When I heard that Le Cafe Gourmand will be opened in Jakarta, I was very excited because I had always wanted to try the desserts as I have heard so many good reviews about them. This cafe is a French patisserie specialized in pastries, coffee, and ice cream; that is opened in Surabaya since February 2012. I had a Surabaya trip on October last year but because it was quite a short trip, we couldn’t visit it. But now, thanks to the owner, Mr. Stephan Tanaja, this spectacular cafe has been brought to Jakarta and opened for public since February 26th, 2014. It’s such a rare opportunity that I go with something mainstream and try to get the taste of a newly-opened dining place almost immediately as it opens, but this time is an exception.
The cafe is located at Gunawarman street, a hip, exclusive area which is packed with fancy restaurants, coffee shops, you name it. Built just across Le Quartier, it surely adds more French atmosphere around the block, and I am thinking about having some desserts over here after a casual lunch/dinner at Le Quartier someday! Not a bad idea, right?
My first impression when I entered the cafe was that it is very beautiful! Just like typical European patisseries, the cafe is bright, full with aroma of fresh-brewed coffee, and the ambiance is just perfect. There is the main counter in the middle of the room, with rows of cakes, pastries, gelato and sorbet, all are nicely arranged inside glass displays. And there is even a private room, probably for more private business meetings or such. I just totally fell in love with the decoration, interior, everything!
Well, my visit was on a Sunday noon, and since it has just opened few days ago, the crowds were really into it and the cafe was almost full when we arrived. The staffs are dressed up quite nicely, but everyone seemed so busy and we were quite “lost”, didn’t know what to do because it was kind of messy. Some staffs were just standing on the corner and looked as confused as we were. Luckily, a staff who looks like the manager on duty greeted us from behind the counter and brought us to the only empty table available. After we were seated, another waiter came, gave us the menu then politely excused himself to serve other guests. I thought to myself, this was totally uncalled for and I was so surprised by the good service!
We decided to order some drinks and cakes, although we wanted to try the breakfast menu so bad but we were quite full from lunch so we skipped it. But noted, I will definitely go back there and try some of them and also I was drooling for the French crepes! So after we ordered some drinks, we walked to the glass display to pick some cakes, but there we were “lost” again because no staff was available to help. I tried to ask assistance from a waitress who seemed “stuck” in front of the register machine, but she didn’t even answer when I called her. Finally, the same waiter who just took our orders was walking around the main counter, spotted me who was desperately asking for somebody’s help JUST TO ORDER SOME CAKES, approached me and quickly noted what I wanted. *phew*
Our drinks came after quite some time, and I thought that it wasn’t a big deal because the cafe was quite crowded although people came and went quite fast, and by the time our drinks were served, there were only 2 out of 5 tables occupied in the main area. Our favorite waiter came again bringing all the cakes I ordered earlier altogether and I was very grateful he was there during my visit.
Charlotte IDR 40K
Nothing can calm people down more than a sweet dessert, I say. Charlotte amazed me to certain extent when I tried a spoon of it. The cake was very moist and soft. Fulfilled with a lovely chocolate mousse inside, the cake easily became my favorite as it was very simple and not too sweet.
Raspberry & Lychee Macaroon IDR 10K
I had high hope for the macaroon but it just failed to impress me. The texture was too hard, dry and easily broken when bitten, the flavors didn’t really come out although both of them (raspberry and lychee) SUPPOSEDLY have very strong, distinctive fragrances and tastes. Actually there are about 11 variants listed in the menu, such as chocolate, raspberry, coffee, rose, caramel with salted butter, passion fruit, vanilla, peach & apricot, chocolate & caramel, pistachio, and raspberry & lychee; but most of them were not available (probably only 4 variants including this one were available). So maybe next time, I am going to try the other variants as well!
Pabana Cocktail IDR 40K
You know, it was very difficult for me to choose when I am given so many beautiful cakes in front of me! Initially I wanted the coconut one (forgot the name, probably Exotic Cocktail or something), but in the end, we decided to pick this. Pabana Cocktail is layers of red fruits, light vanilla Bavarois, and Pabana Cocktail jelly. The red fruits were probably mixes of berries fruits, mainly raspberry made into jam, giving a sweet and sour taste which was quite refreshing. On top of the jam, there was also peanut crumbles which gave a nice salty taste into the whole jar. The jelly looked like mango but tasted a bit citrusy so I assumed it was probably mango mixed with orange. The whole thing sounds so complicated but if you try to scoop from top to bottom in one go, it was heavenly yummilicious!!
Caramel Chocolate Tart IDR 35K
This was a very sweet, delicious cake to start with. It might look simple and no different from usual chocolate cake, but it surely was different! I love the crispy pastry on the bottom, beautiful, crispy and did its job very well holding the cake neatly. And most importantly, it gave balance to the whole sweetness that even a sweet tooth couldn’t handle. With beautiful presentation of thin layer of caramel, topped with chocolate mousse and ganache, made this cake a very guilty pleasure that is sure hard to resist! I love that they only put really thin layer of caramel despite of its name, because we all know how sweet caramel is. With that amount of chocolate on the plate, more caramel would just turn someone into diabetic man, and it will probably kill the whole chocolate flavor as well. The chocolate was very fragrant and sweet, but not milky sweet like I usually avoid. I totally enjoy the cake, although it was a little sweet for me, but I will recommend everyone to try this by sharing with somebody.
Caffe Fondente IDR 42K
According to the waiter, this would be the most recommended drink for hot category. Made from dark chocolate mixed with coffee and milk, this was very rich drink to enjoy on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. The dark chocolate was very prominent, combined with strong, aromatic fresh coffee, made the drink quite bitter, but very much enjoyable.
Gourmand Hot Chocolate IDR 40K
The hot chocolate is one of their signature drinks (hence the name) and it was really one of the best hot chocolate drinks I have ever had IN MY LIFE. It was rich, thick, strong chocolate, with hint of milk, fresh and not too sweet. I don’t know what kind of cocoa they use, but this seriously was over-whelmingly delicious! And the beautiful presentation, four thumbs up!
Neve Fondente IDR 33K
This is basically the cold version of Caffe Fondente. Tasted similar but I prefer the cold one because strangely enough, it was even bitter than the hot one.
Mandarin Sorbet & Salted Caramel Ice Cream IDR 30K/scoop
We had been eye-ing for the ice creams since the first time we sat down and in the end, we could just order 2 variants as we were already too sick of sweet stuffs! I picked Mandarin Sorbet because it was kind of sour and a bit bitter which I think because they put extract of the whole mandarin oranges including the some of the skin. One scoop sounds not much but after a while I just stopped and couldn’t take it anymore. The cone was very thick and crispy, it actually made me quite full after some bites. The salted caramel was not really my favorite, but it was a good choice because it wasn’t too sweet and had a very nice salty taste that balanced the sweetness.
And for that price, it was very worthy. If you like ice cream very much or come with friends, why don’t you try 2 scoops for IDR 40K or even better, 3 scoops for IDR 50K? The price goes lower the more scoops you order!
Although I had quite a blast there, I just want to write about the service. There seems to be quite a number of staffs during my visit, but there was only ONE particular waiter who happened to be the star of the cafe. I didn’t even know his name, but he really deserves an award or something. He was practically EVERYWHERE, not like the others who just stood there in their own stations. Our favorite waiter was polite, helpful, informative, and he did EVERYTHING from taking orders (from menu, desserts and ice cream from glass displays), cleaning up, serving, printing bills, simply everything. He even prepared the glass and ice as I requested when I ordered a bottle of Equil. We even thought he might be one of the senior workers, or probably junior/trainee, or perhaps, he is bullied by the other staffs because clearly he was the only one who worked THAT HARD in that place, well, at least during my visit. So, Mr. Tanaja, if you read this post, please reward this guy because if I have a staff like this in my cafe or restaurant, I will gladly give him a rise and even promote him.
|Our favorite waiter who deserves more respect, the handsome guy behind the counter!|
After we finished and asked for bill, I already gave my credit card and the waiter came back saying that their EDC machine was broken so I was quite confused for a while. I mean this is a very big deal because their products are considered high value items and some are quite expensive, and if you can’t use credit card for payment, there should have been some information attached on the door, wall, or anywhere guests can see. Because I am almost 100% sure that people nowadays rarely bring so much cash when dining out especially in this kind of place! Our bill was around IDR 400K and I believe there were other tables whose bills were even more expensive than ours! It was kind of ridiculous but our favorite waiter just apologized nicely and I happened to bring enough cash so there was no hassle. But if I didn’t, I would have been so pissed having to go to nearest ATM to draw some cash just because of this kind of stupidity.
I really enjoy this place, and although there are so many flaws here and there, this cafe is still very nice, with good ambiance and delicious treats! I will definitely come back for more!
*All prices are subject to 5% service charge & 10% government tax