Cikini has long been a centre for culinary tourism; what with its noodle shops, Chinese restaurants, and long-standing coffee shops that offer coffee and delicious food with an ambience that evoke the Jakarta of old. Bakoel Koffie, which stands right across Menteng Huis, is one of them.
You could easily take in the vintage feel of Bakoel Koffie, especially when almost everything is brown in colour and the classic home cutleries provided. Near the cashier is a shelf containing coffee beans that it sells. If you’d like to sample a cup of coffee made by the first coffee roaster in Java, you could purchase a small pouch instead. There are also various cakes and snacks on display, ranging from tiramisu, cheese cake and tuna panada to market treats such as Klepon (boiled rice cake stuffed with liquid palm sugar and topped with grated coconut), Lemper (meat-filled glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaf), Ongol-Ongol (mung bean cake with grated coconut), and many more.
A stack of brochures with a sign saying “please take one” in front of it caught my eye, which turned out to be booklets detailing the history of Bakoel Koffie. Founded by one Liauw Tek Siong in 1878 under the name Tek Sun Ho, its original spot was located east from Kali Ciliwung (known as Molenvliet Canal during the colonial era) that was also the transportation route for the delivery of wood and foodstuff from north to south.
Initially focusing on just coffee as a beverage, the year 1968 saw Tek Sun Ho beginning to sell its own coffee beans. It coincided with the introduction of its logo, which depicts a woman carrying a basket that also represents its aim for their coffee beans to be universally enjoyed by anyone.
Besides its selection of coffee and light bites, Bakoel Koffie also a number of Indonesian dishes that you might want to have a go at. With the options including Soto (meat soup), Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Tape Bakar (grilled fermented rice), Singkong Mbledug (exploding cassava), and a few others, my choice for lunch during my visit fell to its Mie Ongklok Wonosobo (Wonosobo noodle soup with side dishes) because of its unique name.
My first impression of the dish once it was served on my table was that it looked quite similar to Lomie (flat-rice noodle soup) due to its thick and brownish soup. The noodles are quite meaty and have more in common with spaghetti than your common roadside chicken noodles. Its broth sweet and savoury in flavour, the concoction is topped with cuts of tempeh and chicken meat – an interesting yet incredibly tasty combination – and some Emping (gnetum gnemon crackers).
You also can read the article on The Jakarta Post: Lunch at Oldest Coffee Roaster in Java.
Jl. Cikini Raya No. 25, RT 16/RW 1,
T: 021 3193 6608
Open daily from 9am-11.30pm
Rp.75,000/US$5.60 per person