The Hidden Canteen

 The Hidden Canteen

Back with his books and coffee, Erza once again crashes the mall for FRV and discovers the sweet and savory sensations of a new bookstore cafe. From their particular pedigree, the Canteen looks set for more culinary and ambient glory.

Text by Erza S.T.

Canteen is one of the newest yuppie hangouts inside Pacific Place Mall and is another creation of the team who brought us the Ak’ sara bookstore group and who also brought us Loewy in Oakwood, Cork & Screw in Wisma Kodel and Casa in Ak’ sara Kemang. They have once again collaborated and created Canteen inside their new Pacific Place Mall bookstore.

In line with the bookstore theme, Canteen has also adapted the look of a New York City loft with an industrial ilk. Big mirrors, classic thonet chairs, wooden floors, brown brick and vintage bric-a-brac; it almost makes you feel like you are inside Andy Warhol’s loft. Though their location is a tad hidden inside the bookstore and that they have only been open for about two months (when we visited), Canteen excels in serving reasonably good food, great service and at a great price! This is something that most of the new establishments in Jakarta have failed to deliver lately.

The menu portrays an ensemble of cuisines from east to west without being pretentious or overdone. Their fresh Asparagus Cappuccino (frothy asparagus served in a cappuccino cup) is very much recommended for both lunch and dinner. And while both the Crispy Chicken Roll and the slow cook Leg of Lamb are big enough to share and good for lunch, we have to lump most of our praise on their Fish en Papillote: simply the best dish you could try if you are in Canteen. Using fillets of dory, they wrap it in paper and bake it with aromatic vegetables and baby potatoes resulting in one of the best fish dishes you’ll ever try.

If you are there only for a quick bite then the pasta, sandwich and pizza section comes well recommended. One in particular worth mentioning is their Creamy Fusilli and Gnocchi. Most Indonesians would also be happy that their Asian section is quite complete. Try the Kung Pao Chicken which comes with rice and chili – a combo that the typical Indonesian can hardly resist. I’d personally rather have the Canteen’s Tarts Duo and coffee as my quick bite. Imagine apple and pear tarts side by side with a scoop of vanilla ice cream; it’s the kind of heavenly combo that is out of this world!

Canteen also has a good wine selection which is classified into three categories of good and affordable, medium, and great. It seems that whatever budget you have, they have just the right wine for you. However, if you are not sure with the wine then perhaps you can relay on their cocktails. For those who go regularly to Casa in Kemang you’d have to recognize some of their cocktails like Mellow Mellow. Try their newest called Thai Me Up – an organic, refreshing cocktail with basil leaf that will immediately put you at ease and lose any lethargic feelings you have stored inside.

Canteen has only been open for two months, yet has already impressed this reviewer. It is a pleasure to actually write and send this review directly in and from Canteen while enjoying their fast and free WIFI connection. It really is such a great hidden haven and such a great find inside the Pacific Place Mall.

Pacific Place Level 4 SCBD
Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 52-53
Jakarta Selatan 12190
Tel: +6221-579 73742

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