At GIGA Bites, Aromatic Dishes and Bits of Bandung

by Cindy Julia Tobing
3rd November 2023
GIGA Bites lands in Jakarta to offer a lineup of aromatic dishes and bits of Bandung’s creative energy in their charming little home.

Brought together by a shared hobby of cooking and a similar palate for aromatic dishes, friends and business partners Ghea Anisa and Ghia Nuria Fatma decided one day that they were going to open a small eatery that fulfilled just that. “We both love kecombrang (torch ginger) and coriander, so you’ll find a lot of them in our offerings,” remarked Ghea.

First kicked off in Bandung, and now with a second location in the quiet neighbourhood of Gandaria Tengah, GIGA’s home is as unique as the motley of flavours that trail their compact menu. Be it the bowl of organic charcoal noodles served with smoked chicken and sambal matah, or a plate of Thai crispy chicken crowned with fresh mango salad and torched ginger, the two have put their own spin on “comfort food with a twist” as described by Ghia, a self-taught cook who also launched a private dining experience through Diantararindu. “Something that people are familiar with, but also something they are likely tasting for the first time.”

Recipes here are cooked with coconut oil, most probably an influence from Ghea, who founded the popular TIASA Plant-Based Canteen; and her favourite on the menu is naturally the Local Salad, tossing together mixed vegetables, tempeh and chia seeds served with soy sesame dressing and crispy fried wonton. There are also tea-based drinks, notably the regular iced tea infused with kecombrang petals.

Stepping inside, one might get a kick out of realising just how petite the eatery is. Immediately greeted by Little Contrast’s simple coffee bar setup, a fellow Bandung-based establishment sharing the space with GIGA, diners are ushered to the narrow dining area that likely sits no more than 15. But the snug room finds its charm through the retro-style interior and mismatched patterns that somehow harmonise with their equally offbeat menu. The space is further adorned with artworks and trinkets made by local creative friends from Bandung to Jogja, which also fill up their retail section.

Ghea and Ghia’s approach is simple and endearing: to bring a little bit of Bandung to Jakarta. Whether it’s the homey, suburban location that reminds them of GIGA’s first home on Nanas Street, or the desire to channel Bandung’s distinctive creative energy through food and other artistic expressions, there’s a lot to offer from GIGA’s tiny, charming home.