Kaum Jakarta by Potato Head: from Hong Kong to Jakarta

Kaum Jakarta

Kaum Jakarta understands that in order to create an impression, sometimes you have to go against the current. Do something extraordinary, such as creating a conceptual Indonesian food restaurant in Hong Kong, get yourself listed in Michelin Guide Hong Kong & Macau 2017, then open a new outlet in Bali, and finally Jakarta. In that order. Before I say anything else, let me just state this: Kaum Jakarta is another home run from Potato Head family.

As we have talked about here, this is the momentum that Indonesian food has been waiting for to achieve its long-overdue global recognition. Kaum Jakarta is another proof that there is an increase in number of restaurants that are presentable to the eyes, tongue, and taste of foreigners, without forgoing taste and authenticity. Over the course of a few years, Chef Antoine Audran and culinary emissary Lisa Virgiano travelled all over Indonesia to explore Indonesian specialty ingredients and cooking techniques. The result is a diverse menu consisting of food from West to East Indonesia—Maluku, Java, Sumatra, among others—that represents a specific region.

Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Kaum Jakarta is located in Menteng area
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Outdoor space
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Tables are adorned with traditional fabrics
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Vintage tiles

It’s true that not all Indonesia’s 34 provinces and more than 600 ethnic groups are represented. Some dishes can be considered safe and found at other restaurants. Having said that, I can see some menus and tweaks that are exclusive to Kaum Jakarta.

Balinese-style Ikan Goreng Sambal Kecombrang is indeed your everyday deep fried fish, but the use of kecombrang (ginger flower) is what makes it special. Kecombrang is a common flower in Indonesia, yet few has utilized its maximum capacity in cooking. The first time I tasted kecombrang was in Chris Salans’—still a foreigner, despite having lived in Bali for a long time—Kecombrang Sorbet, his dish in Jakarta Culinary Festival 2012. I have faith that kecombrang can be promoted as something uniquely Indonesia. With its distinct flavor, this flower can add another layer of flavor to a simple menu.

Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Sate Udang Kupas Pantai Mawi (IDR 150K)
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Colonial-style
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Imagine you, your family, and tasty Indonesian food.
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Sate Buntel Acar Rujak (IDR 140K)
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Gohu Ikan Tuna (IDR 78K)
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
The beauty is in the details
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Ikan Goreng Sambal Kecombrang (IDR 65K)
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Expect varieties of Indonesian food that represent a specific area
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Bobor Bayam Merah Kelapa Muda (IDR 55K)

Sate Buntel Acar Rujak from Solo is everything a good satay should be. Fat, juicy lamb meat encased in its own fat, grilled to perfection. The dish only comes with four skewers, but well worth the price. Meanwhile, Bobor Bayam Merah Kelapa Muda is a first for me. This soupy Central Java dish reminds me of jamu drinks, but in a subtle way, perhaps because of the use of kunyit (turmeric) and kencur in the coconut milk broth. But the winner is Gohu Ikan Tuna: Fresh tuna, served with lemon cui (a family of lime), walnuts, and ginseng leaves. People usually associate raw fish with Western or Japanese cuisine, but this Maluku dish is 100% Indonesia. I’ll be back for this one. As for sweet endings, our pick falls to Kue Kojo Kukus Saus Kopi, a pancake-like dessert. It is fluffy, a touch drier compared to pancake, and served with a fragrant caramel coffee sauce.

Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Kaum is an tribute to Indonesian food
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
100% Indonesia
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
The team hopes to introduce Indonesian cuisine worldwide
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Kaum Jakarta’s beautiful space
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
It’s never too early for Barong Zombie
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
A sip you’ll never forget
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Take the time to soak in the details
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Madura patterns

Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Not stopping at food, Kaum Jakarta presents everything in a neat, beautiful packaging. Physically, it showcases everything Indonesia in little details, including decorative fabrics and the menu book. The restaurant resides in a restored old building in Menteng area, complete with vintage tiles that you normally find at Dutch colonial-style houses. Since it’s a Potato Head creation, imagine all of those traditional aspects meeting a touch of quirk from the art installation and funky walls. Service is also satisfactory. Although casual, the staffs take the time to stand beside you, explain about the menu, and ask about your opinion afterwards.
Kaum Jakarta Menteng Kaum Jakarta Menteng Kaum Jakarta Menteng

Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Kue Kojo Kukus Saus Kopi (IDR 48K)
Kaum Jakarta Menteng
Coffee sauce is the bomb

Kaum Jakarta Menteng Kaum Jakarta Menteng

Kaum is a brave establishment. It heroes Indonesian food, yet started all the way in Hong Kong before making its way home. As Potato Head’s CEO Ronald Akili writes on the first page of the menu book, Kaum aims to be a global brand ambassador of Indonesian cuisine and hopes to open in other countries in the future. Besides that, from a local’s point of view, the restaurant also manages to introduce me to new Indonesian dishes, yet in a seamless and familiar way. If I had to place Kaum Jakarta, it would be somewhere between Sate Senayan and 1945 at Fairmont.
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Kaum has great ambience, great food, and great pick of cocktails. Potato Head’s famous concoctions, including Barong Zombie, are available in Kaum Jakarta. In a nutshell, this restaurant has so many things to offer. Do yourself a favor, come to Kaum Jakarta, and get lost in Indonesian cuisine.


Kaum Jakarta
Instagram: @kaum_jakarta
Address: Jl. Dr. Kusuma Atmaja No. 77-79
Price Range: IDR 48-420K (Food)
Google Maps: Click Here


Written By

Fellexandro Ruby

Food photographer, and story teller sharing his passion in food, travel, culinary hits and highlights. Always on the mission to make you drool. Founder of Wanderbites.com

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