Friday, June 30, 2017

La.Ku, Pastries and Coffee in A Simple Homey Space


Special for this, I was writing from my home town, and about a cafe in my home town as well. It's been years since the last time I wrote about the food guide of Makassar. The reason was simply that every time I went home, I just spent my time enjoying the nostalgic moment with all the foods I terribly missed that I didn't think much of taking pictures and wrote anything about them. Another reason was that the best ones were indeed not photogenic LOL. I still believed that most of the traditional ones which I couldn't move on from, were served in definitely not fancy places. 

OK never mind, because this time it might not be totally the case. I couldn't get more wow-ed when I first spotted this coffee shop being posted by my friend. My impression was like 'What?? My hometown seemed to get cooler lately!'. Yeah, the booming trend of coffee shops and bistros, exactly like what's happening in Jakarta, Surabaya, and the other main cities in Indonesia. It's just like another coffee shop was born every single month or perhaps week. 

Not only the branded ones using franchise concept, but also the locals being established by the citizens, including La.Ku. Being said as established in 2011, actually I hadn't been aware of this brand before it finally opened this coffee shop nearby the two most well-known icons of Makassar, Pantai Losari and Fort Rotterdam. I guesstimated that it used to be home-based pastry and cake seller, but now they had the physical outlet for dine-in as well. 

I was beyond excited going home this time as I had more time to spend, meaning more time to visit this 'happening' coffee shops as well! Finally the day came and I met up with my high school buddies there. Arriving at the venue, I figured out it's packed with people and there's only one vacant table for two. Indeed it's a very petite one, only having approximately 5 small round tables in the indoor space and 2 tables right in front of the place. The tiny shop as well as the color brought by the design somehow reminded me of Animo Bakery in Jakarta, sadly I forgot to capture the front view so I couldn't show it here. Besides, it did offer various pastries and cakes at highly affordable prices, adding more similarities with Animo. What a funny-yet-real coincidence!

The interior was very simple, mainly white and tosca with some easy wall decoration. At one of the corner, there stood the chiller in which the cakes were lining up next to each other. Next to it was the pastry and bread display, being there to make everyone spotting at it got drooling. While most of them were 'shown live', there were also some brunch dishes being made-to-order and only listed on the menu. 

Despite the simple outlet La.Ku had, I was kinda amazed they actually employed quite many people as waiters/waitresses. I had no idea how many was behind the wall (read: kitchen), yet I assumed it would be more or less the same number, looking at the high turnover of the shop, both for those dined-in and took-home, let alone the phone or online order. 

Having many employees alone wouldn't solve anything without them being nimble, but no worries as that's not the case for La.Ku. All of them were so friendly, immediately offering their assistance right after you opened the entrance door for the first time. As it's my premiere visit there and I was a beginner for their products, thereby I asked tons of questions to solve my typical dilemma when about to place my order. What I liked was the prompt response they had when they're unable to explain the ingredients, they directly reached their more-experienced colleague to help me finding it out. Great teamwork there, buddies! ;)

I was quite lucky that I came with several friends so we could pick our orders as per our preference, then after that we could try each other's, well yeah, no deny, sharing's indeed caring!

Croque Madame (IDR 60k)
For the ones who're not reading my blog post for the very first time, you might have understood me well that I loved sweets more than savory, desserts more than full courses. So you might have guessed it right, if you had  known this wasn't my pick, but my friend's instead. Nevertheless, I wouldn't lie that breakie menu with egg-based and having tons of cheese, particularly mozzarella like this, would always cause me turn to be a lame. I unquestionably was very excited to try when my friend offered her dish to be shared by all of us on the table. 

Honestly it's a pretty simple one, just like typical croque madame, with slices of toast stuffed with corned beef and generous mozzarella cheese, then topped with half-done sunny side up. I did have my yolk being perfectly runny so the combination of texture was flawless. The 'generous' word was to be emphasized there, pretty much to represent my big crush on cheese that made me highly appreciate the generosity in giving this particular component. Overall, though I couldn't say this dish had something special in particular to make it stood out compared to other common ones, it was a delicious one. 

Tuna Croissant (IDR 40k)

This was another one from the made-to-order dish list. It wasn't displayed like other simple croissants. Basically, it was well-seasoned shredded tuna layer in between the flaky house-made croissant. It was an indulging one as the tuna was quite abundant making the pennies paid did worth the quantity. The croissant itself was lovely having fragrant buttery aroma to spoil the palate of the eaters. Besides, the complementary elements like fresh veggies not only added extra healthy elements in your dish, but also increased the indulgence.

Nutella Croissant (IDR 30k)

Yeah, now it came to my turn - the sweet part! The first was Nutella croissant, which you actually could find there sitting next to the other croissant and danish with different fillings and toppings. We could still enjoy it warm as all the pastries would be re-heated before served, unless you requested them not to do so. This was another delightful one, as the batter was actually the same with the previous savory variant, and as you might have thought, who on earth could resist Nutella? If only I could have more Nutella in my croissant, I would definitely be the loyal customer to it.

Red Velvet - Chocolate Devil Cake (IDR 25k)

Spotting the chiller, there were cupcakes, eclairs, Paris Brest, and several options of sliced cakes. The 3 available ones were Chocolate Devil, Red Velvet, and the combination of both, serving the cake with red and chocolate layers. In a glimpse, it looked similar to Izakaya Kai's, yet if you looked carefully to the detail, they actually quite differed. 

When the appearance told the distinction, so did the ingredients. Indeed La.Ku's version didn't use components like Rhum, however considering that the price was highly affordable, it was definitely understandable. The taste was quite good, being not overly sweet, only that the texture was slightly dry. The creme de la creme was surely the chocolate coating on top and at the side part, which came in bold and succulent dark chocolate flavor. Yummy taste, huge size, friendly price; couldn't be a better deal!

Hot Piccolo (IDR 20k)

As I hadn't tried much coffee coming from Makassar's coffee shops, I took this chance to give a try on their Piccolo. It's pretty weird that it's served in Espresso cup, meaning the doze was also smaller than general piccolo. Having my first sip, I knew this wasn't my cup of joe, not because it's acidic or too light, but due to the bitterness level that exceeded my palate's acceptance level. For the next visit, I guessed I would go for either cappuccino or latte, the ones with more milk content; who knew if I might end up loving either of them.

Coconut Mint Mojito (IDR 45k)

Fortunately my friends and I had another drink order, coming in sharing-jug portion. From the selections, we picked this blend of coconut, lime, mint, and soda, as we desired something refreshing. For those who might haven't tried this one, it's highly recommended, but you might need to share it as the size was quite huge. The taste was addicting, combining the natural sweetness from coconut and additional one from sugar, but not to the 'too-much' level. The slightly sour flavor from the lime and the fresh hint from the mint well-balanced the prior ingredients. Perfect closing to the meet-up over coffee and pastries!

It was such an enchanting dining session at La.Ku, not only because I was able to meet-up with friends after long long time, but also due to the nice companion served on the table and the pampering ambience to be enjoyed in the middle of our nice chats. 

Taste: 7.5/10
Place: 7.5/10
Service: 8.5/10
Price: 7.5/10

Thanks for reading! :)

Address: Jl. Ujung Pandang No. 4, Makassar (across Fort Rotterdam)
Phone: (+62) 81 355 619 770
Operating Hours: Sun to Fri 7am - 8pm, Sat 8am - 9pm

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