My durian debut

I've only been in this fine city a few weeks, but I already have a contender for my favourite little afternoon tea spot: The White Box, in Menteng.

The place exudes funk, with a white theme throughout the cafe only interrupted by the occasional bit of faux-graffiti wall art. The staff are nonchalant but get the job done, while the menu has enough quirky and unusual items that the sheer length of it (a common feature of Indonesian menus) is not as off putting as it as at other places.

Even though I was there on a quiet weekday afternoon, there was some live acoustic music happening out the back, with the resident strummer making fine use of his six-stringer. Come back during a busier time, and I suspect the place would be a hive of activity.

It was here that I popped my cherry - to use a culinary metaphor - for a distinctive Indonesian fruit: durian. Okay, so it was in the form of a durian mousse cake. But with the warnings attached to the fresh durian, a food that has been known to make grown men quiver and reduce seen-it-all old ladies to tears, I thought is safest to start with something softer.

The durian is a complex fruit, it's smell so overwhelming that it is banned from a multitude of places, including the kitchen at our accommodation. From all reports it's pungent and tenacious, but generally lacking the pleasant flavour to make those characteristics tolerable.

Dilute it in a creamy mousse, however, and it's a different story. When given a generous helping of sugar, the flavour become rather pleasant and the subtler parts that I suspect are normally overwhelmed when the fruit is eaten on its own come through. The mousse cake at White Box was a fine demonstration.

I'm sure there are many excellent places in Jakarta I'm yet to discover - if many can match the overall awesomeness of White Box, I'll be impressed.

As for durians, having sampled the mousse cake, maybe I'm ready for something more potent.


Multibrand said…
Hi there,
I can imagine how you felt when you have your first taste of durian.
Try the fresh ones.

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