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Home » Jakarta » The Kunstkring Paleis: Rijsttafel Fine Dining in Nostalgic and Artistic Atmosphere

The Kunstkring Paleis: Rijsttafel Fine Dining in Nostalgic and Artistic Atmosphere

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For fine dining with an artistic and nostalgic atmosphere, your best choice must be The Tugu Kunstkring Paleis – the Art Circle Palace - , located on Jalan Teuku Umar no.1, Jakarta. This is a well preserved and renovated heritage building, that since 17 April 1914 housed the original Kunstkring, the Art Circle during  Dutch colonial days.  Later, the building became for many years the  Head Office of the Indonesian Immigration.  After the Immigration Office moved to its present location, it was  refurbished into a fine dining restaurant.


Recently again the building was taken over by the Tugu Hotel and Restaurants group and returned to its origins as the Kunstkring. The establishment has now been transformed  into an exclusive art gallery with historical artifacts, combined with fine dining restaurant serving an excellent fusion of  Indonesian,  Betawi, Chinese Peranakan and Eurasian cuisine, - delectable dishes served just  as in days long gone by. What’s more, there is also a bakery that serves good old Dutch bread.    


The main restaurant, called the Diponegoro Dining Hall has a huge painting depicting the arrest at the Old Batavia's Stadshuis,  of the Javanese  Prince Diponegoro,  who, between 1825-1830 led the  rebellion against Dutch colonialism in what is known as the Java War.  This hall is further decorated with artifacts from two royal houses. The Keratons of Solo and Mangkunegaran in  Central Java, artifacts  that were once presented to the well known tycoon Oei Thiong Ham.


In the left wing of this building is the Suzie Wong Lounge, reminder of the popular 60s film that was a great hit with Jakartans at the time. The Kunstkring also serves authentic High Tea.


On the second floor is a gallery available for contemporary artists to display their works.  Here regular artistic exhibitions are also held including recently a Bags, Accessories and Jewelry Exhbition. There is also a souvenir shop selling items with nostalgic significance.


Highlight of the Kunstkring, however,  is its Rijsttafel menu that offers  three choices, consisting no less than  12, 16 or or 24 different  dishes for a group of diners. In fact, this number is already greatly recuded compared to the original rijsttafel during Dutch colonial days, when diners were presented with no less than 40 dishes to choose from.


 To serve this array, a special ceremony is held. Accompanied by traditional Betawi music,  traditional dancers gracefully enter the dining hall, followed by  male waiters carrying  a huge basket of rice. The parade closes with female waiters each carrying one dish to serve diners at table.


Favorite dishes here are nasi uduk wrapped in banana leaves, ox-tongue stew, and satay of tender, finely minced meat attached to palm sugar stalks. For vegetables try the Sayur Rame-rame – assorted vegetables - that include cassava leaves, spinach, potato cubes dipped in coconut milk and strewn with dried prawns. There is also Tempe Lombok Ijo  (soya bean cake with green peppers) that goes with Ayam Setan  - the Devil’s chicken, which, true to its name is roast chicken liberally strewn with green peppers, tomato with green curry mustard.


As appetizers try the small versions of onde-onde and kue tok tid-bits, all old time favorites. For dessert donot miss out on es selendang mayang, which leaves that sweet “wow” taste in your  mouth of a most fulfilling and memorable dinner.    


For detailed information and booking, you can log on to : www.tuguhotels.com/restaurants/jakarta/kunstkring

Photo: www.tuguhotels.com/restaurants/jakarta/kunstkring


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Oct 2015

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The Kunstkring Paleis:  Rijsttafel Fine Dining in Nostalgic and  Artistic Atmosphere

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