In addition to this list of malls and shopping centers near Menteng/Guntur/Kuningan, I would certainly add Ambgassador Mall and City Walk and — as a last resort or just for fun — Senen Atrium and Sarina Thambrin. Because these are key pieces of the gotta-by-stuff puzzle here on the border between Central and South Jakarta.
Menteng was “Indonesia’s first garden city.” So at the top of the list of outdoor hangouts include the Dutch colonial parks — Taman Suropati, Taman Lembang and Taman Menteng. Lembang has a large tranquil pond but is closed at night. The others seem to rock 24/7. Here’s a Menteng walking tour (that needs to be translated and verified) and a picture of me at the park.
In Cikini/Raden Saleh area you’ve got TIM Arts Center, once a Dutch zoo and “pleasure grounds” where you could catch a polka most Sundays at 7:00. TIM has movies, artsy stuff and cafes so chill you’ll need a sweater. A lot of big and small countries still have embassies located in Menteng, which tons of cultural centers (Indian, German forget the others), which means foreign films. Also museums and antiques in Menteng, some in private collections. Some of the antiques on Jl. Surabaya have the unique advantage of also being relatively inexpensive and brand new ; ) Good place for a photo of you posing with a seemingly ancient Javaense dagger (kris).
Restos include Lara Djonggrang — that seems like it’s one of a kind, even though it’s actually a popular restaurant theme. And then there’s other stuff — like Barack Obama’s grade school on Jl. Besuki near Taman Suropati — which really is.
I also wouldn’t discourage anyone from having a hot beer and a popped eardrum at the warm, intimate speakeasies at Pasar Manggis. But you’ll need a small penlight to keep up with the roach scene, since it’s dark . There’s something inexplicable about the Manggis scene — and some of the others street-type scenes nearby, including the electrified but unlit hobo raves out on the tracks next to Latuharhari.
Until 1934 this far edge of the ‘Teng was where Dutch civilization (such that it was ; ) ended — or was swallowed up by the kampung. The Dutch cavalry once parked here and now the lady-boys do. Up and down the Bandjir Kanaal you’ve got legal and illegal honky tonks, including Blora. Maybe it historically acted as some type of buffer zone, protecting the decadent from themselves. There are countless other thangs in the Teng, a place which — in all laissez faireness — ought to remind anyone of Mos-Eisley Cantina from Star Wars.
Just north of Menteng there are tons of popular restos and cafes in Wahid Hashim/Sabang/Jaksa area. Many offer late hours and radical racial, ethnic and religious diversity. Ya Udah Bistro offers all that plus all-you-eat German food and great prices.