This weekend, we decided to make our way up to Jakarta Kota, the former hub of Dutch-colonial Indonesia and one of the city’s most historic locations. Overlooking Taman Fatahillah, Kota’s central cobblestone square, Café Batavia resides within a 200-year-old building and is the perfect place to sit and watch Jakarta Kota come to life.
Established in 1993, Bativa restaurant, café and bar stretches over two impressive storey’s of rich wooden awnings and hundreds of framed photographs of the worlds most influential and famous. The ground floor is home to the bar and stage where, at 3pm on a Saturday, live music is in full swing and a large collection of plush armchairs invite you to wile away the afternoon in a cloud of smoke.
The second floor is where the restaurant and café can be found, framed by 19th century bay windows that overlook Taman Fatahillah. The view is without a doubt it’s pivotal feature, and if you get a table next to the shuttered windows you can watch the comings and goings of painters, musicians, food vendors, tattoo artists, dancers and even a wedding procession or two as you sip your latte or beer.
The menu is fairly standard, a mix of Western and Indonesian cuisine that will sting you for at least RP100,000 a main course, although the desserts do deserve a special mention. Drinks don’t come cheap, and the coffee really isn’t up to the standard of more central parts of the city. Despite the fact that quality and cost are not the main draw cards, Café Batavia is worth a visit for it’s historic look into a vision of Jakarta long since faded away.
Our tip is come for a beer (RP50,000) and stay for the charm, especially if you find yourself on Jakarta Kota’s museum trail and want some history without the tour guide. Be sure to check out the toilets while you’re there too, which have gained notoriety as some of Jakarta’s most charismatic.