BONG Kopitown, which is popularly known with its unique concept “The Happiest Prisoner on Earth” has already opened its 6th branch in Batu Tulis Raya, Pecenongan, some months ago. Founded by Bong Chandra, Indonesian renowned motivator, enterpreneur and writer, the restaurant brings the definition of “jail” to another level. Decorated with the exact situations of Hong Kong prison circa 1967, the place is unique, mysterious and fun in the same time. And because photos speak thousand words, let’s just proceed to photos galore!
As if the superb interior design weren’t enough to build the image, there is even a background story which inspired the making of this “prison”, from a tale about two friends in Hong Kong named Bong and Kim. One day, Kim was caught and put into jail because of a ridiculous crime. Since they were very close one to another, Bong tried to accompany Kim in the prison by applying for a job there as a prison chef. Because his food were delicious, many convicts who had finished their prison time even asked for extension so they could stay in that prison longer. In the end, the government closed the prison and changed it to be Bong Kopitown, hence the tagline “The Happiest Prisoner on Earth”. Cheesy, isn’t it?
Beside the interior design, you can also see the waiters and waitresses are dresses in convicts’ costumes with stripes and I think it is very cute. The menu was presented to us like 4 pages newspaper titled “Old Town Post”, which also matches the whole theme. There are many kinds of food, mainly Peranakan cuisine, also mixes between Medan and Singkawang culinary. The prices are quite affordable, ranging from IDR 15K – 35K. Interestingly, they serve food on stainless plates and cutleries so it looks really similar with real prison!
Pontianak Crab Noodle IDR 30K
Made with secret recipe of the most delicious noodle in Pontianak, this was indeed very yummy! The noodle was soft and not soggy, with fish ball, fish cakes, shrimps, crab, sprinkled with sweet shredded chicken, it was colorful for the eyes and tongues. The limes were very fresh and very helpful in digestion.
Singapore Laksa Noodle IDR 33K
Aside from its boring looks, this was pretty decent in taste and we loved it so much. They used the laksa noodle like we usually find in Singapore, the bigger noodle. The curry soup was tasty, although I prefer a thicker one, but this one was also nice in its own way. It also looked very oily, but surprisingly it was not, and guess what? Someone actually drank the soup down till the last drop. Geez!
Ote-Ote IDR 15K
Ote-ote is one of the 3 “Fugitive Menu / Menu Buronan” which is featured in their special dishes together with Singkawang Rojak and Ham Pan. And ote-ote happens to be my favorite food from East Java, no, it’s not only a favorite, but I am crazily in love with it since the first time I tried that back in year 1996. The ote-ote here is totally different from what I know about it, and they should have named it “round pastel” or something instead.
Rendang Spicy Noodle IDR 35K
This menu already looked intriguing when we read it because it came in 8 levels of spiciness, from “se kiak” to “amsyong”, and because I went with other 4 person that time and some of them couldn’t handle spiciness, we settled with level 6 “bohwat”. It turned out to be hot and spicy, and I LOVED it! The rendang was very tender, the kind of tenderness that you’ll get when you cook rendang in pressure cooker. I will definitely go back just to try the level 8, LOL!
Nasi Penjara Seafood IDR 29K
This was actually a plain rice cooked with butter which topped with Chinese-style stir-fried vegetables (or capcay) and seafood. The rice was tasty, and the thick sauce smelled like eggs, very fragrant and delicious. The portion was quite generous, too.
Char Kway Teow IDR 28K
Well, a visit to a kopi tiam is never complete with a char kway teow, or so we think. However, we had to just leave it sometimes because this one wasn’t even close to good. The noodle was wet and lumpy, luckily we got to share it otherwise we would have never been able to finish the whole plate. It is just a matter of preference, which for me, I like my kway teow to be a little burnt here and there!
Singkong ala Thai IDR 15K
It was pretty good although I prefer the cassava to be really, really soft. But so far, the ones that I found in Jakarta has always been similar like this, so yeah.
Milo Dinosaur IDR 25K & Ice Cadbury Chocolate IDR 25K
Both drinks were really nice, especially the Cadbury one because it was very thick and rich in cocoa, which made it sweet and bitter, a great balance!
Sweet Ice Tea IDR 10K & Teh Tarik Large IDR 17K
Currently, they also have a promo of TRIPLE DEALS, which consists of:
- Late Lunch – everyday 14.00 – 17.00 All menu + Lemon Tea IDR 35K
- Coffee Break – everyday 15.00 – 17.00 All coffee IDR 10K
- Kongkow Malam – everyday 21.00 – 24.00 Beer IDR 10K
*All prices are subject to 5% service charge & 10% government tax
Jl. Batu Tulis Raya No. 41
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10.00 – 24.00
Estimated Spending: min. IDR 30.000/person