Get the taste of South East Asian delights, traditional and not so traditional, at this cozy eatery.
A kopitiam (or kopi tiam) is a traditional breakfast and coffee shop found in South East Asia. The word ‘kopitiam’ is derived from the Malay word for coffee (kopi), and the Hokkien Chinese word for shop (tiam). If you’ve been to Singapore or Malaysia, you might be familiar with this type of institution. The menu typically features simple offerings: a variety of foods based on eggs, toast, and kaya, plus coffee, tea, and Milo chocolate drink. The place is usually also kept as basic as possible.
But to keep up with the times, modern kopitiams are now getting a makeover. Nowadays it’s very common to find a kopitiam in the comfort of air conditioned shopping malls and the look of the restaurant has also gone modern, but the food is mostly still more the traditional, time-honored fare.
Welcome to Kopitiam. This is a modern Indonesian restaurant chain using this old style concept. Kopitiam now have seven outlets in Jakarta and we recently visited their newest one at Central Park Mall which opened on December 1, 2011.
The restaurant has a modern, inviting décor. Light colored wood dominates the room, nicely accented by drawings of people dining al fresco. Check out the huge coffee bean decoration on the ceiling. A nice quirky touch.
Now onto the food. The specialty of any Kopitiam is the popular Kaya toast. It is a popular snack amongst Singaporeans and Malaysians. It consists of kaya, a spread of eggs, sugar, and coconut milk and flavored with pandan on freshly toasted bread. The addition of butter is a welcomed plus. It takes the simple toast to another level.
Go for the Kopitiam’s Traditional Kaya Toast Set (36k): A slice of kaya and butter toast, your choice of coffee or tea, two soft boiled eggs, and some fries. Some delicious variations are also available like the Banana Nutella Toast Set (36k) or the French Toast Set (42k).
Other noteworthy dishes here are the flavorsome Singapore Laksa (44k); the popular Peranakan spicy coconut-based noodle soup, the Mamak Mie Goreng (35k), and the Singapore Curry Chicken with Prata Bread (46k).
But for a more authentic experience, try the Kopitiam Rojak (24k) – is a traditional fruit and vegetable salad dish, the Fried Carrot Cake (36k) – which doesn’t actually have carrots in it, but stir fried radish cubes, with eggs, garlic, spring onion, and doused with sweet soy sauce, the Steamed or Fried Popiah (20k for 2 pieces) – a Peranakan version of lumpia, or the delicious Nasi Lemak with Fish (28k) or Chicken (35k).
These is all typical Singaporean/Malaysian fare, but there’s something familiar about it for our Indonesian taste buds. Should you want something more ‘local’, the Oxtail Fried Rice (58k) hits just the right spot.
As for the drinks, the wonderful black tea and condensed milk mix of Kopitiam Teh Tarik (21k) is always a firm choice, hot or cold. They also have plenty of coffee and tea drinks to savor, but the Iced Milo Dinosaur (22k) is a must try! The Lychee Ice Tea (25k) or Delight Juice (22k) – a blend of Pineapple, apple, and orange juices, are refreshing too.
Make sure you stop by Kopitiam for a neighbourly visit! (Budi Iskandar)
Mall Central Park
Lower Ground LG – 141
Ph: (021) 2920 0136
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