Teru’s Invitation to Stay

by Runi Cholid
20th January 2023
Inviting with sun-lit interiors, a comforting Japanese brunch menu and an expansive range of coffee, Teru in Barito provides a sanctuary for work-from-café denizens in the metropole.

Who would have guessed that Teru, a sunny café just across the pet market in Barito, sprouted from a chance friendship forged on Ragnarok Online? 

But instead of RGB lighting and a dark, moody backdrop often associated with gaming aesthetics, Teru is draped thoroughly in Japanese minimalism. The interior is bright and inviting thanks to the double-height ceiling designed by Raymond Julian of Quatro Design Studio, with organically growing greeneries by Tanam Lokal accentuating the spacious café.

Co-founders Abel Tirta Santoso and Yantra Wijaya have also thought through elements that encourage a longer stay. Here, Teru opts for comfortable seatings instead of stiff-backed chairs, a calm J-pop playlist over loud music, and a generous number of electrical sockets for work-from-café denizens hoping to get some work done.

“Depending on how you write it, Teru in Japanese can mean ‘bright’ or ‘to tell a story’. It’s a mood that we set here, we want people to hang out, enjoy the bright interiors and share stories with their friends,” explained Abel.

Such an idealist orientation makes its way to the menu too, for which Yantra took cues from fine dining philosophies and “made it more casual” to come up with unique plating styles for its delectable, Japanese brunch offerings. For the Chawanmushi, the silky egg custard is placed back into its shells, which are then circled with dried twigs to create an illusion of a bird’s nest.

But even simple, no-fuss fares like the Shoyu Koji Chicken set—which tastes just like how you’d imagine a day-to-day lunch at a Japanese household—and the fluffy, shokupan-based dessert Teru Honey Bread deserve recognition for having nailed down the fundamentals of comforting home-cooked food that would keep diners longing for more. Add to that the sneakily expansive coffee range, which includes rare manual brews that change with the seasons, like Hacienda La Esmeralda’s Panama-sourced washed geisha, served at their dedicated slow bar.

As intended, Teru showcases its charm best if you linger for a while. It’s not surprising then that only within a month of its opening, the café has attracted a steady stream of regulars come weekdays (with their laptops open) or weekends (with their family tagging along). Whether at the specially-designed tatami seat or the sun-basked outdoors, all that’s left to do is to pick a seat and let the day run its course. Teru welcomes your stay.