Thursday, May 11, 2017

Pantjoran Tea House, Dimsum and Tea Time in Vintage Jakarta Ambiance

If you guys have followed my blogpost about my trip to Jakarta's old city area, you might have known that I've been to Semasa di Kota Tua, a currently hype coffee shop at this historic spot. Of course trying to get the most out of the trip, my friends and I went to several places we've been hunting for. That brought us to Pantjoran Tea House, which actually belonged to the same owner as Semasa, so there it was, another tea specialist. 


Different from Semasa which was quite minimalist, Pantjoran Tea House was a huge one, occupying a two-level vintage building at a hook located at Jalan Pancorab Raya, right across the all-time-crowded Plaza Glodok. It's simply another fascinating experience for me, as for this trip my friends and I had made the deal that we should walk from one place to another since finding parking spot might be harder then finding a treasure here. Passing all those old buildings, strolling through the abundant street vendors selling various stuffs, spotting tons of amusing caricatures made by the autodidact artists; I felt like being a tourist in my own home country. Well, Jakarta might be not my hometown yet I've stayed here for years but that was my very first time doing adventurous stuffs like this which I might have repetitively done in other people's countries. Well, it's always enchanting and memorable to do things for the first time in your life :). 

Walking in the middle of hot sunny Jakarta being directly burnt by the sunlight, it's just like finding a spring in the middle of the desert when we spotted Pantjoran Tea House signboard. It's actually pretty close from the previous place we've been, just that the heat made it become an extreme journey. I couldn't really describe why, but the venue looked like carrying Chinese theme for the design. Perhaps the tea cups, the ornaments, or the statues, or even the combination of them all, which gave that impression. Since we couldn't imagine ourselves, all of whom were already sweating, sitting at the first floor as it's pretty warm, we immediately went up to the second one, which was fully air-conditioned. Finally! (I did wish I'd burnt hundreds of calories just from that short walk LOL, please pardon that over-exaggeration)

It was actually a huge space, being further sectioned into several areas. They even had more private spaces which weren't completely closed, yet quite invisible enough when you stayed inside since they were covered by wooden partition. 

The peaceful and vintage ambiance was successfully delivered by the interior and even the music, playing the songs which I guessed coming from colonial era. Perhaps next time I would bring my parents as I was really sure they would enjoy this place even much better than me who's actually mesmerized by this totally different circumstance from the ones I usually faced. 

I wasn't sure if they only sold the tea or they did offer the blend for sales, or even perhaps did provide cupping session or tea ceremony practice as well; and it's my bad that I forgot to ask :( !! Well yeah, let's keep it as something unknown for now, and who knows if any of you guys going there and finally reveal it. Please be willing to share ;)

Already craving for thirst quencher kind of badly upon the walk, my friends went for their iced tea. As they're not that much into tea, they preferred to stay in the mainstream zone by opting for the generic ones like Earl Grey (IDR 25k) and English Breakfast (IDR 25k). Nothing much to explain as it didn't differ from the common ones you might have had for uncountable times in any other places. 

I, on the other hand, was more into being explorative, ordering one of their signature selections - Orange Pekoe Tea. Being priced only slightly more expensive, Orange Pekoe's actually the highest grade in tea leaf grade based on its quality. It consisted of the leaf buds only while the ones we had daily were the lowest ones which were called as fannings or dust. 

Orange Pekoe Tea (IDR 30k)
Before going through the menu, I firstly thought the place merely offered various types of tea and perhaps just several light bites as the tea pairing. Thus, it kind of surprised me when I found out many guests actually came from their Chinese food as well. Still having a couple of places on our to-go list, my friends and I finally decided to go for their dimsum only. 

Starting with steamed ones, prawn seemed to be the opening star, featuring Prawn Crystal Dumpling (IDR 28k) and Prawn Siomay (IDR 28k). The dumpling was not bad, serving fresh chewy prawn and thin dumpling skin. But it's not the case for the Prawn Siomay. It didn't suit my taste bud well, however, the problem wasn't with the prawn but another ingredient in it. I felt it had that bitter bean flavor in, which spread the aroma I disliked :(. Some of you who liked bitter bean might feel happy hearing about this, but counted me out here. 

Prawn Crystal Dumpling (IDR 28k)
Prawn Siomay (IDR 28k)
Luckily, I was saved by the Chicken Siomay (IDR 28k), which usually I less preferred compared to the prawn one, but turned out delivering a different case here. It might be not something exceptional, yet it was pretty decent one. 

Chicken Siomay (IDR 28k)
Dimsum with steamed versions only would be definitely imperfect without the fried ones. Actually there were some other dishes we wanted to try, yet unfortunately they were out-of-stock. Thus, apparently today's fried dishes were mainly springrolls, just coming with different stuffing and in different presentation. The first one was Fried Beancurd Skin Roll with Prawn  (IDR 28k), one of the dimsum menu I would always go for anytime simply because I did love it too much. Same as the typical ones, the main ingredient in it was prawn; and it's as fresh as the one in the dumpling I had in prior. Served hot (though it did take quite long before it finally landed on the table), this crispy tofu skin rolls were such comfort light bites, which wasn't only having gorgeous look but indeed having tantalizing taste.   
Fried Beancurd Skin Roll with Prawn (IDR 28k)
Another version of the spring rolls, the so-called Fried Spring Ball with Veggie (IDR 25k), coming in this 'money pocket' shape, reminding me of Ekkado. However, it was filled with veggies instead of egg, which I was grateful of as my palate wasn't into egg when it came to stuffing. Actually, we almost cancelled this order since it didn't come till the time we finished all the dishes and almost empty our tea cups. Luckily, it came just in time, right before we're about to ask for the bill. Thanks God, the dish proved that it did worth the wait as for me it was even better than the prior fried dish. Though the contents were mainly veggies, they were well-served in flavorful taste.

Fried Spring Ball with Veggie (IDR 25k)
The rule of having sweets upon savory dishes was also applicable in my dimsum dining. This led me to close the whole session with Taro Bun (IDR 28k). I guessed even before I told you the dish name, you could already mention the main ingredient of this dish merely by looking at the color. Yes, you got perfect point when you just had Taro in your mind. Served in custard form and given in generous portion, it impeccably complemented the moist bun. Just like a story with progressive plot, my meal set in Pantjoran Tea house was ended by the dish that I loved the most among all my orders.

Taro Bun (IDR 28k)

Overall, it was a delightful dimsum session for me, and the highlight surely went to the experience and the ambiance, which raised beyond the food itself. It was so alluring to be able to find myself making another tick on my bucket list, enjoying the vintage and CLASSIC JAKARTA.

Taste: 7.5/10
Place: 7.5/10
Service: 8/10
Price: 7/10

Thanks for reading! :)

Address: Jl. Pancoran Raya No. 4-6, Glodok, Jakarta
Phone: (+62 21) 690 5904 / (+62) 812 9765 4000
Operating Hours: Mon - Sun 7am - 9pm

Find me on:
Inputs & comments: