Casa Kemang is a little cozy cafe situated above Aksara bookstore in Kemang neighborhood. Although the name is Casa, itâ€™s more popularly known as Casa Kemang. This place has been around for quite some time, opened since 2006, Casa is amazing indeed. While many restaurants come and go so quickly, until now, Casa is still one of the favorite places to hang out, work, and relax, especially for people in the area.
Bringing a unique concept of fusion taking elements from a bar, restaurant, and cafÃ©, to create a relaxing and comfortable home environment, Casa looks more like a living room or everyday place like we are so familiar with in daily basis. The interior is inspired by innocent optimism of early modern design, with restored 1950â€™s teak Indonesian furniture and Herman Miller Eames chairs, simple and sturdy at the same time.
Little that people know that Casa is also part of the Union Group (which also manages Union, Loewy, Canteen, etc), and is the oldest chain so far. While the other brands under the group are more into luxurious and high-social concept, Casa remains more humble yet trendy in its own way.
Casa occupies the second floor with Aksara bookstore just downstairs. I remember during the good old days, I could spend hours browsing through imported books and spending some hours later upstairs. The place is not big but spacious enough for 70+ person in total. I love the wooden floor and simple window blinds like normally found in office.
This time, we were invited to try some of Casaâ€™s new menu which has just been launched this month. As you might know already, Casa is helmed by Head Chef Chris Moes, previously of the celebrated Amsterdam restaurant, De Kas. Inspired by his hometown in Holland and the dishes he grew up with, he creates new menu with familiar dishes, adding selections to everyoneâ€™s favorite of comfort food that are highly associated with Casa.
Casaâ€™s menu are not complicated, but we can find Easy Bites, Appetizer, Pizza, Mains, Pasta, Asian Dishes, until Dessert. Donâ€™t forget the timeless cocktails which are worth to try.
Price range for food is IDR 40,000 to 195,000.
Casa â€œSignatureâ€ Fries
The American: Chili Con Carne and Cheese IDR 55,000
Relaxing is almost incomplete without a snack (or two), so when I heard that one of the new menu is â€œSignatureâ€ Fries, I couldnâ€™t be more excited. Fries is probably not the newest concept ever, but Casa brings a familiar twists by adding selections of signatures from 3 countries. We got to try The American, where the fries are served Chili Con Carne way with loads of cheese. Personally, I love Chili Con Carne, and it was so close to perfect, just lacking of beans taste. However, I still love it and would recommend it to cheese lovers.
The â€œSignatureâ€ Fries are also available in 2 other specialties! The Dutch: Satay Sauce and Mayo (IDR 40,000), which is a combination of sweet and savory; and The French: Truffle and Salt (IDR 50,000), which I think is probably a little more simple and easily acceptable by all ages.
NiÃ§oise Salad with Soft-Shell Crab and French Dressing IDR 65,000
My favorite of the day. Never thought that there would be the day when I declare a salad as my favorite, so go figure. This salad uses vegetables like arugula, long beans (!), potatoes, tomatoes, and bunch of olives. The French dressing was already tossed with the salad and well-mixed when served.
I must say the taste was excellent, refreshing (even before we squeezed the lemon in) and delicious in a not-salad way. I probably donâ€™t make sense with that sentence but who cares, this was so good! Soft-Shell Crab is usually the star of a dish but here it wasnâ€™t, and although it was nice but the salad itself managed to steal my full attention until the very last.
Fish and Chips with Coleslaw, Potato Wedges and Tartar Sauce IDR 90,000
Fish was super tasty although I wish their sizes were bigger. XD Served with chunky potato wedges which are seasoned with pepper (amazingly delicious, BTW), half of boiled egg on top of raw veggie salad, this dish was simply awesome.
I love the crispy yet soft fish, seasoned very well and tasty until inside. The tartar sauce was enhanced with chopped greens, super fragrant and finger-licking delicious! But I must say the highlight of this dish was the potato wedges (heard it is inspired by British chips) and the raw salad, because this is essential to serve it to avoid bad aftertaste caused by fried stuffs.
Linguine with Mushrooms, SautÃ©ed Flank Steak and Truffle Oil IDR 90,000
Linguine is probably never my favorite pasta, but I couldnâ€™t say no to this. A perfect al dente linguine, made my mouth watered just simply by looking at it. The beef was thick and flavorful, although it was slightly overcooked and a bit dry.
Poffertjes with Red Fruit Compote, Raspberry Sorbet and Fresh Strawberries IDR 55,000
Chef Moesâ€™s all-time favorite traditional Dutch dessert is the decadent chocolate poffertjes. It is twisted around to a fruitier and fresher palate with red fruit compote, raspberry sorbet and fresh strawberries.
Honestly, when I saw this for the first time, I thought the main point of this dessert was the raspberry sorbet and the compote. The poffertjes didnâ€™t really stand out because they were somehow â€œsugarcoatedâ€ (no pun intended, hee!) with icing sugar generously. Poffertjes itself is like Dutch version of pancake, but lighter and more spongy in texture.
The raspberry sorbet was sour with hint of sweetness, totally my favorite! The compote was smooth and fun to eat, especially because it was also sour and very fruity. Eating the simple-tasted poffertjes with the sorbet and compote will create totally different sensation as these components complimented each others very nicely. Donâ€™t forget the fresh strawberries and raspberries fruits, too!
I remember back then when the cafes like this werenâ€™t that many, Casa Kemang has always been here serving good food in cozy environment. But I didnâ€™t remember their food were so nicely executed like these. Honestly, my last visit to this place was very long time ago, probably 7 years ago if I remember correctly. It was nice to be back and see all the improvements here.
Casa Kemang is still going strong and hopefully it will always be! Despite all the newcomers in F&B world in Jakarta, Casa Kemang will always still have a special place in my heart.
It was published in http://thefoodescape.com/ by by Daisy Caroline & Yu Kato