Thursday, June 01, 2006


The Jakarta Meat Pie Challenge

I can’t be arsed saying too much about Sidoarjo against Gianyar except to ask why the 2 teams at the bottom of the Eastern Division were deemed worthy of live TV exposure. They were, Sidoarjo won 2 – 0 but we have bigger fish to fry…or pies to eat

The Jakarta Meat Pie Challenge

Totally unofficial of course and to be honest I can’t think of anything else half decent to scribe about. The real season is over, things are quiet in the Indonesian League and this World Cup thingy is still a couple of weeks away so why not talk about pubs? I like pubs, pubs are good, some pubs are great.

And so are pies. The ultimate pie eating experience I have come across in Asia so far has been Father Flanagan’s in Singapore where you can buy a piping hot pie and eat it by hand at the bar and not worry about those poncey napkins and cutlery. My next trip to Bangkok will see me try Big John’s pies out Thonglor way while Bobby’s Arms used to serve a mean Chicken and Mushroom but the torch for Bangkok pies rests now with Chequers though I feel a trip to Joolz is also in order.

But we’re talking Jakarta so let’s see how they line up.


I like Aphro. It’s large but keeps the feel of a local, it has good food and of course cold beer. Many people visit it purely for the pool table but hey…not me lah. I went there a couple of weeks back after some business took me Menteng way and popped in for a nosebag. They have a special on meat pies at the moment; well they did then, so I had one. It came served in splendid isolation on a large plate with a tidy display of rabbit food tucked to one side and with free gravy (!). I ordered mushy peas as a side order along with McDonald’s style French fries. Even with the gravy though the pie was a bit dry and at times heavy. The peas were great farting ammo though and it was a long drive home with the windows open.

Pie Rating 6/10

Stanford Arms

Another nice bar, ok, define a bad bar, the English type bar in Blok M plods along in it’s own sweet little way. This does feel and look like a local bar, the kind of place where you can guarantee seeing the same faces propped on the same stools. The area round the bar is classic English pub in a box while the conservatory area seems…odd. But the pie. To be honest I’ve never had much joy with the food here, even a waitress once advised against eating here, but needs must when the devil farts in your face. The pie was covered in thick, we’re talking doorstep thick, pastry that could be used as breeze blocks. The filling was even drier than the Aphro offering and no amount of tommy s could save it.

Pie rating 3/10

Mad Dogs Brauhaus

A welcome addition to the Serpong supping scene Mad Dogs have taken the ingredients of their successful Cilandak bar and brought them out to the sticks. Dodgy pool table (I admit they’re all dodgy to me) and large screen sports are de rigueur in Jakarta but what about the pies? They advertise there offering as being an Aussie Meat Pie and it comes with mushy peas and chips. Not French fries please note but bloody CHIPS! Ahh quality. The pastry was used to hold the pie together, not as construction material, and the filling was moist and juicy. This was, I can state quite confidently, nearly the perfect pie eating experience.The only drawback was the mushy peas but the pie was sooo good, I swear you could quite happily do away with those damned knives and forks and eat it by hand, replete with crumbling pastry and meat dribbling down your chin, just as nature intended a pie to be consumed.

Pie Rating 8.5/10

That was fun! There can be no greater joy than visiting a pub, having a beer or several and munching on a pie unless of course it is to write about said deeds and, dare one hope, and get paid for it!

I think you missed a place worth mentioning. For me the best pies I've eaten in Jakarta have to be in this new place I found in kemang called "Aussie Gusto" by far. It specialises in real aussie pies just like back home. Can't beat em. Got meat pies, steak n mushroom, steak n kidney, chicken, pepper steak, sausage rolls, you name it. Also got lamingtons, pavlovas (you beaut!). You haven't taken the full meat pie challenge till you've checked out this joint. Just thought you'd like to know, being a true blue pie lover and all. Cheers
Re: Stanford Arms @ Ambhara Hotel

Not just the Pub - forget about eating ANYWHERE in this Hotel. I have stayed there and eaten there and would give the Hotel a one star rating, not the 4 stars it claims.

Ate at Stanford Arms with my wife one night. Worst eating experience I can recall. I was elated to find a Steak & Kidney Pie so I ordered it - what a mistake - heaviest gluggy pastry, ratio of kidney to beef completely wrong, seasoning like something out of a horror movie.

I would not even rate it a 1 out of 10.

You have been warned - stay away...
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