July 16, 2012

Welcome Dinner at the Lara Djonggrang (Jakarta, Indonesia)

A blog series about my in-country assignment to Makassar for IBM Corporate Service Corp.
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It is been a while since I wrote about my assignment in Indonesia. I am back in Manila for more than 3 months, but the memories are fresh like it was just my dream last night. I am looking at some pics this morning and I thought I would write again about this series/assignment. It is timely because our favorite noon-time show is now in Indonesia - Eat Bulaga Indonesia! But yeah, the hosts will be locals and not our favorite TVJ and dabarkads. Just the same it is good news!

It is timely because my friend is also sent for Corporate Service Corp assignment (he is in Kazakhstan now), and seeing his photos with his team makes me miss my team too! AND, the nicest part is, someone from UK sent me interview questions about my assignment in Indonesia. I am so touched because he didn't just sent me interview questions, but also wrote about me! You can read about it here.

Now, this post is about where we left off. I think after my arrival in Hotel Kempinski and a quick tour in Jakarta, we met up with the IBM Indonesia Country Manager. He basically just welcomed us and discussed about the business. I know, it is not everyday that I get to sit down with a country manager of some company, so I felt really privileged to be in the room (I will write more about our interaction with him during my next posts - hopefully that would come soon).

The main hall of Lara Djonggrang

After the meeting, and photo sessions, time to head to Lara Djonggrang. We already knew we were going to this place based on the schedule we received weeks before our departure. I made a little research and the pictures made me so excited! There would be non-stop photo sessions! I was thinking.

On our way to the restaurant, one of the welcoming staff shared with me the legend of Lara Djonggrang. It felt like listening to stories of Maria Makiling. But the story tells us the love and respect for parents.

Entering the place made me feel like I was put on a spell. It is enchanting. The lights are dimmed, and the place is truly exotic. Designs and details everywhere. I didn't know where to look, I lost focus, and completely forgotten about taking pictures. I lived the moment.

To know more about my enchanting dinner and the scrumptious food from Lara Dyonggarang, click Read More..

Stepping inside the restaurant is like walking inside an antique shop and museum. There are interesting chairs, tables, displays from pots, figurines and even temples. There is a replica statue of Lara Dyonggarang. The place is amazing. I felt that I was really in a different place - in a different country.

Too bad for me, I couldn't find the perfect setting for my camera. It was the perfect place for cam-whoring! BUT I chose not to stressed myself over camera settings and pictures, I chose to enjoy the moment, and get to know my team.

The restaurant has different function rooms with different themes. Andy Guy, Lara Dyonggrang's manager is so nice to send me these pictures to include in my blog and share with my readers. 

La Bihzad Bar

 One of the VIP Rooms

Another VIP Room


Siam Room

China Blue

I cannot remember which function room we settled. The rooms are all connected, but it feels like labyrinth  inside. While waiting for our food to be served, I took the time to check out other rooms and take some pictures.

This is the waiting area. (I suppose)

The lights are very romantic.. Don't you agree?

Interesting sculptures outside the restaurant

Now back to the dining hall, we had fun eating these snacks.. like fish crackers, but they say it is made of flour and vegetables. It is called Kerupuk.

And here are the dips!

Love the presentation! Most of them are spicy! 
Love the red dip!

Here was the centerpiece..

We were a big group! Too bad two members of the team
were not able to join the welcome dinner.
They both came from US and got stranded in Korea.
I heard they had a great time there too!

Now, time for the real meal! We were served individually with appetizers, soup, rice and dessert. The presentation is just so interesting. I wish I was able to take note of the names of the food!

The soap is made of Tofu and Kang Kong 
(yes, our native Kang Kong!). 

Look at the presentation. 
It is half red rice and half plain rice.

Now my views about Indonesian Food - it is rich and mostly spicy. The food are usually made of peanut sauce, and some are curry. They also love using tofu in their dishes, and vegetables too. Having thousands of islands (like Philippines), expect that food are mostly sea food and fish. They love grilled meat too, with really interesting spicy dips!

 Unfortunately, this is all I can remember.. 
Cheryl (USA) mentioned that she got traumatized over 
Calamares. She once tasted a rubber-like calamares, but the
irony was we usually include this in our orders. Haha.

The best of the bests was served!
It is like a big boat of grilled chicken, meat and everything else!

I super love the peanut sauce!
I am craving! I want it now!

There were so many food and I just tasted some of them. 
Indonesians really know how to welcome their guests!
We went back to the hotel full and satisfied (and burping!)

A good meal is not a complete meal without dessert.

It is grated coconut, jelly with mint in crushed ice.

My partner Cheryl loved the souvenir so much! 
She had it infront of her while having dinner.

A quick visit to the washroom..
Just to check if it would get my two thumbs up too!

This is inside the washroom. 
A waiting area of some sort.

I know, you are as curious as I, how much one should prepare to dine in at Lara Djonggrang (could be millions?) I am also dying to know what were the dishes served to us (I will shoot them an email to ask for price list and menu copy - will update this blog to include those info).

I am not disappointed about the service too. When we had our dinner there, the place was crowded, but the staff ensured that everyone was served with his/her food (they did it like a formal Russian dining and Lauriat Dining). Everyone was attentive even if we were a big group. The team even gave us individual leaf souvenir, bearing our name. Really cute!

I will sure come back to this place once I get the chance to visit Jakarta again. For now, let me thank the people who organized the Welcome Dinner for the IBM CSC Indonesia 3. Thank you to ABV Team (Anna B, Anna S, and Kevin), to the IBM Indonesia Team (Santi, Kiki, Tong, and everyone - I cannot remember their names), especially to IBM Indonesia Country Manager, Suryo, who was not able to join the dinner because of family matters (we completely understood, we had fun during our Chinese dinner in Makassar - I will write about it soon!), and the Lara Djonggrang team especially to Andy Guy for accommodating our requests.

I will end this post with our group picture..
It was a fun night! 
Dining with different nationalities and
sharing one authentic cuisine!

(Thank you Ba Pa Javier for taking the pictures!)

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