"Oowww. Am I reading it correctly?? Is it supposed to be Gentle Men? Oh no no. It might supposedly be Gentlemen". If those stuffs were the thoughts just running inside your head, told you guys, they're all wrong. But you'd better put no worry for now and just kept your curiosity high as very soon, I would be telling you what the name supposed to be.
It's absolutely not Gentlemen, let alone Gentle Men. You're reading the name right as I didn't make any single typo there, it's exactly as what you saw, Gentle Ben. But what's actually behind it? I guessed I would let you be trapped in my guesstimate at least for now. The reason was that the only thing I've known about Gentle Ben was that it was an infamous children novel back then in 60's, created by the well-known author Walt Morey, telling the story about a lonely boy named Mark who's then becoming friend with a kind-hearted bear named Ben who's actually as lonely as him. The novel was transformed into a series in 1965 and the movie was played in 2002. That's it and I would talk no longer about either the novel or the movie.
Being in the cafe, which was next to a boutique that occupied the same building, I could see nothing in there related to this old story so honestly speaking I had no idea why this name was assigned to it. Nonetheless, I guessed name's not the most important thing and I could bet you did tend to forget it but you would definitely remember what it served on the dining table.
The place itself was so spacious, yet it's kind of too silent as at that time it's only my two friends and I in the big venue while it's supposedly one of the peak time for restaurants as it's weekend lunch time. The seating arrangement was pretty unique, having round-shaped chairs at several corners. I found the tables very peculiar as well, having like pipe-shaped handle in the middle, which I had no idea what the benefit was. They did provide special space for the single-comer, especially those who might desire to work agile, by serving long table with individual seats lining next to the table and complementing each of them with electrical socket. Having said that, it's overall a colorful and pretty comfortable one. Especially with a boutique nearby, I could already picture in mind boys sitting in worry sipping their coffee, waiting for their girls spending time and money just next to them.
The selections of dishes listed on the menu were quite abundant and various at the same time, as it served International cuisines from all over the world. I knew every time I faced this as a first fact in a resto, I usually started to doubt the taste as I (might be mistakenly) preferred the focused one since I perceived they tended to have deeper expertise. Nonetheless, who I was to judge prior to trying ;) .
Ice Strawberry Tea (IDR 35k) & Ice Lemon Tea (IDR 35k)
Since my friends and I had had multiple cups of coffee prior to coming here, we're actually kinda bloated by liquid (if you know how the 'suffer' was). Nonetheless, we couldn't deny that we're in huge craving for another thirst-quencher since it's pretty hot in the middle of the sunny Sunday. That made us ended up demanding for something refreshing and exactly at the moment we're hunting for it, we figured out that Gentle Ben provided several options of fruit tea. We opted for two of them, Strawberry and Lemon.
I didn't know if it's just me or you did have the same thought as what's in my mind when I was making the order. I was imagining black tea infused with pure strawberry and lemon juice, then there would be some strawberry and lemon slices floating on top of each of the ice tea cups, respectively. Well, at least if the pure juice element was not there and they replaced it with syrup instead, I still expected the real fruit cuts to be there though it might be just few of them. Nonetheless, it turned out that my expectation went beyond reality as I only had iced tea coming in red-ish and yellow-ish color, containing the fruit tea that's made of flavored tea bag. When I mentioned flavored tea bag, you might have been able to picture the taste; yes, the fruit flavors could be barely felt and honestly speaking, I was quite disappointed to start the dining session with the two cups. Well, some people might fancy this type of flavored tea, but I unfortunately didn't belong to the same shoes.
Cappuccino (IDR 35k)
Having had much coffee didn't stop my friends and I from ordering our other cup of Joe. The reason was very simple, which was we simply wanted to try the coffee served by every single restaurant or coffee shop we visited so at least we could compare and had another one to be added on our favorite list. Requesting for having double ristretto, this cappuccino was an okay one, serving medium-bodied coffee with low acidity. It was slightly milky, yet still pretty decent and definitely more satisfying than my prior drinks.
Pan Seared Salmon Aglio Olio (IDR 75k)
As Gentle Ben served many different types of foods, my friends and I decided to make our orders varied as well so we could have a say to each of the categories. This first main course would probably be the most mainstream one. Yes, something basic should also be tried, shouldn't it?
The choices of pasta were fettuccine, penne, and angel hair. I wondered why spaghetti wasn't available, making me ended up with angel hair. Trying to be positive, it might be due to fasting period that the pasta was bland. I could barely taste both the garlic and the oil. Fortunately the generously given salmon chunks at least came as the curer, so there I was picking the salmon chunks to be finished.
Mongolian Beef Stir Fry (IDR 88k)
Mongolian Beef Stir Fry (IDR 88k)
Calling yourself as Chinese dish lover? If you just nodded your head, then you might opt for this kind of meal. Served in that capcay-alike thick sauce and featured juicy beef slices as well as fresh veggies, this second main course wasn't bad at all. The rice texture exactly matched my preference, being moist and slightly sticky. The overall plate was flavorful though I had to admit that I felt like being neither in a cafe nor a bistro when having it, but more to being in a traditional Chinese restaurant.
Not so Gentle Breakfast (or The Ultimate Breakfast?) (IDR 85k)
The name might be confusing, as confused as I was when about to make the order yet the crew herself didn't recognize they had the menu I mentioned. I indeed couldn't find the name on the menu, yet it was displayed on the iPad in front of the order point with clear name mentioned on the screen as well. They finally ended up calling it as Not so Gentle Breakfast, which was supposed to be the big breakie one. OK I actually didn't mind that as long as I did get what I planned to order.
Despite that I mentioned the second dish was yummy enough, my type of brunch menu was actually like this one. Eggy menu served with bread, nothing like rice-based one. Thus, I was kinda happy finding this last dish shown there as I knew I got what I desired.
On the sour dough, there they were gorgeously presented, the poached eggs that were perfectly runny at the moment of truth - right at the time I cut it. Having the yolk burst on top of the crispy pork bacon then eat it together with the chewy mushroom and fresh veggies was absolute indulgence. Great that I put it last, as it made my brunch got closed perfectly at the climax level of delicacy.
Those residing in south area now might have another option for hangout place or a stop for working or simply for spending time enjoying the internet access. The pasta might need some improvement on the taste, yet the egg-based brunch menu was great one to try.
Thanks for reading! :)
Address: Jl Ahmad Dahlan 32, Jakarta
Phone: (+62 21) 720 4493
Operating hours: Mon - Sun 8am - 9pm