Tugu Kunstkring Paleis Review

Finding new place to eat in Jakarta could be hard sometimes, especially inside a shopping mall. Every week my family and I have to ask each other on where to eat for lunch and dinner, the pattern is repetitive each week. So this month we resort to Tripadvisor on where to dine in Jakarta, we have been using the app when we travel abroad, such as when we traveled to Myanmar and Cambodia, but we never actually use it to find restaurant in Jakarta. We found Tugu Kunstkring as #17 from 6000 something restaurant in Jakarta, since it is located in Menteng, which is near our resident, we decided to give it a try.

ky170246Dining table on the second floor of Tugu Kunstkring

The building exterior looks old but well taken care of, and the Dutch writing on the white wall gives an impression of the 40’s. Once you enter the reception you could feel the glamorous and exquisite decoration around the room. We were asked to sit and waited for a minute while the waitress prepare our table. One thing that catch my attention was that it is prohibited to take photos without the manager approval. But later on, when I draw my camera from a bag, the waitress happily told me that I’m allowed to take pictures. We thought that we were there only to eat, but we were wrong, we were actually enjoying the decoration and ambience more than the lunch itself.

Here’s some history of the building taken from Tugu Kunstkring website:

“The grand historical building originally housed the Fine Arts Circle of the Dutch East Indies (Nederlandsch-Indische Kunstkring of the Dutch East Indies) and was opened on the 17 April 1914. This organization was founded for the first time on 1 April 1902 in Batavia, with the purpose to promote the practice of and the enthusiasm for the fine and decorative arts of the Indies. This building had various functions, as it stayed faithful to its mission to promote anything related to the arts. It featured various creative arts between 1934 and 1939 as well as world-class masterpieces of Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Marc Chagall and the likes. One of the wings of this building also housed a very popular café that sold fine food and wine, known as Stam en Weynes.” -Tugu Website

ky170252Dining table on the second floor of Tugu Kunstkring

“In April 2013, this legendary building of Bataviasche Kunstkring has been reopened under the name the TUGU KUNSTKRING PALEIS, and brought back to life by Tugu Hotels & Restaurants Group. Without changing the beautiful palatial architecture, Tugu has breathed in new life into the building through majestic interiors, filling it with a vast collection of beautiful artworks, in creating an atmosphere that represents Tugu’s mission: the art, soul and romance of Indonesia. The Tugu Kunstkring Paleis is a proud center of art exhibitions, as well as other events with high appreciation to the beauty of arts and history. It also houses a large event space with the capacity up to 1000 people, a gallery/shop that features beautiful artworks, jewels, lifestyle products and other design items, a fine restaurant, a grand elegant lounge as well as a tea house.” -Tugu Website

ky170281Dining table on the second floor of Tugu Kunstkring

After being seated on our table, we take a careful look at the menu (which could be hard due to the lack of proper lighting condition). We ordered fish roll with tamarin, rundvless kleine, sayer lode pepaja, and nasi poeti Tjiandjoe. The time of serving could be quite long, but it was for a good reason. We were asked if we want to tour around the building and we did. Other than the main dining hall on the first floor, there is also a shop selling Indonesian gifts and arts on the side of the building. The items sold was similar to those you could find on Malioboro street in Jogjakarta, but I believe it was more carefully selected and have a higher grade than the street items. After touring the shops, we were told that there is an art exhibition related to paintings of rooster on the second floor (it was near Chinese New Year). The artist and promoter were glad to take us around the hall. It took us about 20 minutes to tour the building before we got back to our table and drink our ice tea.

ky170292Dining table on the second floor of Tugu Kunstkring

Not long after we were seated a waiter served our rice, which is wrapped by a leaf. A hungry grown man certainly won’t be satisfied with the amount of serving in this restaurant, but ordering additional rice is quick enough. The rendang is not as tender as I expected from restaurant in this class, but it was tolerable. The rest of the meal was good. I could recommend a tastier Indonesian restaurant in Jakarta, but nothing beats the ambience and dining experience in tutu Kunstkring.

ky170293Nasi Poeti Tjiandjoe

ky170295Rundvless Kleine (or Rendang)

ky170296Fish Roll with Tamarin

ky170298Sayoer Lodeh Pepaja

Halfway through our meal, there were dances by the waiters serving a group of big family. They are dancing with Indonesian music and entertain the guest around, it last about three minutes before the music stops and everyone continue their lunch.

ky170301The waiters dancing while serving meal for a big family

ky170306The waiters dancing while serving meal for a big family

Overall, I would recommend tourist and local alike to dine at Tugu Kunstkring at least once to feel the ambience of dining in Indonesian heritage site. For me, it was a refreshing experience to reconnect with Indonesian history. And it wasn’t very expensive either, for a three person meal, we spent Rp 503.580 after tax.

Tugu Kunstkring:

Jl. Teuku Umar 1 • Jakarta Pusat • Indonesia
Tel. +62817 158 181 • Fax. +62 21 390 0898
Email: kunstkring@tuguhotels.com


About Journeyman

A global macro analyst with over four years experience in the financial market, the author began his career as an equity analyst before transitioning to macro research focusing on Emerging Markets at a well-known independent research firm. He read voraciously, spending most of his free time following The Economist magazine and reading topics on finance and self-improvement. When off duty, he works part-time for Getty Images, taking pictures from all over the globe. To date, he has over 1200 pictures over 35 countries being sold through the company.
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