Sunday, August 6, 2017

Union's 'Purple Hello' to North Jakarta

Being so successful with its existing 3 outlets, Union seemed to be not easily getting satisfied. This triggered the new born baby to be there, covering the North Jakarta area by having it located at Pantai Indah Kapuk. So central's checked by Grand Indonesia outlet, South by Pondok Indah Mall outlet, the area in between the two by Plaza Senayan outlet and now it expanded the coverage to the north! Wooowww *widely-opened jaw*!! Just within several years and it had been a big family, and surprisingly none of the outlets have ever had low occupancy. As you might have known, all Union outlets have always been extremely crowded and I guessed most guests have expected long queue especially at peak times like weekend or the moment when they launched anything new. 

So guess what, for sure the same thing happened here when they established their newest outlet and at the same time launched their newest cake as well! Not only people staying nearby, those from far far away did come to give the new comer a try. Abandoning the people 'explosion' and I guessed aiming to create even a bigger hype, they even came up with cake discount for the first 100 customers. So there it was, the venue packed with mountainous curious people, patiently waiting (or not patiently but having no choice) for their names to be called-out from the long long waiting list.

Same as any other Union outlets, the design featured that white ceramic tiles, gigantic wooden-themed bar at the center where they displayed tons of bottles of ingredients used to handcraft their beverages, blackboards listing their specialty menus, and classic yellow lamps hanging on the ceiling. Yeah, they seemed to be the signature characteristics that Union consistently maintained across all their restaurants, making people already able to recognize they're Union's just by spotting the outer appearance even from far distance. Another trademark you might have known from Union, which was also served here, was the position of the outlet itself - always located next to the open-air space so there would be a corner where natural sunlight could burst in. Yeah, for sure the Deli one was an exception to this *wink*.

Being one of those whose curiosity were tickled by the newly launched Ube Velvet Cake, I did visit this new family member of Adhika Maxi and Karen Carlotta. Yes, it's only available at this outlet (it's an awesome idea to do this, attracting the crowd to come and getting introduced to this place). Coming at Sunday afternoon, I did pre-expect that the waiting list would absolutely be unlovely. From far away I could already see the crowd, both for the take-away line as well as the dine-in one *deep-frown*. Being at the 'lucky' number eleventh, the waitress told me that the waiting time would take approximately 40 minutes. Testing my patience as well as being not able to handle my inquisitiveness, I decided to wait. Besides, based on my real historical experience in any other Union outlets, the actual waiting time had always went much shorter than what's informed in prior. 

Just trying my fortune, upon 15 minutes going around the mall, I went back and asked the waitress at which number my name was currently sitting. Impolitely, she answered back to me that I'd just waited for 15 minutes and thus the table wouldn't be ready for me at that moment. Well, I knew that and I was able to accept the fact, just that the way she served a customer was truly disappointing for me. Just holding her words, I came back again at exactly the 40th minute. Perhaps feeling kinda bad of her previous attitude, after she told me that there were still 9 names above mine, she anyway ended up immediately giving me a seat. Another reason would be probably because I initially had mentioned that I didn't mind to sit at either smoking or non-smoking area, whichever I could get faster. Anyway, bluntly speaking actually there were quite many empty tables and thus I was just wondering why they couldn't quickly direct the people in the queue to come-in and have their seats as well. 

Es Kopi Lokal (IDR 40k)
As they did display all the new foods and beverages on the table as well as on separated page in the menu, I could quickly notice that they served new coffee-based beverages, specially invented by the house - Es Kopi Lokal and Corn Latte. Not being a big fan of corn, as well as in contrary was an addict of the recently trending iced milk coffee, it didn't take me a second to have their Es Kopi Lokal on my order. I really admired how genius the Union's crews were in responding to the hype by providing such menu. 

Well, I did notice that the price was like approximately twice as much as the common ones, yet I was just thinking 'let's give it a try'. Served in a quite sizable can-made glass, unfortunately the content (already including the ice cubes) was just like less than three-quarter of the glass :( . The flavor also didn't suit my palate well since it's more too creamy type of coffee. For my personal preference, I felt like I could barely taste the coffee in this cup. Trying to think positively, it might be indeed made for those who loved light and creamy coffee. 

Ube Velvet Cake (IDR 60k)
Looking that everyone's hunting the Ube Velvet Cake, I knew it would take quite long to have it served on the table since they had to keep refill-ing the stocks on the display. Nonetheless, I didn't expect it would take like half an hour since I guessed the cake should've been ready just that they're still in the kitchen. Having gotten myself annoyed as I had to wait for long time and had to keep asking for it, finally I had my slice of treasure landed safely on the table. 

As expected, chef Karen Carlotta never failed to amuse me with her brilliant cake presentation. This gorgeously presented purple cake was just so adorable with that various layers combining fluffy sponge cake, moist cream, and crumbles; delivering exciting play of textures in my mouth. Starring the mix of yam and coconut, the cake was naturally not overly sweet and tended to be lighter than Union's all-time favorite red velvet cake. Thereby, the taste would probably suit more palates better, especially those who easily got nauseated by 'heavy type of dessert'. What I meant by heavy here was something dense, or creamy, or going more 'radical' in either particular ingredients or sweetness level. My favorite parts of this cake were doubtlessly the succulent yam cream (or perhaps more suitable to be called as paste?) layer near to the most bottom one, as well as the indulging crumbles on top! I even mentioned to my friend that I had no idea how talented chef Karen was in making crumbles that they always caused me an addiction. Though this cake hadn't successfully beaten Red Velvet's 1st-winner trophy in my heart, I would still say that it's worthy to try <3.

Red Velvet Cake (IDR 60k)

My all-time favorite, my irreplaceable one, Red Velvet Cake!! Regardless so many new comers had been magically constructed by the ingenious hands of Karen Carlotta, for me none of them had surpassed the heavenly taste delivered by this Red Velvet cake. Perhaps its first-mover advantage did play a role here, but simply said I was like forever under its spell. No matter how I'd tried to try the others, I couldn't move on and found myself always stuck to it, unable to even call out any better one. Who hadn't known this phenomenal cake, which I believed tons of people did agree as one of chef Karen's best inventions. The dense red velvet cake, joint by the layers of smooth cream cheese and covered by the  exquisite peanut and caramel (nougat alike) petite chunks, made me ended up couldn't be more than a lame to this slice of paradise. As always, any trial session I had in Union for any of its other cakes, would doubtlessly still feature this mandatory one on my order list! This first visit to Union PIK was certainly not an exception and I could happily get my perfect ending!

Overall, I would mention this new outlet as a great strategic expansion of Union, increasing its presence in this beloved capital city. Now that almost all areas have been covered, perhaps the next to focus on is the service improvement, particularly the development on each of the crews, ensuring they treat the customers well so that it's not only the foods & beverages working hard to please each individuals, but also the services ;)

Taste: 8/10 (Cakes), 6.5/10 (Coffee)
Place: 7.5/10
Service: 6/10
Price: 7/10

Thanks for reading! :)

Address: PIK Avenue Mall GF, Jakarta
Phone: (+62 21) 2257 1168
Operating Hours: Mon - Fri 11am - 12am, Sat - Sun 11am - 2am

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