If you stand with your back facing Fatahillah Museum, Cafe Batavia is the second building on the left of the Post Office, next to a destitute building without a roof that is waiting to be restored to its former glory. Cafe Batavia’s is the second oldest building in Fatahillah Square and its easily recognizable with its green canopy at its entrance.
But its entrance is quite unwelcoming because you can’t see what’s inside until you pushed open the doors. When you step in, lo and behold, a bright and spacious reception area welcomes you, with an exceptionally high timber strip ceiling.
The ground floor is furnished with low back sofa, wooden armchairs and small round marble tables; and a huge bar counter facing a stage where a live band performs nightly.
Guests will be drawn to the carpeted central staircase, like a divine force, drawing you closer until your eyes catch a glimpse of the conspicuous photographs on the wall of the stairwell partially lighted by a chandelier.
The second level is the Churchill Bar and every wall including the washrooms, are lined with hundreds of photographs, of Hollywood stars and politicians, of old and new.
Photographs of past Governors of Batavia, all 12 of them decorated a cozy corner, paired with a sofa set of Indonesian teak and rattan.
The Churchill Bar counter. Help yourself with a Whisky on the Rocks or buy your friends a Screwdriver, Margarita, or Painkiller!
Then enter the Grand Salon, a massive dining hall with a very high ceiling (20-30 feet) and matching tall windows with wooden louvered shutters on all three sides of the room; furnished with a timber floor, hard wood wall panels, clinically aligned wooden chairs and tables, and slow spinning ceiling fans, add to the nostalgia of the 70s.
Batik runner on a white table cloth, adds a strong Indonesian cultural flavour to a otherwise European dominated ambience.
Cafe Batavia has a modern international menu that makes ordering easy. I was with Peter Chong (shiokhochiak.blogspot.com) and Tony Johor Kaki (johorkaki.blogspot.com). For food tasting purpose, we ordered a Batavia Club Sandwich and Nasi Goreng Batavia.
The club sandwiches came with a small salad and some potato wedges. The ingredients were very fresh and nice, as expected from a renowned establishment. The Nasi Goreng came with two sticks of chicken satay and half a chicken wing, nicely presented. The fried rice was very good according to Peter, full of aroma and “wok hei”.
I found a lot of comments on various forums and blogs describing Cafe Batavia as a more expensive eatery. Yes, if you compare food for food, in Jakarta (or Indonesia). But . . . this is Cafe Batavia, an institution – the ambience alone is worth some money. Forgive me for being honest, I don’t find it expensive at all because in Singapore, you’d have easily paid double.
So I would strongly recommend anyone coming to Fatahillah Square, to spend at least half an hour here for a cuppa and indulge yourself on a nostalgic stop-over.
Ice Cappuccino 37,500
Civet Coffee 120,000
Earl Grey 35,000
Aqua Sparkling Water 40,000
Nasi Goreng Batavia 65,000
Batavia Club Sandwich 90,000
All Prices in Indonesian Rupiah. Exclude 5% Service Charge and 10% Tax.
We paid for our meals.
Address: Jl. Pintu Besar Utara No.14 Taman Fatahillah North Jakarta 11110, Indonesia
Business Hours: Mon- Thu 8.00 am to 12.00 Midnight; Fri – Sun 8.00 am to 2.00 am
Tel: 021 6915531
Website: Cafe Batavia
Email: cafebatavia @yahoo.com