Although slightly less bustling than the nearby Bakoel Koffie, I just couldn’t give Kedai Tjikini a miss. It was on a Friday afternoon and I had just settled a task down in Menteng. I immediately made my way to Kedai Tjikini, which is found opposite Menteng Huis. Because it is situated by the roadside, parking can be a bit tricky here – you’ll be dependent on cars and motorbikes that are making their leave. You could park at Menteng Huis and cross the road to Kedai Tjikini though.
An old-school nuance greets you upon entering the establishment, which at a glance reminded me of the aforementioned Bakoel Koffie with its wooden chairs and table along with its authentic atmosphere that evokes Cikini during olden days. What separates the two is the more peaceful ambience at Kedai Tjikini and the less lively decorations on its walls. It’s perfect for a cup of coffee and some light bites while conversing and chilling with friends.
Despite its vintage feel, Kedai Tjikini is relatively new to the scene as it only began business in 2011. Founded by four friends Dharmawan Handonowarih, Heni Wiradimadja, Enrico Halim and Leo, Cikini was never the intended location of their joint venture for Dharmawan and Enrico after the two had made their rounds all over the city, including Jalan Abdul Muis, Jalan Kesehatan, Jalan Samanhudi, Salemba Tengah, Menteng, Pintu Air, and Pasar Baru.
Their love for all things historic is shown not only by its interior but also by its menu, which includes ice creams from long-standing joints Tjanang, Ragusa, and Baltic; Sarsaparilla Cap Badak that has been made in Pematang Siantar since 1916; and cakes from Toko Oen Semarang. Kedai Tjikini obtains its coffee selection from Warung Tinggi (Tek Soen Ho), Warung Kopi Hin Jatinegara, and Aroma Fabrik Bandung.
On that particular afternoon, however, my attention was fixated on its Ikan Kembung Bumbu Tauco (mackerel in fermented soybeans). Perhaps it was due to the suggestion that I received from a friend of mine who frequently comes here which attracted me to it. Its appearance roused my appetite even more once it arrived on my table, with its luscious aroma filling the air around me and captivating my nostrils. Consisting of a whole mackerel on a plate topped with coconut milk sauce and cuts of yellow tofu, the meat of the fish felt tender and savoury on my palate. Its sauce brought to mind a less-concentrated version of Sayur Lodeh (vegetables in coconut milk soup). This dish is big enough for two to tuck into.
Jl. Raya Cikini No. 17, Cikini,
Menteng, Jakarta Pusat
T: 021 3193 5521
Open daily from 9am-11pm
Rp.60,000/US$4.40 per person