New Cafes in Bandung, Indonesia

There’s a new wave of coffee brewing in Bandung and the city’s hipsters are taking to them in droves.

Since getting back from our trips to Europe and Australia, we’ve been checking out some of the new cafes that have sprung up around Bandung and have been surprised with the quality of coffee on offer.

A New Wave of Cafes in Bandung
A New Wave of Cafes in Bandung

These are our favourites:

Noah’s Barn

Noah's Barn - great coffee, decent cakes
Noah’s Barn – great coffee, decent cakes

Noah’s Barn really was the first of the new wave in Bandung, mixing modern Australian cafe design with seriously good coffee. This place is not really a cafe per se as they focus almost exclusively on coffee with food being a secondary consideration. Still, it’s a great place to hang out with friends because the interior is designed so well that it gives a compact and relaxed feel. In fact, it’s the interior design that gives this place the edge over the competition in our view. Coffee is sensational, disappointingly the WiFi doesn’t usually work other than to send a tweet or two.

Address:
Jalan Laks. M. U. Nurtanio (AKA Jalan Garuda) No. 39
,
Bandung 40184

Two Hands Full

Two Hands Full - get your hipster on
Two Hands Full – get your hipster on

Two Hands Full has a more industrial angle on the “mod oz” design and utilises high benches, bare concrete floors and a few quirky signs to encourage its hipster set to feel at home. The good thing about Two Hands Full is that it serves food as well as great coffee. Another welcome aspect is the speed of the WiFi which is some of the fastest in town. This place is for serious coffee aficionados, lovers of quick meals and fast WiFi. The location on Jalan Sukajadi can be a major problem on weekends.

Address:
Jalan Sukajadi No. 206,
Bandung 40161

Two Cents

Two Cents - a good all-rounder
Two Cents – a good all-rounder

I always get Two Cents and Two Hands Full mixed up. Mainly because they remind me of my two favourite cafes in Melbourne, Three Bags Full and Two Birds One Stone. Two Cents is definitely not as hip as Two Hands Full and not as cozy as Noah’s Barn. Yes, they are serious about coffee, but not to the exclusion of food. And this is a great plus as there is an equal focus on trying to churn out decent food – thankfully they largely succeed. The problem with the food that I’ve had so far is that because parts of the dishes are pre-prepared (such as stewed berries), they sometimes don’t mesh together in a single coherent dish. The stewed berries on our French toast were served at fridge temperature while the toast itself was hot — it just didn’t work, despite the flavours being very good. These are minor issues, though, and we believe this will become one of the most popular modern cafes in Bandung. Definitely worth a repeat visit.

Address:
Jalan Cimanuk No. 2 (Cnr of Jalan Riau),

Bandung

Lacamera

Lacamera - much cheaper than Jakarta!
Lacamera – much cheaper than Jakarta!

Ah Lacamera. It’s an odd place. Yes, the coffee is really good. Probably the second best in Bandung in my view. But there are two problems for me. Firstly is the interior of the place. It’s a really great modern design, but it lacks something – something I can’t put my finger on precisely. It doesn’t feel cozy, despite a few large relaxing chairs. Perhaps the space is just too wide open. Perhaps it’s the constant smell of cigarette smoke wafting in from the smoking room around the corner. I just don’t know. But it doesn’t really invite you to spend hours hanging around. The second problem is the food. For me, it’s barely acceptable. They really need to work on lifting the standard of the food on offer because it really does detract from what otherwise is a really great cafe. The WiFi here is incredibly fast which funnily enough does make up for some of the other misgivings here. Perhaps this assessment is too harsh because despite a couple of rough edges, it is still one of my favourite cafes in Bandung and it certainly does eclipse any of the old brigade such as Hummingbird.

Address:
Jalan Naripan No.79,

Bandung 40112

So where does this leave cafes such as Origin, Gigglebox and Hummingbird? These Bandung cafes have been mainstays for the past 3 or 4 years, but times change and Bandung grows more modern. To me, Origin still has a role to play because the food is sensational, but the interior design does need to be lifted to keep pace with the competition. Hummingbird’s food has always been OK and it still is. It serves the purpose of catering to those not on the cutting edge of coffee – perhaps families and older groups of people meeting for a catch up. Gigglebox again is still relevant, but only really for people who are on a tighter budget.

But it needs to be said that the old brigade of the Bandung cafe scene are on notice to pick up their game or risk being left behind. The new standard has been set by the likes of Noah’s Barn and there is no stepping back. You either work to lift your standard or you risk becoming increasingly irrelevant as the years go by.

These new cafes set the scene for exciting times ahead. Great coffee, modern interior design and cutting edge customer experience. Ngopi heula!

7 thoughts on “New Cafes in Bandung, Indonesia

  1. Hello hello!

    Just wanted to say thanls for posting this. My better half and I just arrived in Bandung and have been trying to find a couple of regulars, and you have just saved us days and days. Brilliant, ta.

    Josh
    P.s. The place we’ve been going to (pre reading this) is Dakken. Lovely atmosphere, great WiFi, some really good food (and some pretty average food – stay away from the desert). Was it open when you were here?

    1. Hi Joshua — Bandung’s coffee scene in particular is really picking up! There are even a couple of more now such as Blue Doors. I also love Cups which has great coffee AND food.

      I have heard of Dakken, but I’ve never been there. The best WiFi I’ve found in Bandung is probably as fast or faster than anything anywhere really. It’s a 30mbit connection at Koloni on Jalan Ciumbuleuit which basically means you can upload or download a massive video in about 10 minutes. Cool.

  2. Sitting it Blue Doors now. Quite nice. Good coffee. Although I have three mozzies floating around me (indoors) which makes it pretty hard to enjoy anything.

    I’ll go checkout Cups tomorrow, Koloni the day after.

    So are you still Bandung based?

    P.s. also went to Origin for the food which – as you suggested – is brilliant. Love any other food tips.

    1. Josh – I think mozzies are a fact of life in Bandung, no matter where you are! No fumigation in these parts sadly. I’m still Bandung based and have just arrived back in town for a couple of months. Basically jet in and out throughout the year as the need arises… mainly work-related outside Bandung.

      As for food tips, my fave Western-style places these days is Porto on Jalan Setiabudhi. My fave Indo food is Nasi Kuning Pasir Koja on the right hand side of Pasir Koja Terusan. Cheap and probably the tastiest food in town! For quick and easy food I enjoy Mangkok Ayam at both Setiabudhi supermarket and Istana Plaza. Oh yeah, my other fave Western food is Fashion Pasta. It’s the real deal in terms of Italian food, but sadly is under-appreciated by most in Bandung.

  3. Went to Fashion Past for my birthday last night. Thanks for the tip. Incredible pasta. Incredibly average pizza – but worth going just for the pasta. Will try to check out those other places you recommended in the next week or so.

    Sitting in Koloni now. The internet is cracking good.

    What do you do for a crust these days?

    Also – I passed on the name of that language school you went to in bandung to the misus. I think she did some googling and called them with no luck. You know if it’s still in operation?

    Do you remember – ballpark – what you paid for courses? If we can’t tee that one up we’ll probably go with a language school we found in Lotte Mart.

    1. These days I do lots of different things, but mostly freelance writing gigs for different mags and companies. Means I’m not really tied down.

      The best option for the language school is to just roll up. They’re pretty old school, but it’s kind of what you want. Pretty sure it’s still in operation. It’s been around for over 20 years!

      Each month I was paying about 2,000,000. They’ll also help with arranging visas as well. I don’t know about other language schools, but I can’t imagine too many which are better. They are spot on as far as the PROPER language goes. It gives you a great understanding of the way the language works… You can pick up all the slang and informal stuff on the street if you need to… which is what most Indonesians speak.

      What are you in town for?

  4. We moved here so my better half – Louise – could take up an opportunity with Save the Children. Here for another two months and then we’ll probably head to Jakarta.

    I called the language school. Unfortunately they said their only Bahasa lessons were at 8am. Which is no good as (as above) the misus is working and we want to do classes together.

    Sounds like you’ve got the sort of job a lot of people dream about. What did you do back in Australia before you became a travel writer?

    What do you do for fun here? Maybe we should go have a hit of tennis, or badmington or something?

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