The Journey of an Old 19th-century Colonial Building of Tugu Kunstkring Paleis.

The old 19th-century colonial building of Tugu Kunstkring Paleis which located on Jl Teuku Umar No 1, Central Jakarta-Indonesia (formerly: Van Heutsz Boulevard). Located in the Menteng area, which is one of the strategic areas until now. This unique restaurant occupies in a historic old Dutch colonial-style building. Standing on a land of 0.3 hectares with a building of 731 square meters. The building is one of the government-protected heritage buildings. In its time the building also serves as a landmark in front of the Menteng Residential Area.

Built-in 1913, designed by a Dutch architect, Pieter Adriaan Jacobus Moojen.Then in 1914 was inaugurated by the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies at that time, Alexander Willem Frederik Idenburg. By the way, the construction of this enchanting old building is still quite good, and it is one of the buildings in that period that first used reinforced concrete construction.

Bataviasche Kunstkring.

In the Dutch East Indies, this old building was used as Bataviasche Kunstkring (a building of the Art Circle of Nederland Indische Kunstkring, Association of Indies Art circle). It was first opened on April 17, 1914, and its activities began to exist in the 1920s positioned as the center of all the Kunstkring (art circle) scattered in Batavia ( now Jakarta ), Bandoeng, Soerabaya, and several other large cities in the Dutch East Indies.

Bataviasche Kunstkring often held the exhibitions, even the exhibition of bonds Kunstkring, or joint exhibition of various kunstkring which is the culmination of reputation from several regions in the Dutch East Indies. Kunstkring consists of Dutch or European artists who live in Indonesia. The great works of painters such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent Van Gogh have been held in the Bataviasche Kunstkring gallery in the 1930s.

The building also served as an office for an Islamic organization, Majelis Islam Alaa Indonesia (MIAI) during the Japanese occupation and the Indonesian War of Independence from 1942-1949, and then after Indonesia independence, this building became Immigration Office run by Directorate General Immigrants in the year 1950-1997. Like the name listed on the building facade, IMMIGRATIONE NST-DJAWA. After being abandoned for some time, until finally, the building was able to return as it was at the beginning of its glorious days.

The Tugu Kunstkring Paleis Restaurant.

In 2013, this old 19-century building has been stunningly restored, Mr. Anhar Setjadibrata, an antique collector, an experienced businessman in the hospitality and dining business, working with the city’s special district of Jakarta, restored the function of this old building as early as its art gallery and a fine dining restaurant called Tugu Kunstkring Paleis managed by Tugu Group. Although it has become a restaurant, another management mission is to keep Kunstkring Paleis as an art center by presenting the nuances of art, culture, and romance of Indonesia.

As a cultural heritage building, the whole building has not changed. Immigration NST-Djawa N Immigration is still allowed to exist, as one of the identities of this building in the past. The building facade still performs as it originated when built by P.A.J Moojen, the architect who gave birth to this old two-story building.

The Thematic Rooms.

You must prepare your collection of admiration to come to this restaurant. The interior arrangement of Tugu Kunstkring Paleis shows the flavor of the owner in presenting another dining experience. Room by room is conceptualized and thematic so every guest will get different ambiance in each room. A very unique arrangement and will bring an unforgettable experience.

The restaurant has several special rooms for dining and meeting with varying capacity and theme of the room. For small meeting rooms and private dining rooms, restaurant guests can choose the Soekarno Room, Colonial Rijsttafel Room, and Multatuli Room. You are really invited to wander to repeat the exoticism of the past, Tugu Kunstkring Paleis is very romantic though despite having been through various times.

1. The Foyer.

Entering the courtyard we have been greeted by sturdy old trees and grasses that are expanding, so the atmosphere feels so beautiful to forget for a moment from the hustle and bustle of life in Jakarta. Like the design of colonial building in the Dutch East Indies always displayed the escalation of space with high ceiling. and we will soon find it, starting from the foyer area of the restaurant. When you arrive at the foyer, you will be greeted by a beautifully arranged of a sophisticated interior arrangement with a golden architrave touch on a classic European style. While the beautiful girl wearing “kebaya Betawi” accepts every guest who comes with all the hospitality.While in the right corner of the entrance there is a small room that turned out to be a special place for wine mainstay in this restaurant.

2. The Diponegoro Room.

Diponegoro Room is the main dining room on the first floor of this building, also the largest room in the restaurant. Large room with a capacity of 85 dinners of seats is often used as a place for official banquets. The dominance of red and gold in this room gives a very elegant impression. While the 9x4m “The Fall of Java” painting recounts about the capture of Prince Diponegoro in Magelang, which then made the Mataram Kingdom completely subdued in the hands of the Dutch and ended a long war and depleted the Dutch East Indies colonial government money.And the painting becomes a gigantic point of interest in the fine dining area, present to share the story about the past to the visitors who are enjoying a variety of dishes which served in “Rijstaffel” style.

Sophisticated Main Dining Room at Kunstkring Paleis

3. The Multatuli Room.

Behind the painting there, is a VIP room with a capacity of 12 dinners of seats. This room is called Multatuli Room. Multatuli or Edward Douwes Dekker is a figure who is remembered as someone who is very concerned and sympathetic to the struggle of the people in times of colonialism. Also known as an author of Max Havelaar. The room is full of memories of the former assistant resident in Lebak who voiced the suffering of corvee labor through his book.

Little black and white photographs or articles about him embedded neatly on the sides of the wall. The black and white photo of Douwes Dekker is on one side of the wall. Mixed into a union with ornaments and relics in this room as if designed to build nuances in the era of Multatuli. Also, there is a great self-portrait of the Dutch authorities which may have been Albertus Jacobus Duymaer van Twist, the Governor-Generall of the Dutch East Indies in the Multatuli era.

4. The Colonial Rijsttafel Room.

This 8-person dining room with a round dining table is inspired by the tradition of rijsttafel-style banquets. A tradition of serving food that has been going on for hundreds of years. Here the guest can also see historical pictures of Rijstafel on the wall.

Grand Rijsttafel.

Grand Rijsttafel has became one of its own pride processions of the Tugu Kuntskring Paleis Monument and increasingly unique to the look of waitresses numbering 2, 12, 22, 32 or more – tailored to the number of serving – dressed in “kebaya Betawi” and led by the head waiter or maître d ‘ hotels that have knowledge of the entire menu presented to, then share with the host. In a Rijsttafel-style dinner, rice and a variety of side dishes are served simultaneously on the table. Therefore the presentation of the dish is called as rijsttafel or rice table. In contrast to the western culture where dishes are served in sequence from appetizers, main menu, to desserts.

At Tugu Kuntskring Paleis the presentation of rijsttafel is presented uniquely by applying the Rijsttafel Betawi theme which has been hard to find in modern times as it nowadays, where each menu adapts the typical Betawi atmosphere.

5. The Raden Saleh Room.

Raden Saleh Room is one of the private dining room. Have 18 dinners of seats which is divided into several tables. All sides of the walls are lined with the wood panel. some of Raden Saleh’s masterpieces became the main decor in this room. Raden Saleh Sjarif Boestaman (1811 – 1880) was the first “modern” artist of the Indies. His works include being part of the 19th century “romanticism” that is popular in Europe. As in other rooms, the red vibration was re-present in this room, tracing in every element of this room interior. Impressing the spirit of “romanticism” of a Raden Saleh.

7. Suzie Wong Lounge and Bar.

In the east wing, there is a room that is very thick with oriental nuances. This room is named as Suzie Wong lounge. In the lounge, for a moment you will be invited to leave the colonial atmosphere, mingle with romanticism and exotism of an oriental style in the 50s. The thick red shades of the Chinese are stretched from the lanterns hanging from the ceiling to warm the atmosphere. On one side was a rickshaw of red-colored Wanchai reminiscent of the past. Room divider until pillowcase embroidered with oriental decorative ornaments.

The interior design of the lounge also inspired by the movie “The World of Suzie Wong”. a movie with a Hong Kong background in the 50s. The film itself tells of a prostitute who was fooled by Robert Lomax, a painter who lived in Hong Kong. The film became a hit in the 1960s and its movie property became a valuable collection and gave it a romantic feel.

8. The Staircase.

To the second floor, we can use the elevator or want to choose up the stairs while enjoying the ambiance of the past. Staircase to the second floor with antique 20x20cm tile decoration with carved floral iron balustrades, sweetened with teak chairs on the bordes. On a large landing beneath the space, Soekarno has placed a long sofa with various photographs of the past.

9. The Soekarno 1950 Room.

As the name of this room, this room presents the memorabilia of Bung Karno, a great leader who brought the Indonesian nation to its independence. at the far end of the room, Soekarno’s painting was flanked by two large and black-and-white Balinese dancers, as if to tell Sukarno’s feelings that he could not be turned away his sense of love from Bali, the region where his blood came from. His mother is indeed a Balinese.

Soekarno is also a connoisseur of art and collector of art objects. The charm of this room did not leave any decoration of art objects to decorate to every corner of the room, to share stories and invite guests through the surge of Sukarno’s love of art and culture of his nation. The interior and decor of this room also come with various dazzling details.

The red shades on the walls gave the warmth of conversation, and also made the conversation more intimate. Some of the antique paintings also decorate the room with the chandeliers hanging on the table. On every element of the decoration also have a story of each, as echoing the melodious strains of Balinese gamelan, playing the rhythmic beat about the life of “Sang Fajar”.

10. The Art And Performance Hall.

The Art And Performance Hall is a spacious room with eight-meter high ceiling with the wood beam in the ceiling. Entering this hall, our feet that tread the floor to make a sound because the whole floor is made of wood. The hall floor is made of dark wood which is finely finished by a shiny lacquer.

The hall is suitable to serve as a place of exhibition and enjoy the artwork. And there was a bar in the middle that is big enough to use if there’s a big enough event in there.Several times here held music recitals, dance performances, or ballet. One long stage in front of the bar can be used as an arena for performers of the art show.

11. The Balcony Van Menteng.

Leaning out, there is a balcony called Balcony van Menteng. A couple of chairs with two chairs can be a romantic chat place while enjoying the sunset while sipping warm tea. A breezy breeze with views over the park, under the green trees, will further familiarize chat. On this balcony, we can see the scenery in the restaurant area, or maybe enjoying the Van Heutsz Boulevard, Imagine the Dutch ladies with his little dog and an embroidered umbrella stifling the sun walking along the boulevard.

12. The Bread and Coffee Corner.

Is the tiny cafe in one corner of the building is also suitable to accompany a shady afternoon? With a capacity of 15 people, delicious cakes are served daily with traditional Dutch recipes.This room is accessible from the outside and stands out because of its semicircle shape. Once inside the room, there was the smell of coffee and bread in the air. Bread and Coffee Corner is a room commonly used for relaxing sit three to four people. In addition, people also used to work, write, or read in this place.

In addition, there is a cake that is highly recommended to be ordered, the original Blood Cake of the birthplace of Bung Karno, in Blitar. This bread is soft texture and can be warmed before it is eaten. It is said that Blood Bertha from Blitar is a legendary blunder without match in Blitar. A variety of traditional cakes typical of other regions of Indonesia are also provided here. Or maybe Java you want to try a robusta Coffee from Kawisari Coffee Plantation of East Java.

13. The Art Shop.

Do not miss also the shop, which has a collection of favorite souvenirs from various locations in Indonesia. A variety of unique and high-tech antiques are sold here in beautiful shelves depicting their peculiarities. Batik, handbags, notepads, pearls, bracelets, dolls, sculptures, can be bought here as a gift or collection at home.

What’s interesting about this art shop is the pattern of the window frames. It’s simple, but this design became an icon of almost the European cafes in the 19th century. Even up to now this kind of window frame design is still used in many cafes. Imagining, when in the rain or winter drops in the window, the remaining grains of rain or snow still left in every corner of the window frame, give an unforgettable enchanting atmosphere.

Also read: Colonial House of The Heritage Hotel Roemahkoe.




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