And the great cafes in Bandung keep springing up. This time, it’s Common Grounds. Common Grounds originated in Jakarta and became an instant success. I went there when it first opened and to be honest, the food offering was poor. But on subsequent visits, they’ve refined their service to the point that I think it’s a fantastic place to go and have brunch and a couple of coffees.
Which brings us to Bandung. I guess the main thing to question is whether Common Grounds Bandung lives up to its successful sibling in Jakarta. And for me, it does. Actually, I prefer the Bandung branch because the fitout is so freaking awesome whereas the Jakarta version is in a crappy old mall.
The coffee at Common Grounds is first rate. Equal to the best in Bandung, but to be honest, there are so many great coffee places in Bandung now that this level is the minimum required in my view. I expect excellent coffee in every cafe I go to and Common Grounds Bandung does deliver. Next is food. The menu here is diverse and includes the usual brunch style items such as pancakes but also heavier savoury things such as burgers and baked eggs. The cake selection is small, but the chocolate souffle cake I tried was awesome. So over-the-top rich, but I liked that. Apparently they ship the cakes in from Jakarta rather than make them in house, but I think that’s OK as long as the taste is good. And anyway, the souffle cake I tried was nothing like a souffle… Not sure what that is about.
Next, we turn to whether this place is suitable for working from. One of the biggest gripes I have in all of Bandung (aside from the traffic) is the lack of decent work spaces in cafes. Mainly the issue is to do with WiFi. Indonesia does have super fast wifi in many areas. Bandung has it throughout the city. I even have quite fast wifi at home. The problem is that in most cafes the connections are usually shit and Common Grounds is no different. For me, they shouldn’t bother offering wifi at all if they can’t give you something that is even barely usable. With a cafe filled with about 10 people, the internet worked about 25% of the time. And even at those times it was on and off. In other words, completely frustrating and better off if they didn’t have it. This is pretty similar to most cafes in Bandung, to be fair. I don’t know why it’s always so bad, but it needs to be fixed.
One last point is about pricing and it’s something that raises its head time and time again in Indonesia. It’s the issue of charging for an extra shot of coffee. Now some places such as two hands full don’t charge for an extra shot as the coffees come standard with 2 shots. Noah’s Barn does a magic which has 2 shots for 28k plus tax. But I’ve been charged up to 60k in the past for double shot coffees as they often charge for 2 separate coffees. Common Grounds doesn’t do this. But the do charge 10k plus tax and service for an extra shot which probably costs them 2k in beans, absolutely nothing in labour and saves them probably 500 in milk. It’s a rip off. So yeah, I would be OK with an extra 5k, and even then the total price of the coffee would be 37k plus tax. But as it stands, I’ve to pay 47k for that double shot coffee which by world standards is a rip off. By Bandung standards it’s criminal.
So the final verdict? Awesome. One of my new favourite cafes in Bandung. Just don’t go there expecting to use the wifi.