that welcomed us after we went up the dodgy looking stairways which was delightfully warm compared to the creepy entryway. I couldn't help squealing and kicked off my shoes, changed into their sandals and played with all the kitties I could grab hand on. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee.

the cafe provided treats for us to buy to feed them!



ARISTOCAT! yes i'm high on cats, excuse the caps.

MARIE! still so gorgeous despite my horrible photo taking skills.

ME! on a daily basis, rolling around in bed. oh, bliss.
They're all sooooo, so, fat and fluffy I was gonna dieeeeee. Now I know how Agnes from Despicable Me felt. Literally. After fooling around with the furballs for long enough, I finally gotten back some decency and realized I haven't ordered anything or even grabbed a table so therefore we did. The owner was too kind to let us play with them first and kindly ushered us to our table. We quickly proceeded to putting our orders in by their counter afterwards, and wasn't I shocked to find out that the entry fee that includes a cup of drinks out of quite a handful selection was only 8,000 won! Truly the most delightful 8,000 won I had spent within the entire trip.

don't you worry about hygiene, people. before anyone gets in and all we have to spray our hands and dust of ourselves with some antibacterial gel, hence having the kitties on the counter top nearby the pantry is completely fine. they smell fantastic, anyways!

oh hello there, you with the quirky grin!

someone's looking for a treat, eh?

i love how this dalmatian kitty keeps changing its sleeping pose.


While waiting on our orders, I straightaway wandered around and that liberty of table hopping, rolling around with the kitties on the floor,  and giggling all the way we could is what I love most. We all know that in normal cafes, such behaviour couldn't possibly be done as one normally sits, sip the delightful flat whites, chattering away in controlled volumes with occasional high-pitched laughter, despite how casual the cafe is. Whoever the original brain head of these cat cafes are, I salute you!



HAHA! I just couldn't have laughing away straight in its face with my finger pointed, aren't I'm rude. but you, dear, are just too hilarious!

the cats' plush condos.

miniature houses that i wouldn't let my hands off if i were eight. "no, mummy, i won't leave until you let me take back one home with me." that's probably what i'll do back then and still secretly wish to do at my current age. shame on me.

Our drinks was ready within minutes so I went back to my table and look who I found.

garfield sniffing our cosmetic buys under my chair!

whom swiftly hopped on to my bag... uh-oh.

and decided to nest there. major UH-OH.

he won't leave for the longest time, I had to tickle his way out of my chair! there's a policy in the cafe that none of the cats should be carried so tickling him is all I can do and I think that doesn't really help as to him I guess it's as comfortable as being rubbed on the belly. sighs.
after several minutes tickling him until my arms aches, his royal highness won't budge so i just stand beside my throne, panting, trying to feel my arms.  as he saw me in complete defeat and only then would he stepped down! oh, you, lovely little rascal. 

giant rocking horse which I was so tempted to hop on but stopped myself from doing so out of the will to protect one's dignity.

serene view from our table.

kudos to that, a cup of coffee IS magical.
I did read about these cat cafe joints in Tokyo way back then from Jane Aldridge's post but I never expected that they have it too in Korea, so it was a such a pleasant surprise after we blew off our wons buying make up products that we aren't sure of using but just have to get! It's such a perfect place for lazy cat persons like me who actually lives more like a cat than a human being should - which makes it pretty impossible to keep a cat itself as a pet - yet still want to pet some furballs every now and then. That said, even if you are not that much of a cat person, still do give them a chance if you happen to stumble into one as it'll definitely be such a memorable experience! My friend who is totally afraid of animals of any sort came to join and sat in horror in a corner trying to avoid all the cats but in the end he still managed to squeeze some fun out of the "terrorizing" experience anyway, so why not give it a go? Until the next post then, cheers with the typical Asian grin and peace hand sign! Heehee.