Cafe Batavia indeed formed the highlight of my visit to Jakarta. I was there on Saturday afternoon after my talk. I took a Grab and was planning to meet up with a fellow photographer for a quick walk-around. Unfortunately, my friend, a Vascular Surgeon, had something to attend to and had to change plans. So, I made the most of the time I had at Kota Tua.
Before long, I felt hungry, and from what I read about Cafe Batavia, I decided to give it a look while having some afternoon tea. I ended up ordering some soup and noodles in the, washed down with a local version of cendol.
The place was gorgeous. There was a live band playing on the ground floor but decided to venture upstairs, away from the smoke. The upper part had the main salon, where the main restaurant was located. Such a cosy place, with tall windows with wooden shutters, fully air-conditioned being sheltered from the elements. You certainly get to enjoy the best of both worlds. You could enjoy the surrounding vista of Fatahillah Square while staying cool.
The food was also not half bad, and rumours have it that the bar downstairs is among the best int he region. The building had gone through many changes over the century, built almost 200 years ago. It was converted into a restaurant only as recently as the year 2000. Sipping a local cocktail while watching people go by is something anyone would enjoy on a breezy Saturday afternoon. Not to mention the band playing “Hotel California” downstairs.
And then I realised that the weather was turning. The breeze picked up, and the sky was becoming a shade darker. Time to ask for the bill and catch the ride back to the hotel. I realised 90 minutes have passed since I entered the door of the restaurant. I dream that one day I would bring Anita here, just to enjoy the ambience.
I would certainly recommend everybody to stop here. An unmissable landmark right at the end of Fatahillah Square. Just spare an hour or two sitting there. It was well worth it.