Lea Joan and Desy Indrasari met in high school and have stayed friends until today, both standing as successful F&B entrepreneurs; Lea founded Do An, a Vietnamese restaurant with multiple stores across the city, while Desy opened Bale Lombok, an Indonesian restaurant serving Lombok and Balinese specialties. Coming together to fuse their industry knowledge and a shared passion for homespun creations—from food to handcrafted art—the two friends opened The Post, a coffee house and eatery on Cipete Dalam street.
A stone’s throw away from the Lycée Francaise de Jakarta school and the long-running Levant Boulangerie, passersby can easily point out the establishment through the towering durian tree in front; the patio near the entrance, shaded by a wall of black pottery jars made by artisans in Lombok, is built around the tree.
Inside, another tree (this time Kamboja) is front and centre, ascending into the skylight where the day’s light pours down and naturally brightens the spacious room. Work-from-cafe denizens sit around it hoping to get some work done, while some expats enjoy their breakfast spread and coffee fix before the day begins.
“More than pretty corners, we want to breathe life into the space; the idea of including trees fits into this. It’s also important that we ourselves feel comfortable here,” said Lea. On the second floor is a post-production house, Super 8mm Studio, owned by Desy’s husband; the running joke is, “you’ll probably run into film directors and actors here,” Desy laughed.
When it comes to food and drink offerings, the experienced restaurant owners go for back-to-basic, comfort food that they know people will look for and like. This includes the unassuming plate of Cakalang Fried Rice (tuna fried rice) crowned with a sunny side up, a bowl of the quintessential Vietnamese Beef Pho that is gaining popular votes amongst diners, and the go-to Aglio Olio pasta mixed in with a generous hand of smoked skipjack tuna. Their selection of Neapolitan pizza is also made from scratch and wood-fired at the outdoor terrace.
Even if the menu items seem familiar to the tongue, their range is quite a spread. This repeats in their lineup of drinks, covering tea creations like the Iced Honey Lemon Tea, a glass of black tea mixed with a honey cube and lemon juice, to specialty coffee and its iterations like the Iced Batavia Aren Caffee Latte. It’s easy to strike up a chat with the baristas here, who are well-informed about the store’s selection of Indonesian and international beans as well as its brewing methods from the traditional tubruk to French press. Note to coffee buffs: coffee here is under the supervision of Lea’s husband, Michael Darmawan, who happens to be a coffee sommelier and also runs a barista school.
Sometimes, it only takes a comfortable, naturally-lit spot to truly feel restful, surrounded by food and drinks that may seem run-of-the-mill but can satisfy the cravings nevertheless. The Post welcomes this experience of being in a totally relaxed state, which is probably the reason why diners like to stretch their time here, even when Lea and Desy are still not ‘done’ with the place. “What we’re afraid of is offering the same thing, but the main priority is for our place to feel comfortable,” closed Desy. “We’re actually still playing around with many ideas.”