29 September 2011

Why I always accept a lunch date with Vidya

My friend Vidya, who has moved on from being an architect to designing leather goods (and has refurbished my beloved carry-on bag from Siena), feels that every time we meet she should provide photo opportunities for my blog. On Tuesday, 20 Sept, we had our rendezvous at the West Mall of Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, which fully deserves the "grand" in its name. Here are glimpses of the light and water spectacle we watched from the mezzanine right before settling down for lunch.

Vidya knew about this noontime show, but what really drew her here was the Magnum pop-up restaurant. The café, the first in the world dedicated to Eva Longoria's and Rachel Bilson's favorite ice cream bar (check out a few of their commercials here and here), opened in February and was supposed to close three months later; Vidya refers to it as a "seasonal restaurant," which will move to another city like Surabaya next.

Those other cities have to wait, however, because the Magnum Café has been a huge hit with Jakartans. Here it is in all its OTT semi-Victorian glory.

 Vidya being shown to our table.
 The placemat.
The merch.
 We also had quesadillas and pasta with shrimp and chili, but the creative use of Magnum bars in the desserts is the USP.
 Our choice (shared): a Magnum bar with fresh fruit on crisp, honey-coated French toast.

View looking back as we left for Alun Alun, the big handicrafts shop at the top of upmarket Japanese department store Seibu, where I had already bought a beautiful silvery grey silk tenun before Vidya arrived.

 I forced Vidya to pose by the giant Magnum bar for scale.
Chairs for the overspill crowd. Even Reuters has reported on the Magnum Café phenomenon. Queues are notorious: see the place jammed with young Indonesians looking for a sweetly innocent good time here. Hard to believe that this all this fuss is about an ice cream product from Walls. The company has certainly changed tack since the days when it was proved there was no problem with the long voyages their shipments to South Africa had to take:  their ice cream contained no dairy products. Or was this simply an urban legend of the 1970s?

Another theme restaurant, though this one doesn't serve the pastrami and rye you'd expect. Menu is strictly Indonesian.
 More restaurants as we wandered through the mall.

 Yes, Kentucky fried chicken also sells in Jakarta.

 Last photos. I really liked the outside of this Japanese restaurant.
 Thank you, Vidya!

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