Manual Excursion: Urban Forest

by Runi Cholid
4th November 2022
Bringing the outdoors downtown and combining it with a curated retail concept that caters to culinary hunters, Urban Forest in Cipete prompts a visit for this edition of Manual Excursion.

The revitalisation of public spaces like Tebet Eco Park is a step forward to satiate the city people’s growing need to be outside—the simple pleasure of being in contact with nature, along with the health and even creative benefits from its exposure. Through its tailored retail concept inside a park, Urban Forest in Cipete adds a new dimension to this experience.

Currently occupying a 1.5-hectare green space—inside an even larger 4.8-hectare landscape that includes the upcoming apartment complex, Grange Park—Urban Forest offers a nature-oriented escapade while also catering to culinary hunters with a range of select F&B establishments like Chef Mandif Warokka‘s Solo Pizza and steakhouse El Profesor by Chef Andrea Peresthu.

Its wide breadth of verdant land is what sets Urban Forest apart from its contemporaries. Rather than maximising space to cater to as many tenants as possible, it instead prioritises the green plains, the eye-pleasing shrubberies and flowers and, most importantly, the exotic tall trees collected by its founder. 

“People have asked me how we could have such a big Baobab tree—accounting for its exorbitant price at that size—and it’s simply because we’ve been nurturing this ecosystem in the past eight years,” shared Stephanie Gunawan, one of the park’s owners.

Visitors—from grade-schoolers on a quick after-school playdate to grandmas being pushed on their wheelchairs—can be found meandering through the sidewalks, playing with bubbles on the green lawn, taking shade under a tree with a book in hand and enjoying a meal at one of Urban Forest’s curated tenants.

A hungry stomach might lead one to Little Talk Bistro and its menu of Asian fusion dishes, curated by Chef Aditya Muskita of BETA. Dishes range from heavy mains like Nasi Bebek Sambal Hijau (fried duck with green sambal over rice) to sweet options like Kouign-Amann. To accompany the meal, going with a classic cuppa like the Mocha is a safe bet, and a range of refreshing mocktails is also on offer to quench one’s thirst.

Following that, parents of small children or couples on dates might find themselves walking across the way to RivaReno, an Italy-hailed gelato shop that delights customers not only with its artisanal offerings but also with a clear view into its gelato kitchen. Once the moment comes to pick a flavour, don’t rush and make the most of the unlimited chances to sample the gelato until you find one that clicks.

“I’ve been seeing entire families visiting the park together, and children and seniors especially seem to enjoy the space. I love seeing them having fun, it really adds meaning to this thing we’re creating,” mused Stephanie.

Occasionally, the MRT would pass by—a stark reminder that Urban Forest is still located amidst the hubbub of downtown South Jakarta. Without an entrance fee nor overly strict regulations, the park is an exciting thing to experience, and additional features are already in the works to further enhance the visit. Indeed, it’s like a refreshing sight that heralds further change in how the metropole appreciates its rare green spaces.


Urban Forest

Jl. RS. Fatmawati Raya No.45, South Jakarta, 12430

Operation hours: Every day – 7 am to 10 pm