Jakarta is one of our fave places to visit. From the amazing food to the cool cafes and exploratory art galleries, former Editor of Honeycombers Jakarta, Thalia Yanuar shows us the best bits.
While many think Bali beaches when thinking about travel to Indonesia, the capital city is beautiful chaos – with all its sights and smells Jakarta is affectionately (and appropriately) nick-named the Big Durian – one of those cities that people either love or hate, and we’re obviously in the first camp. If you’re wondering what to do in Jakarta, do as the locals do and skip the boring sights – trust us, you’ll do better elsewhere anyway. You already know which boutique hotels in Jakarta make our hit list – here’s what to eat, drink and do the next time you head to Jakarta.
This Senopati neighbourhood gem is a Honeycombers favourite. From the team behind Potato Head Group, Attarine is a casual eatery that changes its menu with seasonal goodies and visiting chefs, which is why we’ll never tire of reasons to visit. Its signature dishes are hearty, unpretentious, yet always inventive, and their wood-fire oven means grilled meats, roasted vegetables and freshly baked bread are always a winner. As you graze on sharing plates, pair your meal with classic cocktails made with a local twist like their Roasted Bloody Mary complete with a dash of cabe rawit, and their signature Kopi Martini with a shot of espresso from local coffee experts One Fifteenth Coffee.
Attarine, Jl. Gunawarman No.11A, South Jakarta. p. +62 21 2277 1256
While street food reigns supreme in Jakarta, you’ll want to get a taste of what elevated Indonesian cuisine is like. Book into Nusa Gastronomy, a contemporary restaurant set in a charming colonial house in the heart of Kemang. Helmed by award-winning Chef Ragil Imam Wibowo, Nusa Gastronomy’s ever-changing menu is inspired by his many travels around the archipelago. Dinner here is a true culinary experience, where each dish comes with a tale of its background – think rare mushrooms from Bangka, shrimp from Banyumas, tuna from Maluku, and many more.
NUSA Gastronomy, Jl. Kemang Raya No.81, South Jakarta, p. +6221 7193954
Feast like Javanese royalty at Plataran Menteng where you’ll be wowed from the second you enter. Set inside an impressive three-storey colonial Dutch building, the Indonesian restaurant serves a delicious range of local cuisine from all around the archipelago. Bring your appetites and sample their Nasi Goreng Kemangi (green basil fried rice), gurame with mango and pomelo dressing and soft shell crab with salted duck egg.
Plataran Menteng, Jl. H.O.S. Cokroaminoto No. 42, Gondangdia, Menteng, Central Jakarta, p. +62 21 29627771
If you had to leave trying only one type of Indonesian food, we highly recommend making it martabak manis. This thick, pancake-like confection is slathered with a heaping serving of butter, margarine, and – depending where you get it from – toppings like chocolate sprinkles, nuts, cheese, condensed milk, Nutella and more. This Indonesian street dessert is in a league of its own and you must try it while you’re in town.
Martabak Boss, multiple locations.
Drink and Party
Start the night off right with a tipple at the tallest rooftop bar in town. Henshin has the best sunset views in town if you’re lucky enough to visit on a clear day. The lounge oozes cool sophistication and on any regular night has patrons coming back to sample its wonderfully crafted cocktails and bar bites. You’ll be in for a treat.
Henshin at The Westin Jakarta, Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav.C-22 A, Kuningan, South Jakarta, p. +62 878 0002 8008
There’s always a fun crowd at Dragonfly, one of Jakarta’s most glitzy nightclubs. This hot spot always delivers the goods come Friday and Saturday night. Their impressive roster of local and international DJs include past-acts Matoma and Disclosure. Dragonfly’s got a fantastic lightshow that needs to be seen to be believed – get on the dance floor for a damn good dance sesh.
Dragonfly, Graha BIP Ground Floor Lobby Kav. 23, Jl. Jendral Gatot Subroto, Kuningan, South Jakarta, p. +62 21 5206789
Want to continue the party after-hours? Dance ‘til dawn at Colosseum, the award-winning super club that made its way onto the best clubs in the world list. With top DJs coming by every weekend and an incredible giant LED chandelier that lights up all colours of the rainbow, there’s no wonder punters love coming back to dance well after the sun goes up.
Colosseum Club, Jalan Kunir No. 7, West Jakarta, p. +62 21 6909999
Love discovering local designers when you’re abroad? Make Ara on your must-shop stop while you’re in town. This boutique store showcases some of the best in Indonesian fashion. Pick up fabulous frocks from Peggy Hartanto, TOTON and Friederich Herman so that you can be the belle of the ball.
ARA, Colony 6, First Floor #5-6, Jl. Kemang Raya No. 6, South Jakarta, p. +62 21 2952 9958
If you want to hunt down quirky souvenirs, head to KOI Gallery in Kemang. This charming boutique is a treasure chest of local gems, a shop where you can feast your eyes on everything from traditional daggers and wayang figurines to batik throw pillows and hot pink Durian jars. Snag charming prints of Bintang beer and bajaj illustrations to always remind you of Jakarta.
KOI Gallery, Jl. Kemang Raya No.72B, Kemang, South Jakarta
The Westin Heavenly Spa
What’s a trip to Jakarta without a proper pamper sesh? For a luxe treatment with a view, book into The Westin’s Heavenly Spa – at 50-storeys high this is the tallest spa in town. Try the invigorating Balinese Coffee Scrub coupled with a traditional massage to pick-you-up after a long day of seeing the sights.
The Westin Heavenly Spa, Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. C-22 A, Kuningan, South Jakarta
When it was announced that Jakarta was getting its very first modern and contemporary art museum, art-lovers across the city were beyond excited. Museum Macan certainly lived up to the hype. Immerse yourself in an afternoon of culture as you step into the only spot in town to view works from renown artists like Damien Hirst and Yayoi Kusama. Word of advice – pre-book your tickets online before you visit otherwise you’ll be waiting to get inside.
Museum Macan, AKR Tower Level MM, Jalan Panjang No.5, Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta
If you’re after art that is a little more homegrown, check out Dia.Lo.Gue in Kemang, an independent art gallery that shows an impressive collection of up-and-coming local artists. The café does a mean coffee, and their gift shop is also the perfect place to pick up a cool souvenir or two.
Dia.Lo.Gue, Jl. Kemang Sel. No.99A, Kemang, South Jakarta