Harliman Boulangerie, Bandung: Surprisingly Good Pastries!

We rarely eat good pastries in Bandung. And god knows we try. We try so many croissants, pain au chocolates and almond croissants and we can’t even remember the last time we had one. They’re so rare.

So when we decided to head out to Batununggal to try out the new pastry shop, Harliman Boulangerie, we had very low expectations. Even from the photos of instagrammers, we felt sure the pastries were going to be dry and flakey as is almost always the case in Bandung.Croissants at Harliman BoulangerieBut when we got there and tried their pastries, we were shocked. The pastries weren’t dry and flakey. They weren’t dense and bready. They were spot on and probably not far off what we’ve experienced in Paris! They were that good.Cakes and tarts at HarlimanThe pain au chocolate was a winner. The outside was only slightly stiff, but gave way as soon as our teeth sunk into it. The inside was fluffy and better still, slightly chewy.

The almond croissant was predictably dense, but surprisingly had a slight crispiness to it that we really loved.

And that’s the point here. Getting the fine balance between too crispy and too much like bread is extremely difficult. And at Harliman they’ve found that balance and as a result serve what we consider to be the best pastries in Bandung. It’s a big call, we know.

One piece of advice we’d like to give. DO NOT HAVE YOUR CROISSANT HEATED.  They offer this at Harliman, but we suspect it will dry the pastry right out and make it flakey beyond belief.Nongkrong at Harliman Boulangerie BandungLastly, a small comment on the coffee. We didn’t really enjoy the coffee here. So if you need coffee, only order one if you’re desperate. Otherwise wait until you’re able to visit somewhere else for your coffee fix.Raspberry Croissant Harliman BoulangerieHarliman is definitely worth a visit if you love pastries and is our pick for them in Bandung.

Harliman Boulangerie
Jalan Batununggal Indah Raya 164, Bandung
Opening hours: daily 09:00 – 21:00


Kedai Kopi Bara, Bandung: Centrally Located Nongkrong Spot

If you’re looking for a place to nongkrong in Bandung that is both modern and old school at the same time, look no further than Kedai Kopi Bara on Jalan Cibadak.

Located in an colonial building, Kedai Kopi Bara has been given a facelift that brings it into the 21st century. Lots of handmade wooden furniture, a couple of couches and lots of bright natural night make it feel quite modern.There’s a constant stream of the latest music playing, fast free wifi and a few books to make the place great for hanging out in.We’ve tried a range of things here and the coffee is top notch. Yes, it does compare with the best in Bandung. Susan likes green tea lattes and the iced one here is pretty much like it is everywhere.

They do a small selection of food here, but last time we visited, the kitchen wasn’t open.We find it interesting that the coffee shop isn’t that busy. Where is everyone? This is one of the better coffee shops in Bandung and it’s virtually empty!The great coffee, relaxing ambience and decent food selection make this one of our favourite nongkrong spots in Bandung. Let’s hope they get enough customers to make keeping the business going worthwhile.

Kedai Kopi Bara
Jalan Cibadak 237, Bandung
Opening Hours: daily 07:30 – 22:00
Cappuccino: Rp25.500
Iced Thai Green Tea: Rp15.000


Railway Coffee Station, Bandung: Good Coffee Near Bandung Train Station

New for 2016, Railway Coffee Station is one of the most centrally located coffee shops in all of Bandung. Located on Jalan Kebon Jukut 17 just next to Kartika Sari, it’s convenient if you’re looking for oleh-oleh and a coffee!

The coffee here is predictably good. But that’s expected in Bandung these days. If your coffee isn’t fantastic, don’t even bother opening. They’re using coffee from sfroastery here — a great little coffee shop which we really like as well.Prices here are spot on, we think. They’re at the lower end of specialty coffee prices in Bandung and that should encourage more people to visit.This place doesn’t feel like a ruko and that is a major positive. The inside is decorated with wood and metal furniture, large white tiles and a polished concrete floor. The coffee machine is a thing of beauty.For smokers or those who simply prefer the steamy outdoor temperatures, there are a few outdoor seats which are pretty good. We’re not sure how the air-conditioning compressor units on the wall outside will impact on guest comfort, but we suspect they will make it even hotter on at least a couple of the tables as they pump hot air into covered area.We really like the murals on the wall, the wifi is fast (20mb/5mb) and the staff pleasant. A worthy new addition to the Bandung coffee and nongkrong scene.

Railway Coffee Station
Jalan Kebon Jukut 17, Bandung
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 09:00 – 22:00; Fri-Sat 09:00 – 23:00
Cappuccino: Rp23.000
Ice Lychee Tea: Rp28.000


Old Ben’s Garage & Coffee, Bandung: Does it Live up to Expectations?

Old Ben’s has been around for a little while now and we finally just got around to visiting it. And we were impressed.

The building looks like a small ruko/garage and inside there are about 6 tables inside with a few lounges and stools to complement the seating arrangement.Inside Old Ben'sDesign-wise, the interior is modern and fresh, but not wildly different to the style of most modern cafes in Bandung. In other words, it’s nice, but it won’t win any design awards.

We ordered a double shot cappuccino, baked eggs (they call it braised eggs) and croquet Monsieur. The food was good, but it doesn’t stand out from the crowd. The croque Monsieur was as expected — a ham & cheese sandwich with bechamel sauce and nicely dressed side salad.The baked eggs were a little insubstantial for our tastes and needed something a little more bitey inside like chunks of chorizo or even potato. This is the problem with baked eggs. They can often leave you feeling hungry if they aren’t filled with chunky bits inside. The flavour was nice though.The cappuccino was super strong which to be honest was a little unexpected. We often find it difficult to know how strong a coffee is going to be in Bandung, so we generally like to order a double shot. The coffee in Old Ben’s is strong and we are OK with that!The orange juice wasn’t very good to be honest. We actually haven’t had a good orange juice in Bandung, so we have to rate this orange juice as standard only. The only way to make it better is to import better oranges and that is obviously too expensive for Bandung cafes.So all in all we do like Old Ben’s. It’s certainly a place we’ll be coming back to again when we’re in the Setra Sari area.

Old Ben’s Garage & Coffee
Jalan Terusan Prof. DR. Sutami No.23
Opening Hours: setiap hari jam 08:00 – 22:00
Drinks: Cappuccino double shot Rp33.000; Sunkist Rp30.000
Food: Ben’s Childhood Breakfast (baked eggs) Rp50.000Croque Monsieur Rp50.000


Kopi Kodok, Bandung: Another Manual Brew Joint to Add to the List

Kopi Kodok is a warung kopi created to cater to the same sort of crowd as Warkop Modjok and the old Armor Coffee in Tahura. A large wooden building that looks like it might blow over in the next storm.

Around the building are gardens with solid wood chairs and tables, a few umbrellas and plenty of murals for taking selfies in front of.The murals are actually one of the favourite spots in the whole place and we saw quite a lot people with their tongsis grabbing that perfect shot.This is a manual brew coffee shop, so don’t expect to get a proper cappuccino or other Espresso based drink. But do expect to get Turkish coffee, Vietnam drip, V60 and all the other manual brewing methods.We tried a few drinks here and were quite happy with the quality. But this place is not just about the drinks.It’s about nongkrong. And Kopi Kodok is a perfect place for nongkrong with its pleasant garden area, rural setting and natural wooden furniture. And because of the altitude of this place, it’s certainly a few degrees cooler than the central parts of Bandung.You can smoke anywhere here basically because there is fresh air everywhere. Even inside it’s fine because there is always a cross breeze.

An assortment of cemilan is served here and wifi is not available.Kopi Kodok is the new hip place in Bandung. Come here before it’s overrun by the masses!

Kopi Kodok
Jalan Sersan Bajuri 54, Bandung
Instagram: @kopikodok
Opening Hours: daily 08:00 – 22:00
Espresso (ibrik): Rp10.000
Single origin Arabica: Rp25.000
Milk tea: Rp20.000
Bala-bala: Rp15.000
Cireng: Rp15.000


Armor Kopi Garden, Bandung: A Sensational Place to Hang Out and Drink Coffee

Some of you might remember the original Kopi Armor located just inside Taman Hutan Raya. And you might also remember that it had to close down over legal difficulties related to government bureaucracy.

Well, the owners already owned another coffee shop called Armor Kopi Garden, but it was sort of like a hidden secret. So when the main Kopi Armor closed down in October 2016, the owners decided to encourage their customers to visit Armor Kopi Garden, just 300m up the road.Armor Kopi Garden has a massive car parking space out the front which leads up to a familiar wooden building. The building looks similar to the one at TAHURA, but it’s actually a different building. The original TAHURA building has been disassembled and moved to a location nearby.The drinks and snacks at Armor Kopi Garden are just as you remember them at Kopi Armor. Lots of manual brew coffee in both arabica and robusta, lots of snacks such as pisang goreng and roasted beans packed for you to take home.We really like the layout of Armor Kopi Garden as it really lends itself to endless nongkrong. A cool open air veranda and a cozy indoor area: it just is perfect for nongkrong.Prices here aren’t as cheap as somewhere like Warkop Modjok, but they’re not as expensive as modern coffee shops like Noah’s Barn. The cheapest coffee is still Rp10.000, but when you add fresh milk, prices do go up steeply. And that’s normal.

Drink your coffee strong and black — much cheaper.Armor Kopi Garden is in our opinion every bit as good as the previous Armor Kopi in TAHURA. Sure, there are no pine trees here, but you do get the cool breeze, lots of plants and lots of wooden furniture in a wooden building. And great coffee.A top spot to nongkrong in Bandung.

Armor Kopi Garden
Jalan Dago Pakar Utara 46D, Bandung
Instagram: @armorkopi.bdg
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
Espresso Rox: Rp10.000
Americano: Rp20.000
Vietnam Drip: Rp20.000
Cafe Latte: Rp25.000
Roti Bakar: Rp20.000
Pisang Goreng: Rp20.000


Kozi Lab, Bandung: A Cozy Place to Drink Coffee with an Understated Hipster Vibe

With so many coffee shops opening in Bandung, it’s so difficult for them to stand out from the crowd. They all generally have good coffee, they all generally have a good fitout, they all generally have free wifi and are good for nongkrong. So when we visited Kozi Lab, we expected much the same, but were pleasantly surprised to a see something a little more distinct.

What makes Kozi Lab so different from other coffee shops in Bandung is that it’s in a unique location, the people who visit are artists and this makes the atmosphere unique in Bandung.Kozi Lab drink coffee in a warehouse in BandungKozi Lab is tucked deep inside a series of old military warehouses next to a bunch of other art focused shops such as design studios and fashion designers. It’s so deep inside these warehouses that it’s actually quite difficult to find.Inside-Kozi-LabOur best advice is to drive through a small gate and head towards the back of the property. There you will find a warehouse with a bunch of cars and motorbikes parked out the front. Enter this warehouse and have a walk around. You will stumble upon the coffee shop! There is no other way to describe where it is!The coffee we had was good as is usually the case now in Bandung. To compare it in quality to other places in Bandung is difficult because the standard now is so high.

So we really love this place. Kozi Lab is a place we’ll be glad to go back to over and over again. We just hope it doesn’t turn into a typical hipster place. As at this time, we don’t feel that it is too hipster. It has a nice funky, organic vibe that hasn’t been invaded by the fake artistic crowd. Awesome.Coffee in KoziLab-Bandung

Kozi Lab
Jalan Gudang Selatan 22, Bandung (go through the arched driveway and head towards the warehouses in the middle of the property. There will be lots of cars and motorbikes parked out the front)

Instagram: @kozi.lab
Opening Hours: daily 09:00 – 21:00
Magic: Rp22.000


Old Bike Coffee & Eatery, Bandung: Old Bikes, New Cafe

New in late 2016, Old Bike Coffee & Eatery is a modern coffee shop on Jalan Surya Sumantri serving great coffee at a friendly price.

We complain a lot about coffee prices in Indonesia. You can get a specialty coffee from Yellow Truck for Rp18.000 and the same one from Common Grounds for about Rp47.000. And the difference in quality isn’t that great.At Old Bike, they’ve chosen to price their coffees at the lower end of the range with a magic (double shot ristretto with milk) only costing Rp20.000. That’s an absolute bargain.But of course it’s not all just about price. Quality is important too and we were very happy with our coffees at Old Bike. The magic was strong and punchy and the flat white slightly more milky, but still quite strong.The fitout here is interesting. They have a really large ruko to play with and they’ve done a good job.

Simple tiled floors, wood and metal furniture and brushed concrete walls. We found it to be a little noisy because of echoing, but that’s something they should be able to fix quite easily with some pictures on the walls.Free wifi is also provided and you will always find a seat because it is so big. A good new coffee shop in Bandung.

Old Bike Coffee & Eatery
Jalan Surya Sumantri 53B, Bandung
(022) 8777 6477
Instagram: @oldbikecoffee
Opening Hours: daily 09:00 – 23:00 except Saturday 09:00 – 01:00
Magic: Rp20.000
Flat White: Rp23.000


Kopi Kelenteng, Bandung: Fantastic Coffee Across from the Temple

Located in the Chinese area of Bandung, the aptly named Kopi Kelenteng is a kopitiam style coffee shop offering manual brew, espresso and kopitiam style coffee. And we love it.

The thing with coffee shops in Bandung is that they all start to feel the same. Wood, industrial fittings, bags of Proud Mary coffee behind the counter. What started as an original theme by Noah’s Barn has been copied to death by others. And Kopi Kelenteng well and truly breaks that mould.Pintu Depan Kopi KelentengWhat we really love about the shop itself is that it’s not in a ruko. I hate rukos because the shape is always the same. Boring! The no-ruko aspect means that the cafe has an interesting shape to it. It’s a small space with only a few tables, a dedicated smoking area and the tiniest of kitchens.Bagian Dalam Kopi Kelenteng BandungThe menu is simple. Lots of toast, nasi goreng and other cemilan. The coffee range is large because they brew in lots of different ways. The magic we tried was spot on. Strong flavour, well-textured milk and looked good.Magic Di Kopi Kelenteng BandungThe teh tarik was similar to what we know and expect in Malaysia although we’d be happy to see a bit more froth.Toast Di Kopi KelentengSo what don’t we like about Kopi Kelenteng? Not a lot! We would like to see a few extra dishes served such as lontong kare or other simple dishes you might see in a kopitiam. But other than that, Kopi Kelenteng is a damn fine example of what a simple coffee shop should be.Area Smoking Di Kopi KelentengTop marks. Check it out if you can.

Kopi Kelenteng
Jalan Kelenteng 26, Bandung
Opening Hours: daily 07:00 – 22:00, weekends until 23:00
Toast: Rp12.000 – 18.000
Nasi goreng: Rp22.000 – 28.000

Kopi: Rp15.000 – 25.000
Teh Tarik: Rp15.000
Milo Dinosaur: Rp20.000


Common Grounds, Bandung

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.Common Grounds Bandung inside

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.Common Grounds Bandung Cake

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.Common Grounds Coffee

So the final verdict? Awesome. One of my new favourite cafes in Bandung. Just don’t go there expecting to use the wifi.