Before And Now
Many of us know of Kunstkring as the ex-Buddha Bar without knowing further what this tongue-twisting place has got to offer. As I got curiouser and curiouser, life handed me the lemon. That was the opportunity to meet and chat with the owner. Without hesitation, I made a lemonade out of it and I got myself hooked. So when one of the most influential food bloggers, Inijie, made it to Jakarta, I couldn’t help but show him Kunstkring.
Built in 1914, this building was made to raise the art scene. A place for Dutch artists to gather, exhibit their works from painting to musical performance, and also to learn their crafts. At its golden years, it was once a host for world class paintings such as Van Gogh’s and Picasso’s. You can imagine the importance of it back in the day. However as the world moved on, the building went through a few different episodes of adaptation. Once it was an immigration office, then it was idle, then a bar, and another idle years.
At its golden years, it was once a host for world class paintings such as Van Gogh’s and Picasso’s.
Back To Its Origin
Tugu, the same group that brought us Lara Djonggrang, Dapur Babah, and Shanghai Blue, took over the management of Kunstkring and decided to repurpose it back to its original mission. It is now a restaurant, a cafe, an art exhibit, and also a function hall for all things art.
The restaurant is separated into three main areas. The first one is The Diponegoro Room, the main dining area that displays a 9-metre painting of the time when Diponegoro got arrested. The Suzie Wong Bar is a more dimmed, lounge themed area to chill. Inspired by the popular British American movie in the ‘60s, they took the original movie painting (the one they hang in front of cinemas) and let it shine on one of the walls. Last, The Bread & Coffee Corner.
Since it was afternoon and they had their famous Roti Bluder in stock, we decided that tea would be a perfect companion. What makes it interesting is that this particular bread is still hand-made in Blitar and flown to Jakarta daily.
The bread is so fluffy and soft that you just want to tear it with your hands and stuff it in your mouth right away. Have it warm and you’ll notice a smell that reminds you of home cooked pastries. It comes in two flavors: chocolate and cheese. For me personally, the chocolate rocks better than the cheese.
As for the tea, a selection of leaves from Germany dominates the menu alongside the classic ones. We shared the Christmas Punch as we were looking for something that was more masculine with that classic, fruity, spicy twist. Don’t miss out on the butter cookie that comes with it. It’s one of the best that I’ve ever had.
Their Kue Bluder has the smell that reminds you of home cooked pastries
Both food and drinks made quite an impression on me. Added with great hospitality from the staffs and the green surroundings, tea timing at their alfresco area is definitely something I look forward to doing again.