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IDR 60.000 - SGD $10.50 - HKD $55.00 - MYR RM26.00 - AUD $10.00 - TWD $230 - THB 190

edition 9.1, june - july ‘12 Rp. 60.000


Dinners Metis Lara Djonggrang


Mama San



Rp. 60.000

Lighthouse Spices Cafe

India Ko Payam Frazer Islands Maldives Angsana

The Romance Islands

Top 10

Bali Villas

Honeymoon Adventures

Puri Nirwana Sungai Tinggi design






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june - july 2012


Fine Mediterranean-slash-Asian cooking comes to Jimbaran and Trauts sniffs it out.

40 Mama San

Bali’s Biasa teams up with Mama San restaurant for some fusion cooking of their very own.

78 The Beach Revisited

Ian Neubauer seeks out a corner of Thailand’s island culture filled with angst and fear for the future.

81 It’s The Little Things

Thomas Jones looks deep beneath the surface of St. Regis Singapore for more than face value.

96 Freak of Nature

Ian Neubauer returns to the memories of his childhood to Fraser Island with his second generation in tow.

108 Luxurious Langkawi

Melanie Lee strikes it rich at the Four Seasons Langkawi and regales with tales of Malaysia.


Cover FRV Travel: Mama San in focus with Biasa. Photo Skas

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THE SPA AT THE LEGIAN IIa Bio-Rhythm Envelopment for Jetlag 120 minutes – IDR 1.450.000 VOYA Organic Seaweed Leaf Envelopment for Detoxification 120 minutes – IDR 1.450.000

THE RESTAURANT AT THE LEGIAN Babi Guling – IDR 250.000/person ++ Indulge in the hidden treasure of Bali with our three-course royal Balinese dinner.

LUXURIOUS RESORT PAMPERING AT THE LEGIAN The Legian, an exclusive all-suite hotel in landscaped tropical gardens, brings you the ultimate pampering in dining and spa treatments. Experience unique wellness treatments at The Spa and enjoy the magic when dining at The Restaurant, at The Legian.

For reservation and more details, please email

Every Wednesday and Saturday Seminyak Seafood Barbecue – IDR 490.000/person ++ Caress your taste buds with fresh seafood grilled to perfection. Nightly from 6:00 pm onwards.

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june - july 2012 CONTENTS

Sungai Tinggi


Dining With Chefs


Tugu Heritage


A beachfront villa extroardinaire in Bali.

Metis celebrates the chefs and Trauts gets a first hand taste.

Trauts dines on culture at Lara Djonggrang restaurant.



Cruising along the backwaters of Kerala.

Heaven on the wild shores of Bali.

Ancient Trails in Yogjakarta




A Shinning Light




Erza seeks out the secrets of Central Java’s mysterious past.


Parking your boat in the garage is no longer an issue.


Japanese food in the most unlikely of places.


Rachel Love talks with artist Pascale Doumeng.


A selection of great honeymoon destinations.

Diego Martinelli at The Lighthouse in Singapore.

Darwin turns a corner, and for the better.

A Sanctuary

A great place for weary business travellers in Kuala Lumpur.

12 Events - 14 Bits & Pieces - 60 Overnight Jakarta - 54 Overnight Surabaya 1 1 6 W ine - 1 1 9 Cheese - 1 2 0 Recipes - 1 3 2 Listings - 1 4 6 Last Word 8 l FRV Travel


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P T K ubu Dua M edi a J l. Petitenget 12A, Kerobokan, Bali, Indonesia Te l. +62 361 746 3751/52 | Fa x. +62 361 847 5458 email: www.frvtra ve l.c om Di recto r Guna wa n I nd rob a skoro Graphics Coordinator Sya ffri Soe wa rd i (artwork@frvtra ve l.c om) Graphi cs Te guh Ana nta P ho to g raphy Moc h. Sulthon, R a ma d ha n, Ad a m Ra syid Di stri buti o n Nyoman Rupma Ii n I nd ra p utra , I c ul, Ma d e i nfo@frvtra ve l.c om Fi nance Sri W ita ri, B a gus Oka Mark eti ng Gina ( A dmi ni strati o n Dya h, Poojie , Ta ri Co ntri buto rs T homa s Jone s, Ve Ha nd ojo, Da vid Tra uts, Erza ST, Nic hola s Wa lton, Katie Truman, Rachel Love, Herman Von Ber nhardi Aguayo, Ian Lloyd Ne ub a ue r, Ke lvin Ha ye s. S ubscri pti o n Yearly subscription available in Indonesia - Rupiah 315,000 Conta c t: sub sc rib e @frvtra ve l.c om Send e-mail to the above for details. Consulting Stua rt D W ilford (stua rt@frvtra ve l.c om) L eg al Asso ci ates Agus Sa mija ya & Pa rtne rs Gra ha Asa , Jl. Ka p te n Cok Agung Tre sna 49 Re non, De np a sa r. Te l: +62 361 242447, 247302, 08123924509. Fine Restaurants and Villas Travel magazine is an independent, b i -mo nthl y publ i cati o n. N ex t edi ti o n deadl i ne J ul y 15, 2012

FR V Tr a v e l m a g a z i n e i s p r i n t e d u n d e r l i c e n s e d t r a d e m a r k . N o p a r t o f t h i s m a g a z i n e shou ld be re produ c e d with ou t th e wr itte n pe r m ission of th e pu blish e r. A l l r i g h t s re s e r v e d . A r t i c l e s re f l e c t t h e o p i n i o n s o f t h e a u t h o r s , a n d n o t n e c e s s a r i l y th ose of th e pu blish e r s. F R V Tr a ve l m a ga zin e is pr in te d by P T M e ga I n da h (T: 02161 9 0 5 2 9 ) a n d d i s t r i b u t e d b y ; P T K u b u D u a M e d i a ( I n d o n e s i a ) , P e r i p l u s - J a v a B o o k s (In d o n e s i a ) , P T I n d o p ro m ( I n d o n e s i a ) , F o re i g n P re s s ( H o n g K o n g ) , P a n s i n g D i s t r i b ut i o n (M a l a y s i a ) a n d N a t i o n B o o k s I n t e r n a t i o n a l ( T h a i l a n d ) . Con ta c t th e e -m a il a ddre sse s a bove f or f u r th e r in f or m a tion .

F R V Trav el Mag az ine

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E dit io n 9 .1

J une - J uly ‘ 12

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Editor’s Note FRV Travel – It takes you places As the good weather begins to shine in Bali skies, another high season on the island is rolling out as fast as you can say, “The tourists are coming!” With the added technicalities of road works in the south of the island it could be a challenging time in Bali’s south, but there are still plenty of options outside the Kuta and Nusa Dua areas. A good option could be staying away from the crowded streets in a luxury villa in Seminyak, Canggu or even head further up in the hills to the cooling and refreshing airs of central or northern Bali. While you are there you can experience the old world charms of the island and discover why it has been one of the world’s number one destinations for so many years. However, all is not lost down south either, and it keeps on rocking along like always, so if you don’t mind the hustle and noise, and the odd traffic snarl, you will still be able to enjoy a great time and holiday anywhere on the island.

In this edition we have a taste of a new eclectic restaurant in Jimbaran, a stylish look at Biasa clothing at one of Seminyak’s best restaurants, Mama San and some views and experiences of the latest luxury villas around Bali. FRV Travel also visits villa complexes, hotels and gets off the beaten track in Thailand, finds luxury accommodation in Malaysia, and finds a lively Darwin and a secluded Fraser Island in Australia. Thomas Jones goes for leisurely jaunt on a houseboat in India, and we have a mini-expose on all things cultural and culinary in Singapore. It’s another fine edition of FRV Travel magazine and we’re glad to have you aboard. If you have any suggestions or comments please forward them to And don’t forget you can always access all the information from FRV Travel on our website


David Trauts Correspondent, English. Without too much time to rest, Trauts has been back and forth between Bali and Jakarta a lot in the past two months. A visit to Balique in Jimbaran was rewarding and Lara Djonggrang was even more so. Gado Gado received a couple of visits as well as Metis and Kudeta. The only thing he still has to worry about now is his waistline.

Erza S.T. The opera loving scribe has been busy for this period. After catching the sunrise at the magnificent Borobudur Temple, he went to Kuala Lumpur for an annual medical check up. All those restaurant reviews finally gives an effect to his body. Verdict: need to loose weight!

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Ve Handojo Ve has not been behind the eight ball since he was set to write a new daily TV series for teens. He has been a little too busy in the past couple of months to put pen to paper for FRV readers, but rest assured, he will back in the next edition with more of his firey and witty prose for us all.

Rachel Love Told by a fortune teller that her life would take a dramatic change in a move to the East, she arrived in Bali with a few hundred pounds and a vision to fulfill a lifelong dream of being a writer on a tropical island. FRV’s resident arts writer, Rachel is one of Bali’s most prolific authors, writing extensively on all things lifestyle and travel related.

Thomas Jones There’s only so much gorging and gourmet sleeping one can do in one’s job so after a spin around the more refined establishments of Singapore Thomas goes to India for some rest, relaxation, reflection and the simple life on a Keralan houseboat, where thoughts of the world are not permitted.

Nick Walton Nick has been writing on travel for over 10 years, including most recently as the travel editor for the South China Morning Post. From his home in Hong Kong he regularly travels throughout Asia and beyond, looking for new experiences, trends and destinations, both for his travel pieces in over 60 magazines globally, as well as his weekly radio show.

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Culture Time: Bali


Winter Magic: New Zealand The Queenstown Winter Festival will see tens of

Bali culture buffs can get their fix at the Bali Arts Festival in Denpasar.

thousands of locals and

All manner of dance and music performance, handicraft exhibitions

visitors take to the streets

and cultural and commercial activities will be on show to astound

and ski slopes for 10 days

locals and tourists alike. June 11– July 9.

of non-stop fun to celebrate the start of winter with loads

Dragons Ahoy: China

of on-mountain action, street parties, fireworks, live

The Yueyang International

concerts and comedy. June

Dragon Boat Festival takes

22 – July 1.

place over a weeklong period of cultural performances, a food festival, motorboat and parachute displays, a sacrifice to the god Qu Yuan, as well as the fantastic and nail-biting daily dragon boat races, all surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Hunan Province.


June 10 – 16.

Floating Away: Singapore

Winter Warmth: Melbourne

Swim, Bike, Run: Bali The fourth annual MRA Bali

party on the island, Singapore

The Light in Winter event brings

International Triathlon is under

comes alive as the locals

together artists, designers,

starter’s orders at the Four

come out to celebrate the

architects, filmmakers and

Seasons Resort Jimbaran

waterways in the Singapore

multicultural groups in a free,

Bay. The weekend features an

River Festival, which features a

month-long program of light

Olympic distance event for the

host of events from live music,

sculptures, talks, events,

hardy and a sprints distance

performance, an aerial show

workshops, performances and the

event for the not so. June 24.

and wild and crazy partying all

much-loved Solstice Celebration.

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night long. June 25 – July 3.

June 1 – July 1.


Perhaps the largest sundown

Dance on the Lake: Indonesia The Lake Sentani Cultural Festival near Jayapura, Papua, celebrates cultures from the various ethnic groups that surround the mystifying lake with traditional dances, various handicrafts displays such as bark painting, and highlighted by contests for hair weaving, flute playing, and folk dancing. June 19 – 23.


Elephant Parade: Sri Lanka One of the most glamorous cultural processions in the world, the Esala Perahera in Kandy features brightly coloured processions of revelers on 10 consecutive nights, ending on the final night with 100 elephants adorned in elegant and elaborate costumes to pay homage to a sacred tooth relic. July 19 – August 2.

Rumble in the Jungle: Sarawak

Praise the Litchi: China

Going from strength to strength

Zengcheng has long been

the Rainforest World Music

known for the quality of its

Festival, Sarawak Cultural

litchis and shows its respect

Village, comes to Borneo with

with the annual Litchi Festival.

world musicians from around

People come from miles

the globe gathering to celebrate

around to taste the delicious

a fusion of nature, culture

fruits and be entertained by

and ethnic music in the Bako

song and dance performances,

National Park near Kuching.

sports events, photography

July 8 – 10.

exhibitions and trade shows. July 1 – 31.

At The Crossroads The UNESCO protected city of Melaka celebrates itself and its long


and vibrant history as the crossroads between the Far East and the Old World with a day of events, good food, parades and good cheer and tolerance of all the myriad creeds, colours and religions that call it home. July 7.


Soaring High: China The Jiayuguan Pass International Gliding Festival offers the chance

A Winter’s Read: Australia The Mildura Writers’ Festival

to soar like a bird against the

brings together some of Australia’s

majestic backdrop of the Gobi

best writers in an intimate winter

Desert and Qilian Mountains

program of workshops, lectures

in a weekend filled with gliding

and discussion forums built upon

contests and demonstrations.

the provincial Victorian winter,

Fight training is also available

with late night discussions around

with silver, gold and diamond

wood fires, showcasing the local

flight certificates available. July

and regional gourmet food and

15 –18.

wine. July 13– 15.


Sailing Away: Sulawesi The Bira Phinisi Festival celebrates the ubiquitous, hand-built, wooden Bugis sailing ship, the phinisi, and will be held at the home of the boat builders in South Sulawesi combining the celebration of the boats as well as food and traditional dances of Bulukumba and rituals of the Ammotoa tribe. July 15 – 17.

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Villa Adenium Family fun on Bali’s Bukit. Villa Adenium is a great base for families and groups of friends wishing to explore Bali’s Bukit Peninsula. Tucked away in a quiet and secure villa complex in the hills above Jimbaran Bay this stylish and contemporary four-bedroom villa has been designed to keep even the most energetic kids entertained. Facilities include a 15-metre salt water swimming pool, kid’s playroom complete with Xbox, a games room with table tennis and billiard table, a gymnasium and massage room. A full complement of staff is on hand to make you feel at home, along with a car and driver.

bits&PIECES New Executive Chef at The Chedi Club From one island to another, a chef’s journey. Khairudin ‘Dean’ Nor is the new Exexutive Chef at The Chedi Club and brings a load of experience to his new position, including that from his previous role of sous chef at Singapore’s Saint Pierre restaurant, which was awarded Best Restaurant of the Year by the World Gourmet Summit in 2007. Dean received his qualifications at the Singapore Hotel Association of Training and Education Centre (SHATEC), and speaks fluent English, Malay and Mandarin. In addition to Saint Pierre, Dean has worked at several freestanding restaurants in Singapore, ranging from a fine dining steak house and authentic Japanese to casual Southeast Asian. Dean is a native Singaporean and coming from an island renowned for its cultural affinity to good food, he is keen to bring a lot of new ideas to the property and incorporate fine dining and Asian-influenced elements in the property’s Western and Balinese dining and beverage concepts.

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BITS&PIECES “I smiled when I saw he’d left the lights on. It was a sign. He wanted me to wait for him. I could see him through the window, hurriedly slurping the rest of his soup down. He didn’t need to rush. Of course I would stay. These moments are what I waited all day for.”

Mama sees it all. And it is beautiful.

The dish: Roasted duck

with Shanghai noodles,

duck wontons and bok choy. Meltingly tender roast duck pieces swimming in a clear, golden-hued,

aromatic broth with hints of ginger, cinnamon and Sichuan pepper.

Escape the heat and head to Mama San for lunch. Open from 12 noon.

jl. raya kerobokan no.135 br taman, bali +62 361 730 436 www.twitter/mamasanbali

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Plataran’s Patio Entices, Enthralls and Excites the Palate Chef Nyoman Rai takes Patio diners on a culinary adventure. Patio Terrace and Lounge at the exquisite Plataran Resort Bali now features a wonderfully crafted menu that offers a symphony of tastes and flavours courtesy of newly-appointed Executive Chef Nyoman Rai who arrived in February. Chef Rai has taken inspiration from the tranquil location and made full use of the organic vegetable and spice garden to create a menu full of freshness and vitality. “I have worked as a chef for 20 years and have had some wonderful experiences at Alila, Uma Resort and Como Shambhala which have helped to shape my ideas about food,” he explains. Offering a range of skillfully prepared western dishes as well as creative vegetarian and raw dishes, Chef Rai’s skill lies in his ability to balance flavours and colours. “The food is driven by ingredients, the best I can find and then I like to play with tastes and textures to create interesting and vibrant dishes. I’ve had some wonderful teachers like Chris Miller who was at Como Shambhala and Diane Von Cranach, Southeast Asia’s raw food guru, who helped me to understand how food contributes to our well being.” His guests come from all over the world, and their tastes are wide and varied. While some want a simple steak dinner or a grilled fish with fresh sides, others are more adventurous and want to try local dishes and some of the classic dishes prepared with local flavours. There is always an element of surprise in his dishes from the simplest green salad with snap fresh vegetables, roasted nuts and seeds and a tangy dressing to a sublime raw curry dressed with a mildly spiced avocado dressing to prawn salads with home-made spinach noodles and an orange balsamic dressing topped with tiny mango cones filled with greens and avocado. Each plate is a work of art and sauces are so well blended it is often challenging to define the ingredients, so well does he play one flavour off against another. Patio at Plataran is a short drive from Seminyak and Canggu, and is a tranquil and beautiful restaurant overlooking a river and surrounded by giant bamboo, yet despite its proximity to Bali’s main tourist areas, it seems a world away.

Metropole Opens Wartime Memorial

Recently discovered Hanoi bunker anchors ‘Path of History’ hotel tour. Forty years after the bombs stopped falling on Hanoi, and less than one year after a chance discovery of an air-raid shelter in its back garden, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi cut a red ribbon on the excavated bunker on May 21 as the anchor attraction in a new Path of History tour. “Hotels are always opening new outlets,” said Kai Speth, the hotel’s general manager. “New restaurants, new bars, new spas, but it’s not everyday that a hotel opens an old bomb shelter as a new memorial.” The 40-square-metre bomb shelter has been preserved in its original state as a tribute to the hotel’s wartime

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employees, who ushered guests into the relative safety of the underground chamber from the mid-1960s through to the Christmas Bombings in 1972. A Filipino journalist, Gemma Cruz Araneta, described the bomb shelter this way in a May 1968 journal entry: “The hotel shelter is a long, narrow, semi-subterranean room of concrete which I thought would have made a groovy discotheque. It is lined with green wooden chairs and though there was no electricity, I noticed an electric fan in a corner. Reallly, the Vietnamese are such thoughtful hosts.” Though the hotel had long known there was a bomb shelter buried near the shallow end of the swimming pool, it was only with the reconstruction of the hotel’s Bamboo Bar that the location was fixed. Speth approached the first reencounter with the space at the end of last summer with a mix of ambition and trepidation. “We had no idea what we were going to find after we jack-hammered through that roof,” he said.

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Photos Chris Leggett

Malimbu Cliff Villa Lombok calls out over the strait. With the new Lombok International Airport now in full swing, Bali’s little sister offers some great luxury getaways for those seeking a more chilled out vibe. Fresh and modern in design, the five-bedroom Malimbu Cliff is the latest villa to be unveiled on the island’s dramatic western coastline. Hugging the hillside with breathtaking panoramas, this contemporary and comfortable villa has thrown in a few decadent features for that exclusive taste of luxury. Featuring an 18-metre infinity pool that appears to drop straight into the ocean, a

terrace from which to-die-for sunsets unfold each evening, a master bedroom with its own pool balcony just made for sipping cocktails, and beautiful bathtubs offering some of the best views in the house, you’ll find it hard to resist the laid-back Lombok groove. To top it off, while Malimbu Cliff offers a private coastal location, it’s only a ten-minute drive to Senggigi’s bars and restaurants and a quick boat ride to the glorious Gili Islands, famed for their amazing snorkelling and diving.

Everybody’s Talking About The New Club In Town Shogroup is spreading its corporate leisure wings to Jakarta. James Wynne from Shogroup and operator of Canggu Club since 2008, sat down with FRV Travel to tell us about a new project they are now involved in with the Lippo Group in the new Kemang Village in Jakarta, where they are constructing as many as seven residential towers, a huge shopping mall, office buildings, and a five-star hotel. In the centre of this “mini city” will be located the new Kemang Country Club, which will be located above the huge shopping mall in the 20 l FRV Travel

centre of Kemang Village and immediately surrounded by five residential towers and the new JW Marriot. “The site is jaw dropping,” says James, “and they have asked my company to enter into a joint venture with them to operate the Club.” The surroundings of the Kemang Village and Country Club have been designed by Bill Bensley, and the Club will be able to cater to thousands of members. “The Club is absolutely enormous and they are not holding back on cost or facilities, he enthuses. “The entire development is based on integration and the facilities at the Club are mind blowing.” The Club structure is complete and over the past four months they have been tweaking the final list of facilities with the architects in order to ensure that the concept fits the market and that they are mapped out correctly. “Lippo are fantastic to work with and they do not leave anything to chance,” adds James. It is estimated that the new Kemang Country Club will be open at the end of the year.

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I’m An Angel Celebrates 10 Years of Sharing! Giving back to the Bali people most in need. On June 16th, Seminyak’s iconic beachfront venue, KU DE TA, will roll out the red carpet and light up the night for its famous philanthropic ‘I’m An Angel’ charity dinner event.Celebrating 10 years of sharing, this fundraising night-ofnights will eclipse all previous occasions thanks to some very special announcements. Founded in 2003 by Asana Viebeke Lengkong, ‘I’m An Angel’ has continued to empower impoverished Balinese communities through sustained programs that concentrate on improving health and education, raising income through skills training, disseminating information and employing disaster intervention when required. Six carefully selected chefs in the region will join forces with KU DE TA, Bali, to share the love and raise funds for ‘I’m An Angel’, and help support a wide range of programs that have benefited thousands of families all over Bali.

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Lead by KU DE TA’s Executive Chef Phil Davenport, cooking up an impeccable sixcourse dinner will be Will Meyrick (Sarong, Bali), Ryan Clift (Tippling Club, Singapore), Janice Wong (2am:dessertbar, Singapore), Dorin Schuster (The Legian, Bali), Stefan Zijta (Alila, Bali) and supported by KU DE TA’s team; Ben Cross and Will Goldfarb. Starting the evening, DJ BtK will bring smooth and soulful rhythms throughout the venue. Tijuana Cartel, one of Melbourne’s more uplifting and super entertaining bands will be gracing the stage to perk up your mood while you’re enjoying the lavish dishes from the top chefs. Wrapping up the night, guests can participate in the impressive charity auction. To find out more about ‘I’m An Angel’ visit:


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Gado Gado The secret source of a chef’s inspiration. I had the pleasure of dining recently with the Executive Chef at Chez Gado Gado, Quirijn Rademaker or better known as Quib, to try some of his new dishes. We were sitting on the timber deck of the very popular beachside restaurant with the crashing waves as a backdrop and tastefully lit trees above. As the dishes rolled out, Quib explained to me how he goes about finding the inspiration to creating new dishes. “I spend about an hour on the internet every day searching the trends, mainly by following the commentary of the top food critics. I keep an eye on what is happening internationally,” confides the Dutch chef. He also spends a lot of time in the kitchen crafting the ingredients available into dishes and finding the best presentation. There are a number of new dishes scattered around the menu including starters, mains and desserts. Dishes like the tuna tartar with Thai yoghurt, pickled cucumber and avruga caviar, which was so fresh and tangy on the palate. It arrived in a large tumbler glass – a simple idea and the presentation, perfect. The poached slipper lobster with sweet corn crème, oyster mushrooms and pomelo was also a sensational explosion of flavours. “Pomelo always goes well with the seafood,” Quib says. And there’s another little known reason why Gado Gado has such succulent vegetables accompanying their dishes. The Kitchen Gardens is what they call a 3000 m2 parcel of fertile land in Plaga on the slopes of central Bali. The purpose built market garden has a staff of 24 farm workers who tend the fields and supply Gado Gado exclusively. Many of the seeds have come from Holland and the land is supplying the restaurant with the freshest fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices enjoyed in all their new dishes.

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GO NAKED h u ’u B A R & G R I L L O N E O F L I F E ’ S F I N E S T P L E A S U R E S ...

At hu’u bar & grill, we employ simple cooking techniques, the finest cuts of imported meats and the freshest local ingredients in our cuisine. An au naturel approach. c elebrating our 10th anniversary in 2 0 1 2 r e servations +62 361 473 6576, huub a l i . c o m , j a l a n p e t i t e n g e t , s e m i n y a k , b a l i 8 0 3 6 1

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Interview Maya Aldy - Otel Lobby FRV Travel takes a few minutes with one of the classiest chefs in Jakarta. What are some of the other areas in Jakarta that are well known for dining out? Maya: I like to go to Chinatown after work for some grub as there are numorous joints that open until late. I also like Menteng for its authentic, old school restos. Other areas like SCBD, Mega Kuningan and Kemang also have great options for eateries.


aya Aldy is chef and partner at Otel Lobby in Epicentrum, Kuningan, a restaurant that brings a new home-style angle and quiet sophistication in dining to the city of Jakarta. She has worked in restaurants in New York, Bali and Jakarta, where she is now based, and brings with her a deep passion for food and the ingredients from which they are made. Otel Lobby is a cool and casual eatery with a hip dynamic, much like the lady herself. With a smile, a casual word and a certain charm, she instantly makes people feel at home. She was born and bred in Jakarta and apart from 10 years spent in Bali and the USA, she has lived in her home city of Jakarta. For this reason, FRV Travel is speaking to her about the culinary side of the Big Durian, and started by asking her about her very own neighborhood. Tell us something about Epicentrum, Kuningan, the home of Otel Lobby and other great new eateries. Maya: I see the Epicentrum block to be an up-coming neighborhood for residents and office workers from the surrounding buildings. It has multiple access from the south and center of Jakarta and has lots of potential.

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Give us your top five restaurants in Jakarta and why. Maya: Ha! I like Imperial Chef in Chinatown for Chinese food, Seribu Rasa in Menteng for flavours, C’s for steak, Beautika for the array of Menado food, Trio Restaurant in Menteng, an old school Chinese restaurant that’s been around since the 60’s Any obscure restaurants that folks shouldn’t miss on a trip to Jakarta? Maya: Otel Lobby, ha ha ha... I’d say Seribu Rasa and a trip to Chinatown. I also like to chill out with a glass of mystic mojito at Lara Jonggrang’s back bar. Do you find cooking methods are evolving in Jakarta? Maya: Yeah... I see more and more cooking techniques in restaurants. Sous vide, dehydrated vegetables, molecular... a lot. Your menu seems to be quite simple and home style in many ways. Did that influence come from your experience in the States or somewhere else? Maya: I like to cook food that is familiar in taste and then play around with presentations and cooking methods. The influence came from my heritage and where I am at the present moment. My inspiration changes along with what’s available from the market and season.

Do you have a hunger for more restaurants and where would that be if you did? Maya: I always have concepts in mind. At the present moment we are ‘cooking’ a concept and hoping to open before the end of the year. Where? Still somewhere in South Jakarta. If someone is looking for a good night out on the town in this great big city, where would you suggest they go? Maya: I’d say have a drink or two at Otel Lobby then head to Lucy in the Sky. After that, let your instincts lead you where you want to go. Your restaurant also has many events and party nights. What kind of entertainment are you focusing on at Otel Lobby? Maya: We actually like to have week night events and have some in-house events weekly and monthly. Every Wednesday we have a live acoustic set, DJs every weekend, and a party we just started called Soul Train every last Wednesday of the month. As far as F&B, we have a kitchen table and a Monday to Friday happy hour. What do you think are the highs and lows of dining in Jakarta? What are they generally doing right and what do you think they are doing wrong? Maya: Mmm... a toughie. The highs are the many options to choose from here in the city. Lows are some of these resturants are forgetting that restaurants are meant to serve good food and drinks consistently. Generally, the resturants are designed beautifully and really nice to look at, but like I mentioned earlier, what is a restaurant without good food and service? Any other comments about this great city of yours? Maya: I love this city. I have nothing but admiration on how it evolves continuously. It’s going to be good. FRV



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A rare find along the popular southwest coast, Villa Sungai Tinggi pays homage to the culture and landscape of the ‘Island of the Gods’, offering a ‘real’ Balinese holiday experience.

Villa Sungai Tinggi

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Manicured lawns and tropical gardens surround the 18metre infinity pool.

Text: Jo Hocking Photography: Christopher Leggett


riving through the rice fields of Canggu towards Villa Sungai Tinggi we remarked on the increasing number of modern villas popping up in stark contrast to the natural surrounds. What happened to building in harmony with environment? Surely Bali’s visitors would rather be enveloped by lush tropical gardens than huge white concrete walls? Luckily for us, Villa Sungai Tinggi shares the same philosophy. As soon as we walkedthrough the carved wooden doors, it was obvious the villa had been built with love, passion and devotion for the beautiful island it calls home. Overlooking 100 metres of private beach and some of Canggu’s best surf breaks, everything about this four-bedroom villa screams, “I’m Balinese!” From the large open-sided living pavilion with alang-alang thatched roof fashioned after a traditional wantilan (village meeting hall), to the spacious bedrooms decorated with stunning wooden artefacts and complemented by en-suite garden bathrooms, the villa was constructed using locally sourced materials that blend harmoniously with the natural environment. Outside, soft rolling lawns hug the landscape’s contours while a free-form 18-metre infinity swimming pool looks out across the ocean to the horizon, providing the perfect place to watch the sunset. Fragrant frangipanis, swaying coconut

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Above: The open-sided living pavilion, perfect for social gatherings. Below: Sungai Tinggi’s beachfront offers spectacular ocean views.

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Top: Lose yourself in the master bedroom and its museum of antiques. Bottom: A private kitchen and three dedicated chefs ensure guests are well fed.

it was hard to beat the delicious home-style meals prepared by the villa’s three dedicated in-house chefs.

palms and luscious green foliage frame the property nicely to create a private oasis and screen the property from view. Adding to the villa’s ambience are the amazing staff with their large warm and friendly smiles and gentle Balinese hospitality. Many of them reside in the nearby village and have a strong attachment to the villa - a testament to the owner’s loyal relationship with the local community. During our stay we were lucky enough to witness a traditional Hindu ceremony taking place on the beach and joined some friends in tasting special delicacies at the nearby warung. However we both agreed it was hard to beat the delicious home-style meals prepared by the villa’s three dedicated in-house chefs. In fact, overall we decided Villa Sungai Tinggi is hard to beat when it comes to a ‘real’ Balinese holiday experience. Lazing in the garden balé admiring the scenery, sleeping soundly in the antique four-poster beds, watching the farmers tend the nearby rice fields to catching a wave on one of the world’s best surf breaks, it clearly reminded us that we were indeed in Bali and that we wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else. FRV FRV Travel l 31



Text: David Trauts Photos: Sulthon

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An eclectic design and menu brings new life to Jimbaran


he owners of new Jimbaran restaurant Balique need little introduction to people around Bali. Think of just about any Moroccan or classic vintage design around town and Zohra Boukhari will be there somewhere in the shadows masterly creating the images of inspiration. Moroccan-born Zohra is behind the designs of many restaurants, spas and restaurants on Bali and around the world, and the eclectic Balique design is yet another example of her evolution. Her husband Blaise Samoy is also involved in furniture design and construction, and being brought up near the French border in Belgium he is obviously into his food. Another man behind the new restaurant, and as he describes, the French Mediterranean with an Asian twist menu, is executive chef Yehudi van Meckeren. Belgian Yehudi is only 29 years old but already has 15 years experience in the kitchens and restaurants of his native Bruges, and some of Bali’s finest, where he’s been living and working the past five years. Also, being the son of Yannic of famed Seminyak restaurant, Mannekepis, and

with his restaurant heritage, the young chef has had plenty of F&B experience from a very earlier age. There’s nothing minimalist about Balique, with ornaments, objets and furnishings bursting out of every square inch of the place, yet at the same time it’s still a simple square space housed under a large Joglo roof. Eclectic touches abound from the rusty corrugated iron entrance wall to the mix of glass lamps and sixties styled lamp shades on the ceiling and imitation flower pots climbing up the structural posts holding up the roof. As a companion said when we visited recently, it’s like a lovely doll house full of girly things – and no doubt the ladies will love it, but also I have a sneaking suspicion the guys too will feel right at home within this space. Balique is eclectic in many ways. Back to this French-Mediterranean-andslightly-Asian-twisted-menu. It’s fun, but also very tasty, wholesome and I must add, reasonably priced. There are some very authentic French dishes on the menu like the FRV Travel l 33

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This spread: As a collage of interesting things, Balique cannot be beat. Washed paint finishes, original joglo tiles, fabrics, light fittings and antique furnishings create an eclectic space of inspiration.

“Since we are in Asia,” says the chef, “we have an infusion of Asian spices and dishes throughout the menu.” grilled Australian rib eye with one of the best Béarnaise sauces on the island, handmade by a very proud Yehudi. The Mediterranean end offers a bunch of Moroccan inspired dishes including couscous, tagine, kefta and kebabs spicing things up, even if they could be more spicy in my opinion. The Italian classics like beef carpaccio and insalata caprese can meet anybody’s Italian expectations. “Since we are in Asia,” says the chef, “we have an infusion of Asian spices and dishes throughout the menu.” Highlights would be the crying tiger strip loin steak topped with coriander “naim prik” Thai dressing served with jasmine rice, or the red Thai beef curry, and there’s a whole page of Indonesian dishes if you are looking for something local. The FRV Travel l 35

Below: Chef Yehudi van Meckeren looking as casual as always.

dishes we tried were all made from fresh and wholesome ingredients, all very tasty and well presented. There’s just something very cool and fun about the place and the cocktail list also reflects that with a few interesting concoctions. One drink, a Passion Star Martini, comes in three different parts and then you are left to your own devices to figure out what to do with it. I eventually had to ask the barman. Silly me. Opened only six months ago, Balique is helping to make the Jimbaran area of south Bali a dining enclave in its own right. As the traffic of Bali now dictates how far anyone

This French-Mediterranean-and-slightly-Asian-twisted menu is fun, but it’s also very tasty, wholesome and I must add, reasonably priced.

is willing to drive to a restaurant, this shady tree-lind street amongst some of Bali’s top resorts will surely have a strong dining future. However, the people at Balique won’t be sitting on their laurels for long as plans are already afoot for a similar concept and a second restaurant in Oberoi’s famed Eats Street, which is slated to open in a few months. But don’t wait around for that to appear, get down to Jimbaran now to try the original. FRV

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Balique Jalan Uluwatu 39, Jimbaran, Bali Tel: +62 361 704 945

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Dining With The Chefs “It

is all about the food,� said master chef and owner of Metis restaurant, Doudou, as we spoke about a special dinner held at his restaurant recently, which was organised to champion four local Indonesian chefs from different restaurants around town: Desyanto Nugroho from The Stones, Ronald Tokilov from Bali Cardamon, Christfian Nehemia from Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali, Ridwan Isbani from Laguna Resort & Spa and Arief Wicaksono from Metis. It was a commendable project for Metis to get behind as Indonesian chefs have been excelling in kitchens and competitions all around the world in recent years and there is no doubt that through events like this one, held in late March, their acceptance in the international culinary world will be enhanced, especially from the notoriously parochial Bali expat crowd. They each had a single course to prepare out of the five courses served on the evening and

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there was an added touch of multimedia with live footage being televised directly from the kitchen to large screens encompassing the dining area. After introductions were made the chefs and their assisting crews began preparing the multitude of dishes under the gaze of the hundred or so dining guests. There were many highlights amongst the inventive menu presented on the evening including a very intricately presented ovenroasted octopus carpaccio, and a tasty and perfectly cooked Kemangi crusted black cod with toasted cauliflower, herb broth and crispy taro. Other dishes included a pan-seared foie gras, roasted wagyu beef and a delectable dessert to die for. The evening was accompanied by chilled sounds from a classy jazz ensemble and pre- and afterdrinks in the bar. FRV

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Eco jute Jacky dress + linen Shinobu jacket + cotton string necklace (white + natural beige). Space: Downstairs dining area. 40 l FRV Travel

mama san

mama san kitchen bar lounge has taken seminyak by storm with an inventive asian style, menu and cocktail list. another fashionable bali entity is bIASA WITH exotic CLOTH and STYLISHly designed chic GARMENTS. Here they are combined in a seminyak kind of fusion. Photos by skas Garments by biasa Location Mama San FRV Travel l 41


Basic musseline top + elastic tube top + cotton sarong + Kulu bangle (tangerine). Space: The upstairs lounge bar. 42 l FRV Travel

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Silk triangle top + multi-use wrap sarong. Space: The upstairs bar. 44 l FRV Travel

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Musseline dress + gold metal bracelets. Space: The upstairs bar. 46 l FRV Travel

Linen tilt dress + gold metal bangle. Space: The upstairs wine cellar. FRV Travel l 47

Concept mama san “An environment where people can feel comfortable to eat, try their hand at cooking or just lounge in a bar. Basically, not needing to leave the space until home time, whatever that time is. Mama San is for anyone who appreciates to lounge in style and eat quality food without it being too expensive,� will Meyrick. GARMENTS Model: Agnes Balistarz Photographer: Skas Wardrobe: Biasa Jalan Raya Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia Tel: +62 361 730 945 Hair and Make up: Rob Peetoom Production: Balistarz Stylist: Gusti Arya

Mama San Jl. Raya Kerobokan No. 135 Br. Taman, Bali. T. +62 361 730 436

Eco jute shorts + musseline tube top + Gold metal bracelets. Space: The ground floor bar. 48 l FRV Travel

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A Heavenly Stay Puri Nirwana

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Facing page: The swimming pool and blue sea stand side by side.

Below: Large comfortable sofas and open doors soak up the sea breezes.

Right: Colonial style balustrades; One of the vast, easy to negotiate bathrooms; And the pleasure-to-use master kitchen.

Text by Thomas Jones


ay out of Seminyak and halfway to the isolated and serene east Bali coast is not the place most people associate with the luxury villa trade. Well, it’s time for some reeducation. The colonial-style, six-bedroom Puri Nirwana has it all in spades with no expense having been spared on getting this grand old dame of a beachside villa as close as possible to its heavenly namesake – Nirwana. One of the only villas in Bali designed to be wheelchair/disabled friendly (with easy to negotiate bathrooms and an elevator

between floors) it has it’s own professional onsite spa, a children’s playground, a pool table, a full compliment of staff, a private pool, can sleep up to 22 guests, and is surrounded in lush tropical gardens, with an absolute beachfront location to boot. Guests enter through a large gate into an impressive reception area that leads off in all directions to the various TV, living and dining rooms, the three downstairs bedrooms and out into the gardens. Up the stairs, or by the elevator, are the last three bedrooms and the bar/lounge area, which has plantation style louvres all FRV Travel l 51

Above left: Al-fresco poolside dining beneath the flower strewn pergola.

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Above right: Pull up outside the ornate stone gate and step into the massive gardens below.

The pool and villa at night and the standalone joglo spa.

Puri Nirwana has it all in spades with no expense having been spared on getting this grand old dame of a beachside villa as close as possible to its heavenly namesake.

around, which open up to amazing views of the gardens, lawns and the bright blue sea. The villa is fully staffed and includes a chef, housekeepers, gardeners and a manager who is on hand to ensure smooth sailing every day. A dedicated security team is also on-site to provide complete peace of mind. Being up in the wilds of east Bali will not be a problem at all with the villa’s inclusive nine-seat car with driver - a man who will be happy to take you out to see the beautiful and unpopulated beaches, mountains and rice fields of the untouched heart of Bali’s beautiful northeast.

The villa also has it’s own professionallytrained gourmet chef who can whip up anything that you may desire either from their extensive menu or from whatever your imagination can conjure up. All you need to do is inform the staff of your evening’s requirements and they will head off to the market to get the ingredients fresh for your dining pleasure that very day. And finally, in the garden you can’t help but notice the beautifully ornate Javanese building that houses the on-site spa. If you think the outside is something to rave about (and it is) just wait until you step inside. FRV

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Living Like A Rock Star Text by Erza S.T.


hen it comes to hotels, and despite a limited selection, Surabaya offers some pretty interesting places to stay and since I was only there for two days, I decided to play it safe and put my fate in the good hands of the Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya.

Surabaya is the the second largest city in Indonesia, but it has never been high on my list to make a visit. known more as a business hub than a tourist destination, when I had to go there for business recenty I did not know what to expect.

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For a five-star hotel that has been established for over a decade, the Shangri-La is still in prime condition. Like other Shangri-La hotels around the world, the hotel’s entrance area is connected to the magnificent high-ceiling lobby lounge with grand pillars and crystal chandeliers. Charmed by this luxurious ambience, I was more then ready to check in and was more than pleasantly surprised when the receptionist informed me that I had been upgraded to their top level Surabaya Suite. This is the kind of news that every traveler longs to hear and Surabaya was starting to seem not too shabby after all. As my meeting wasn’t starting for another couple of hours, I explored my Surabaya Suite. Situated on the top floor, this extravagant and modern suite is definitely fit for rock stars rather than a weary businessman like me. I was not about to complain. With a total of 208 m2, this newlyrenovated suite is separated into a sitting room, kitchenette, a dining area fit for 10 guests and an incredible bedroom overlooking the city.

Seeing the bathroom had a fantastic jacuzzi, separate shower cubicle, bidet and LCD television I suddenly had the urge to take a long bubble bath to pass the time. Complimentary broadband, a hypoallergenic pillow menu and full office facilities just added to my appreciation and I started to think that I should conduct all my meetings right here instead of outside. After my meeting I decided to try out one of the treatments at The Spa on the third floor. The massage menu is simple and offers everything from Balinese massage to a warm stone massage. I went with the 90 minutes of warm stones and coming out, I felt rejuvenated and brand new. At the end of my trip, I still didn’t know much about Surabaya as a city, but I did know that the Shangri-La is fabulous and really gives a memorable experience. It seems that business trips to Surabaya are actually quite fun and I am definitely coming back for more of the “Surabaya experience” very soon. FRV

Shangri-La Hotel Surabaya Jl. May. Jend. Sungkono 120 Surabaya Tel: +623 1566 1550

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Heritage at Lara Djonggrang

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Top: One of the many themed dining rooms in Lara Djonggrang. Facing page: A scene from Raden Panji and Chandra Kirana mask dance before dinner.


reat custodians of Indonesian heritage, Text & photos: the Tugu group have been keeping Indonesian culture alive in their hotels and restaurants for over 25 years, and through a vast array of artworks and artifacts they offer guests The owners an authentic vision and painstakingly travelled experience of Indonesian history and culture. back and forth to

David Trauts

Yogya to investigate the dishes

To this end, Lara Djonggrang dining habits and restaurant in Menteng, Jakarta has been holding a of the period. series of Indonesian cultural dining events over the past year or so, with the latest event, the 10th in the series, being fathomed from the kitchens of the Yogyakarta Keraton Palace and the reigns of the Sultans Hamengkubuwono VII to IX, a reign of over 100 years, that ended in 1988.

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Left: One of the many dining rooms at Lara Djonggrang. The pastel krupuk above and the pecel buah salad to the right.

Within the research made to develop the menu, the owners discovered many favourite dishes of the Sultan.

potato with chicken rice noodle filling, a delicious tomatten soup, a pecel buah salad; and mains like bebek suwar suwir, a sweet, sour and fresh duck dish with kedondong fruit and biefstuk Djawa, a Javanese steak in a light sweet soya sauce. While the tastes wouldn’t be called typically Indonesian they did have a certain Western flair about them. They were created with the assistance of the Executive Chef at Tugu, Jamil, who has almost 20 years of experience with the group.

The owners painstakingly travelled back and forth to Yogyakarta to investigate the dining habits and dishes of this period and the resulting mélange, and what could be called the first ancient fusion of Indonesian and European tastes, was served to the approximately 100 guests attending the dinner. A classical performance of the Raden Panji and Chandra Kirana mask dance with gamelan was presented outside before the diners were seated amongst the many rooms and alcoves of the converted Dutch colonial home that became Lara Djonggrang some seven years ago. The selection of dishes was presented in a spectacular Royal Palace fashion in high standing clay pots with flower and reed 58 l FRV Travel

arrangements. The dishes had subtle tastes of Indonesian ingredients and were cooked in a very European manner. Possibly too much of a European manner as my Indonesian companion decided early into the set menu that the flavours weren’t to his liking. That’s a common reaction for Indonesians when it comes to anything fusion in regard to their national cuisine, but for me, being an Indophile of western stock, I was quietly impressed. Within the research made to develop the menu, the owners discovered many favourite dishes of the Sultan, which were included in along with other dishes served at the Keraton. These favourites included an appetizer called pastel krupuk, a puff pastry covered mash

Special cocktails were also created for the evening by manager Andy Guy, combining traditional and local ingredients like fresh ginger, cloves, star anise with new modern alcohol like lime vodka. “They were creations using modern techniques and ingredients while fitting with the occasion,” said Andy. The evening was a fine dining experience not to be missed. If you are interested in a taste of Indonesian heritage and cuisine make sure you make it to the next installment of the “Indonesia’s Best Dining Series”. FRV

Lara Djonggrang Jl. Teuku Cik Di Tiro Menteng, Jakarta +62 21 315 3252

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The Hotel Where Art Lives For the last few years, Jakarta has been transforming itself into a new town with many new restaurants, malls, apartments, hotels and infrastructure developments. Pullman Jakarta Central Park hotel is just one of the latest additions.

Text by Erza S.T.

Pullman Jakarta Central Park Podomoro City Jakarta Tel: +62 21 2920 0088


ocated within the recently built Podomoro City Super Block in West Jakarta, the Pullman Jakarta Central Park Hotel combines mall, hotel and apartment into one establishment. Not your typical business hotel, it adopts a crossover concept between modern museum and a designer space and is the first hotel in Indonesia with the concept known as ‘industrial raw’. The word ‘contemporary’ will immediately come to mind once you arrive in the spacious and highceilinged white lobby, where a red wire statue in the form of a man is climbing the metal background of the reception known as ‘The Climber in Red’, by Ode. After checking in, we were guided through a long, high hall surrounded with more stunning Indonesian artworks including an array of blue baby statues with red apples on their head skipping rope by Arlan Kamil, which stood juxtaposed against two large paintings carrying a similar childhood theme. They don’t only use the artworks as decoration but also to allow the art to come alive and become at one with the building. It is refreshing to see such hotel designs in Jakarta.

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I walked to the room with high anticipation and our expectations were justly fulfilled. Of all six-room types, we experienced the Executive Suite. Following the hotel’s general theme the suite also features a contemporary art design; a combination of grey tones and rich woods, with stylish furniture creating a subtle ambience. However, the most stunning feature of the room was the transparent glass shower located in the middle of the room. It is a very sexy feature and adds voyeuristic feel to the experience. This will excite newlyweds, but will definitely not suit business colleagues who happen to be sharing a room, but I don’t suppose they would staying in the Suite in any case. Pullman Jakarta Central Park hotel also has many great facilities such as a spa featuring a Turkish hammam and a Vichy shower, an outdoor swimming pool with a sunbathing terrace, a Zen rooftop garden, and a playful chill out space to relax where you can enjoy the latest Nintendo Wii games. As one of the latest hotel establishments in town, Pullman Jakarta Central Park hotel offers not only accommodation but also a one-stop entertainment venue. So, whether you are here to admire the art collection or just to enjoy the facilities, this hotel will definitely meet your needs. FRV

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Discovering Ancient Trails in Yogyakarta

Text and Photos by Erza S.T.

Mighty kingdoms have risen and fallen in Central Java and a visit there is like traveling back in time. This enchanting place has a mythical charm that immediately takes you to the glory days when great kings once ruled the land, and echoes of ancient stories can still be heard.

Left: Morning view to the mountains of Merbabu and Merapi.

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Top: Beukenhof restaurant offers cuisine from the Dutch colonial era.

Bottom: Ullen Sentalu museum covers the history of the Four Kingdoms of Java.

Right: Grand Aston Yogyakarta offers all the modern luxuries.


I silently climb the stairs to the top of Borobudur Temple in the pre-dawn tight, I can feel the beautiful narrative reliefs carved on the walls around me whispering the story of the Sailendra dynasty – the Buddhist kingdom that built this mighty temple in the 9th century during their golden age before it was mysteriously abandoned, and it succumbed centuries of volcanic ash and jungle. Reaching the top and taking in the glorious early morning vistas of volcanoes and rivers surrounded by rising mist is almost overwhelming. This must be just what Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles was feeling when he rediscovered the temple two centuries ago. This is not the only temple to be discovered in the area, however, and soon I am 3km away exploring Mendut, a more intimate and smaller temple that predates Borobudur. Inside the main chamber are three Buddhas that have sat in stillness for centuries. I pray to Dhyani Buddha Vairocana in the middle to be liberated from bodily karma, and to be liberated from karma of speech to Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara on the left. Lastly, I also pray to Bodhisattva Vajrapani on the right to be liberated from karma of thought. My prayers making me feel like one of the kings of ancient times.

Top: Borobudur temple in the morning; Nearby Mendut Temple; Inside the Ullen Sentalu museum.

Although Yogyakarta was born out of Hindu and Buddhist religions, it all changed when Islam gained a foothold in the area, and ever since it has been known for the regal Javanese kingdoms and heritage that still exists to the present time. While the reliefs at Borobudur and Mendut temple tell us about Buddhism’s ancient past, it’s not the same without finding out stories on the four Javanese Islamic kingdoms. Fortunately, in the highlands of Kaliurang, and only 40 minutes drive from Yogyakarta city, the Ullen Sentalu museum offers many of the answers. On display are historical notes, relics and artifacts, and

some of the royal kingdom’s best-kept secrets of Yogyakarta, Pakualam, Surakarta and Mangkunegaran, which the museum guide will be happy to share. Stories like what type of batik that they used to wear, and the forbidden and scandalous love story between the princess and a commoner. Surrounded by stunning natural views and cold mountain weather, Ullen Sentalu museum is both a great destination and offers interesting insights into the ancient culture of Java. Although Central Java is renowned for its ancient past, I am not sure I would want to stay in some uncertain ancient lodgings as well. Instead, I stayed at the newly opened five-star Grand Aston Yogyakarta, situated in the very heart of Yogyakarta’s business district with all the facilities one would expect. Weary travellers, especially ones that have climbed Borobudur temple at 3.30am, like myself, might want to book into the spa upon returning for a relaxing massage, while in the evening, unwind at Vanilla Sky Lounge, the hotel’s groovy rooftop venue. The Grand Aston Yogyakarta’s friendly staff can also assist you in your sightseeing activities to all the temples and museums above. Their extensive knowledge of the city will definitely make your stay in this city a pleasant one. Yogyakarta is a great destination for a weekend hideaway. In just under an hour’s flight from Bali or Jakarta, you will immediately be in a city that is not only well preserved but also still carries the traditional values of daily Javanese life. FRV

Grand Aston Yogyakarta Jl. Urip Sumoharjo 37 Yogyakarta – Indonesia Tel: +62 274 566 999 FRV Travel l 63


Aquaminium Text by Nick Walton

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Facing page: The Aquaminium offers world class living spaces and elegant bedrooms, as well as the perfect place to park luxury yachts. Right and below: Aquaminium’s lavish apartments come with full gourmet kitchens and chic rooftop lounges, while villas offer a resortlike ambience with privacy to boot.

An intelligently designed residential property like nothing else on the resort island. boat beneath, and step into your penthouse as if you’d just parked your car in an internal garage.


rom the shaded rooftop cabana, the whole of the Royal Phuket Marina is mapped out below, drenched in late afternoon sunshine. Million-dollar yachts gleam as boat crews perform their daily rituals, while other luxurious vessels can be seen cruising down the entrance channel towards the marina complex, home from a day spent island hopping in the Gulf of Siam, towards the Aquaminium. The Aquaminium. It certainly sounds like something from a 1950s television series, where designers tried to predict how people would live in the future. But, for a fortunate few, the future is already here, basking under the near-endless Phuket sun. An intelligently designed residential property like nothing else on the resort island. The world’s first condominium complex to house a private yacht berth within the residence itself, the Aquaminium is a series of three-level luxury apartment blocks recently completed at the Royal Phuket Marina to cater to the truely affluent boaties. As with many marina residential developments, the idea is to have your boat as close to your home as possible – and the Aquaminium not only has plenty of berths running alongside the complex, but for one lucky punter in each building, there is the chance to actually park your

Designed by Palmer & Turner Hong Kong (P&T), each of the three buildings feature a range of apartment styles; one and two-bedroom units, perfect as a summer retreat far from the rat race; luxurious duplexes, suited for those looking to enjoy the Phuket sun year round; and one lavish triplex per building, complete with the spacious rooftop entertainment space, with al fresco dining, swimming pool, and covered boat parking at water level. While the interiors of all Aquaminium apartments are nothing short of lavish, they still retain a touch of Thai elegance and intelligent practicality. The complex’s decor was the brain child of interior design specialists dwp cityscape (design world partnership), who brought to life the famed rooftop bar Sirocco at the Lebua State Tour in Bangkok. Each apartment features the natural elements of solid timber and imported stone, as well as plenty of natural light from large windows and multiple balconies. But it’s the triplex penthouses that hold the real wow factor. The three levels offer the ultimate in lavish living and entertaining. With four spacious bedrooms, including a massive master suite, four bathrooms complete with his and her showers and chroma-therapy Jacuzzi baths, an expansive living and dining area complete with dining table for ten, and private elevator access to the Boat Lounge, this is as sumptuous a home as you will find in Thailand. Perfect after a long day on the sea. FRV

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h c a e B The Revisited

Words and pics by Ian Neubauer Few books have had as great an impact on young travellers in Asia as Alex Garland’s ‘The Beach’, the tale of a backpacker who stumbles on a tropical thai island paradise, where a small community of Westerners live in apparent isolated bliss. As fictional as it was, and despite rapid modernisation, there are still hundreds of locations in Thailand’s south where The Beach could be set and lived out.

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ne such place is Ko Payam, a kangarooshaped island bordering the Burmese maritime border on the Andaman Coast. Surrounded on all sides by turquoise waters, sand-ringed islets and coral reefs teeming with marine life, Ko Payam’s raw beauty assaults the senses. The island is also a haven for flora and fauna, and its heavily forested interior is inhabited by snakes, monkeys, wild pigs and 65 species of birds, including the magnificent hornbill. It lies 33 kilometres southwest of Ranong, the capital of the mountainous and sparsely populated province midway between the

Malaysian border and Bangkok. A rickety passenger ferry bound for Ko Payam leaves Ranong twice daily during the high season, where a few hundred tourists - a sliver of the hordes which visit the islands of Phuket and Koh Samui every year - spend their time snorkelling and sunbaking on near-deserted beaches. The journey begins along a muddy tributary that winds through a mangrove swamp before emptying into the Andaman Sea. Towering green mountains melt into the coast in the south, while the Pak Chan River, a broad estuary separating Thailand from Burma,

Looking from Ko Payam onto the Thai and Burmese mainlands. FRV Travel l 67

The island is a haven for flora and fauna, its heavily forested interior inhabited by snakes, monkeys, wild pigs and 65 species of birds.

Above: A game of volleyball at Bamboo Bungalows; Stella at her cafe; a shipwrecked junk high and dry on the white sand.

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becomes visible in the north. In the distance we see Kawthaung, the southernmost point of mainland Burma and its many golden pagodas sparkling in the sun. Two hours later we dock at Koh Payam’s village pier, where a crew of motor taxis awaits our arrival. The final leg of the journey is a thrilling motorbike ride that cuts through dense tropical bush land interspersed with the organic cashew nut plantations this island is renowned for. There are 30 bungalow properties operating on Koh Payam, most of which can be found on or around Aow Yai and Buffalo Bays, two long sweeps of powder-white sand that curve deeply into rocky outcrops honeycombed with caves. There are also a growing number of bars, minimarts and restaurants on the island run by Thais and expatriates who have

Above: A pier temple resembling a wedding cake and used as living quarters by monks.

escaped the rat race. “I was attracted by the fact that there were no cars, no electricity, and no phones - that it was not developed,” says Stella Lefevre from France, who runs Baan Namchaa, a vegetarian café, library and local clothing outlet. “Ko Payam has a calming effect. The days pass very quickly here but you enjoy every second of it,” says Linda Chevrier, a Thai national whose French father established the island’s first bungalow complex in the late 1980s. “I’m also curious to see how the island changes year after year, but I hope that it will stay the same.” The fact is Koh Payam is changing. New developments this year include a resort on Buffalo Bay with generator-powered air conditioning and television, and another resort under construction on Aow Yai Bay. The motorcycle track that connects the two

main beaches to the village pier is spotted with new businesses, and four new bars have been built next door to one another on the zenith of Ao Yai Bay. Yet the biggest change is a large communications tower erected a few years ago that has delivered modern communication to the island and all the benefits - and drawbacks - technology brings. There’s nothing like an annoying ring tone to disrupt the serenity of a blood-red Koh Payam sunset, or the site of a cyber café to remind one of responsibilities back home. It is here that Koh Payam’s development draws parallels to The Beach, which despite its benign title is a dark and sinister story about a peaceful community shattered into factions by greed. Alex Garland’s message - that it

is in our nature to pollute and destroy the very sanctuary we seek - mirrors the feelings of some long-term residents of Ko Payam. “Two or three years ago it was easy to find a place where you could be totally alone on the island. Now it’s not so easy,” Chevrier says. “Development has been good for the local people as they have more money and can afford to send their children to school,” she adds, “but I see a problem with outside people who come here to make money. They buy land, build concrete bungalows, bring noisy generators that stink up the air and break the motorbike track with their tractors. They are not really part of the community.” However, Ko Payam’s most successful bungalow operator places blame on Generation Y. “It’s not the bungalow operators who create these changes,” says FRV Travel l 69

Clockwise from top right: Fresh fruit and vegetables; New bars like this one pop up virtually overnight; Tsunami alert; Bicycles are the best way to get around. Facing page: Sunset at Aow Yai Bay.

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Yuli, co-owner of Bamboo Bungalows. “It’s the tourists who come here and demand air conditioning and wi-fi and all this stuff that links you to the modern world. They tell us not to overdevelop the place but then ask for these things.”

already brought here were allowed to stay. Seerung admits the decision has deepened divisions between the have-tractors and have-tractor-nots, and that new battles lay ahead, such as the fight to prevent the introduction of jet skis to the island.

To counter development a determined group of environmentally aware locals is working in concert with local government to protect Koh Payam. “There are two groups of business people here,” explains Seerung Cherlam, one of 13 islanders who represent the Ranong Provincial Government. “One group wants cars and to sell land to anyone. The other group understands tourists come here for peace and quiet, and want to develop the island in a natural way.” Seerung says it was recently decided at a village meeting that no more tractors would be allowed on the island. But as a concession, the seven tractors

One must also remember Thailand is a developing country where laws do not necessarily apply across the board. The Ko Chang archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand is a textbook example. Not long ago it was an Eden-esque national park where tourists were few and far between. Then speculators moved in and turned it into a tropical theme park spotted with 7-Elevens, nightclubs and cavernous resorts. Yet the one thing that might save Koh Payam is its natural resources—or lack thereof. The island is home to five freshwater streams, which are the source of Koh Payam’s own brand of bottled mineral water, but

catchment is weak and streams evaporate into trickles in the dry season, creating a costly proposition for water-greedy resorts. Add to that a population that places greater value on chill time than catering to the customer’s every need, and it comes as little surprise to learn Koh Payam’s only functioning resort is failing to attract the business it needs. “Tourists complain about minor things,” says Dave Roberts, who runs a minimart on the island. “Those of us who like it put up with minor inconveniences and look what we get in return: the sun, the sea and some of the

most beautiful people I’ve met in my life.” So for now, it seems, Ko Payam is safe, as are the simple pleasures of island life. Mountain bike riding through cashew-scented bushland, a game of soccer with island kids, discovering a new beach, or fishing on the jetty at sunset. Flares yellow and magenta reflect off the swell as the sun, a burning ember, melts through a layer cake of cloud and mist before evaporating into the mirror that is the sea. Developers may one day obstruct it, but they’ll never be able to take it away. FRV

TRAVEL FACTS Getting There Catch a taxi from Ranong airport or minibus No 2 from Ranong’s marketplace to the Ko Payam Pier. Ferries leave at 9am and 2pm daily from October through to March.

Where to Stay Bamboo Bungalows: Ko Payam’s own Club Med. Basic and deluxe bungalows with pebble and shell bathrooms. Baan Suan Kayoo (Tel: +66 77 820133) and Silver Sand (Tel: +66 800 413349):secluded hideaways set in cashew nut gardens on either end of Aow Yai Bay.

When to visit It’s always hot in the south of Thailand. Expect daily rainfall between May and October. Ranong is the wettest town in Thailand, with 4,060 mm of rain every year.

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Facing page: Ingredients for making rojak, a local fruit salad. Right: Guests having fun by dressing in traditional Peranakan kebayas and working off their meals dancing to live music.

A Local Feast with Song & Dance Spices Café in Singapore is one of the best places to get authentic local food while being entertained by live performers.

Text by Melanie Lee Images courtesy of Concorde Hotel Singapore


ou can find any type of food in Singapore – the assortment of cuisine options are endless. However, if you’d like to experience something more uniquely Singaporean and with a little more heart, Spices Café at Concorde Hotel has a special local buffet lunch that has garnered a loyal following amongst both locals and tourists. Why? Firstly, it has possibly the best spread of Peranakan food around, and secondly, there’s plenty of song and dance with a live band performing Asian “oldies” from yesteryear. The buffet is an unspoken institution in Singapore. For a food-loving nation that thrives on having a variety of food at each meal, it has evolved into an efficient form of dining that combines concepts of strategic investment (zoning in on the priciest food items to consume) and communalism (e.g. plate piled high with 30 drunken prawns for everyone in your table to share).

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Right: The indulgent desserts counter. Facing page: The show kitchen and the interiors of Spices Cafe with its quaint colonial feel.

However, at the twice-monthly live performance local buffet, things are a little less calculative. To complement the cuisine, many of the regulars dress up in ornate Nyonya kebaya and do their hair up in a traditional coiled bun. There’s a distinct festive air as the performers launch into a lively rendition of Di Tanjong Katong, an evergreen favourite Malay song about one of Singapore’s neighbourhoods. As I’m getting my rojak (traditional fruit salad with shrimp paste), the ladies around me sway, smiling as they start telling me what other “must-try” dishes I have to sample. It turns out that many of them make it a point to come here every month, not just for the festivities, but also for the excellent food. “It’s really like how food tasted back in the old days,” quips regular diner Helen Soh. The Peranakan food here is indeed delicious, and is a refreshing change from most buffets in Singapore that go for a more generic international selection of dishes. I’m still spoilt for choice with a sumptuous spread though, and take a while to digest my options. I really like how there’s a huge show station where chefs make dishes for you on-the-spot, such as a piping hot bowl of fragrant, creamy laksa. I particularly love the

Spices Café Concorde Hotel Singapore 100 Orchard Road Tel: +65 6739 8370

The Peranakan food here is indeed delicious, and is a refreshing change from most international buffets in Singapore

poh piah (spring roll with turnip, bean sprouts, egg and shrimp) that is made for me the size of a Mexican burrito, and goes perfectly with the freshly made chilli paste on the side.

As the buffet comes to an end and the diners are munching on the somewhat addictive Nyonya kuehs (coconut-based cakes) for dessert, the joget dancing begins. Joget is a popular form of Malay traditional dance, and is like a chilled-out, more graceful version of line dancing which is easy for anyone to just follow along to for fun. “A lot of our customers love this idea. By this time, they are full from the food, so this little bit of dancing is a great way for them to work it off,” says Stephanie Lee of Concorde Hotel. In fact, this idea has even caught on with some of the hotel’s guests who stay here regularly for business trips. They make it a point to rush down to Spices Cafe from corporate meetings, or even decide to hold informal work lunches here. It’s a great place for everyone of all ages to enjoy the best of local food and enjoy a bit of nostalgic fun. FRV

Musical buffet held every second and last Monday of the month from 12 - 2.30pm at S$28++ per adult.

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Want to know a secret? It’s about a great little Japanese restaurant in Singapore that’s not within walking distance of Clarke Quay or the CBD. No, it’s a little way out of town but the taxi drivers know the way. It’s called yakiniku ten, and it’s damned good.

Text by Thomas Jones


ucked away off the airport road at the Laguna National Golf & Country Club may be a little hard to get your head around as a destination for a restaurant, but don’t let that confuse you. What’s even better is that it’s actually two restaurants in one, side by side: Enmaru is an izakaya-style pub serving lots of grilled meat and simple Japanese dishes, and Yakiniku TEN, the focus of my visit, a more upmarket restaurant with all the accoutrements of your archetypal Japanese dining establishment - kimonoed staff, paper lanterns, pebbles and rocks, water, and lots of shadows and spotlights. It’s all very tranquil, all very Zen, and all very, very delicious.

Top right: The Zen approach to dining Yakiniku Ten. Left: The Enmaru roll.

Like most memberships of Asian golf courses the Laguna Golf members make up a rich and demanding demographic who expect the very best, and considering that a large proportion of the clientele comes in straight off the course after blowing a small fortune on a round of tropical golf there had better be something noble and quality awaiting the hungry palate at the end. Yakiniku TEN gets it right every time.

Designed by Brocks Interior Design, it is heavy on the use of bamboo, latticework panels, rough plaster and solid walnut. Blinds separate the tables discretely without creating barriers and diners also have the choice of sitting at one of the gently lit semi-private dining areas for a more exclusive experience. There are no limits to the ingredients that they can obtain at Yakiniku TEN and, while Japan is the number one source, they also serve the very best and freshest produce from around the region and all the best cuts of fish are flown in from Japan twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. According to manager Hiroshi, and contrary to popular opinion, including my own, sushi should be eaten a day or so after its caught so it has time to soften and mature. Super-fresh fish is best grilled. So, with that in mind, mid-week and weekends are the best times to come for sashimi. Laid out before me this night was a wide array of Japanese treats from all the major food groups including some I had never considered. FRV Travel l 77

Hiroshi took extra special care of me and he was keen for me to try every section of the menu, which was extensive.

An assortment of fabulous dishes. Top left: Namura moriawase. Left: Sashimori. Above: Wagyu yukke rice.

Hiroshi took extra special care of me and he was keen for me to try every section of the menu, which was extensive. There were salads, sushi, sashimi (excellent tuna and kingfish) grilled lobster, fish eggs, wild mushrooms, fried fish, and fresh soba noodles made with imported Japanese flour. This translated into huge amounts of food and it was tough going but I just dug in my heels and persevered. The masterstroke came with the yakiniku beef, cooked on my very own bbq hotplate at the table - one plate of Australian wagyu versus a plate of Japanese karubitokoju, one of their best. And yes, the Aussie beef, as expected, was delicious and so full of melt-in-the-mouth goodness that

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Above: The long bar at the adjoining Enmaru restaurant. Right: Interiors at Yakiniku TEN.

it was be hard to beat, but beaten it was by the Japanese cuts, which were, well… simply better. That’s why the Australian’s borrow the term wagyu, I suppose, and not the other way around. In keeping with Japanese hospitality, it was all accompanied by a large bottle of Nagano daiginjo sake, a very good drop, and just the right amount of icy-cold beer, without which no Japanese meal is ever complete. There’s an extra added advantage to Yakiniku TEN’s location in that it’s not only Singapore dwellers who can enjoy their hospitality. Being

only ten minutes from Changi Airport, and having seen and experienced the food and restaurant selection on offer inside, I would seriously recommend anyone with more than a three-hour stopover to consider what they really want to eat for that lunch or dinner before getting on a long-haul intercontinental A380. Take the initiative and take a taxi to Yakiniku TEN. It’s almost worth missing a flight for. FRV

Yakiniku TEN 11 Laguna Golf Green, Laguna National Golf & Country Club Singapore Tel: +65 6248 1722 FRV Travel l 79

FRV Travel 9.1  

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