Jakarta. "Berbukalah dengan yang manis" is a saying we constantly hear during the fasting month of Ramadan. It is believed that after fasting for around 14 hours, taking something sweet will immediately refresh our body and mind.
If you're in the mood for something sweet during this holy month, you can definitely head to Pancious. In addition to steaks, pastas and much more, this casual dining restaurant also offers more than a dozen types of delectable pancakes to satiate your cravings.
Pancious is celebrating its 11th anniversary this month. And to celebrate this special occasion, the restaurant group added six new dishes and four new drinks to its menu.
"The new drinks and dishes are created based on consumer surveys," Reza Susilo, assistant marketing manager at Pancious, said during a media event in Senayan City shopping center in Central Jakarta on May 23.
The new dishes comprise one appetizer, one salad, three main courses and one dessert, while the drinks list includes two new coffees and two new drinks.
The new appetizer on the menu is named Mac & Cheese Ball.
The dish arrives in a glitzy stainless-steel pan containing three deep-fried macaroni-and-cheese balls. A bowl of mayonnaise is served on the side.
The lightly browned balls are crunchy on the outside, yet moist and warm on the inside. Besides macaroni and cheese, the balls also contain ample fillings of smoked beef.
The Waldorf salad is a feast of fresh flavors. The salad consists of diced apples, pears and crisp romaine lettuce, tossed in Pancious's special dressing and truffle oil. Raisins and walnuts top the salad.
The new roasted baby chicken was served next in our media tasting event and while the name might suggest something small, you're in for a surprise. The free-range chicken, which is served whole, is actually big enough to serve three to four people. The lean and succulent chicken meat is flavorsome.
"The chicken has been slow-cooked in spices for 12 hours before it's roasted," Reza said.
This dish is also served with roasted baby potatoes, fresh lettuce and cherry tomatoes.
The barramundi comes in a choice of cherry tomato or lemon butter sauce. The fillet, which is plump and moist, sits on a bed of poached spinach. It also comes with generous servings of French fries, cherry tomatoes, greens and lemon slices.
Served with the cherry tomato sauce, the barramundi was a bit too tart for my liking, but with lemon butter sauce it was a perfect balance between the fresh sweetness of the fish and the creamy delight of the sauce.
The finale of our meal during the media tasting event was the passion apple pancake. It was engulfed by a sea of bright yellow passionfruit sauce that also contained chunks of apple.
The sweet dessert is also served with charcoal crumbles, your choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and a macaron nestled on top.
The restaurant's new iced coffee drink, named Hazel & Gretel, is perfect to enjoy after dinner.
The drink consisting of an espresso shot, hazelnut syrup and Baileys Irish Cream, is both sweet and strong.
"At Pancious, we use a special blend of Indonesian arabica and robusta beans," Reza said.
Or if you prefer something more refreshing, you can choose the restaurant's new mocktail, known as an F-150.
The drink consisting of a concoction of passion fruit, kiwi and apple juice, is delightfully tangy and sweet.
During Ramadan, every guest that comes for iftar, or breaking the fast, will also be served Pancious's signature rice pudding for free.
The rice pudding, which is only available in the restaurant during the fasting month, is soft and creamy. Chewy grains of rice add an element of surprise to the pudding.
"Many of our guests come especially during iftar just for this pudding," said Vibrian Putri, the restaurant's marketing manager.
Pancious Benefit App
The first Pancious restaurant was established by culinary enthusiasts and siblings Fransisca Tjong, Veronica Tjong, Freddy Tjong and their cousin Siska Tan in Permata Hijau, South Jakarta, in 2007.
Today, the restaurant has 12 outlets in Greater Jakarta and six more in Surabaya, East Java; Makassar, South Sulawesi, and Palembang, South Sumatra.
Approximately 70,000 customers are now registered as loyal members.
On the occasion of Pancious's 11th birthday, the restaurant also released a smartphone application for its customer-rewards program.
"With the new Pancious Benefit App, we hope to be able to communicate better with our customers and enhance their dining experience at our outlets," said Fransisca Tjong, co-founder and marketing director.
The app converts the points on members' loyalty cards to virtual stamps.
After collecting a certain number of virtual stamps, members will be entitled to free dishes at Pancious restaurants.
Approximately 1,000 people have downloaded the app from Google Play and Apple's App Store so far, but the restaurant group expects to have 70,000 downloads by the end of this year.
Price per person: approximately Rp 150,000-Rp 200,000++ ($11-$14).