The now fully operated cafe was actually first built as one of the Vereegnide Oost-Indische Compagnie in 1805. If you learn your nation's history correctly in elementary school, the compagnie is the sail in which took over Indonesian spices plantation for the company's trades and is the beginning of Dutch colonization in Indonesia. The office then were turned into a gallery by a Frenchmen and was latter turned into a café by an Australian in 1991. The timeline tells how Cafe Batavia today is filled with many portraits and is famous of its artistic décor.
Regarding to the café, the food itself is very satisfying. Although not cheap, it is worth the scenery of Taman Fatahillah facing the Jakarta Historical Museum and a wide landscape of the Kota Tua landmark. The menu of Cafe Batavia is consisting of various dishes varying from Chinese, Italian and Indonesian cuisine. Ambiance is the focal point of this particular cafe that embraces the impression of dining in a colonial era atmosphere. Seen from the the carpentry, puffy carpet, batik tablecloth and the seating itself it can be concluded that the decoration is very well thought in order to capture the right vibe (minus the tension of colonization).
Fried Rice 'Yang Chow' Style (IDR 75.000)
Initially the menu offer a plate of fried rice with shrimp and roasted pork. As I don't eat pork I requested the menu to be modified into seafood fried rice. The flavor of the fried rice were well executed and there were plenty of protein added to the meal. The garnish were unnecessary but portion wise it is appropriate.
Beef Steak Chinese Style - Small (IDR 97.500)
I did not try the meal as this is my friend's order. The small one were said to fit for one but my friend said that it is not enough. This dish is served by its own and best for sharing as it needs something else to accompany it with. Cafe Batavia with its newly improved menu has many options to be served for sharing, menu like this particular one is available in three sizes: small, medium, large. The large one would definitely feed a lot of your party.
Steamed Chicken Feet in Black Pepper Sauce (IDR 25.000)
The chicken feet, or fung zao, is served on a bamboo steamer consisting of three or four pieces of chicken per portion. They were having a promo for their chicken feet during our visit, buy 1 get 1, which we only realized after the dish came unto our table. The sauce consist of blackbeans, angkak, chili pepper amongst others but were not spicy and were rather sweet.
Steamed Rice Flour Stuffed with Shrimp (IDR 25.000)
The chiongfen served in Cafe Batavia comes in two variant: shrimp stuffing and grilled chicken stuffing. I opted for the shrimp one and it was delicious, the rice paper were on the thicker side but does not affect the dish at all. The sauce however is a bit too sweet for my liking but it does not affect my love for chiongfen, including the ones they serve here.
The food was all great and well portioned, overall it was delicious. My only concern is because they now serve pork in many of their dishes that I got to be extra selective; but the staff will kindly suggest other options for you. As for the place, we are seated next to a big window in the non-smoking area upstairs and the advantage of this area is that you'll get better view from a leveled floor. The dining area also had a bar and a lounge for live music performance. What makes all this experience valuable is the view! Try get the window seat upstairs to see the amazing landscape of the Fatahillah historical landmark.
Introduction from my previous blog.
Jl. Pintu Besar No. 14