Cafe Cali

8th February 2023
Cafe Cali at The Orient hones in on the appeal of its rooftop location with a spread of laidback Pan American cuisine to match the 360-degree high-rise panorama of the city.

Time spent at Cafe Cali can easily make one feel on top of the world. Overlooking Jalan Sudirman street, the self-billed rooftop day club is the most recent addition to The Orient hotel, ticking plenty of boxes when it comes to elements that make sky-high establishments so appealing in the city.

Most important is perhaps the view. And being the sole occupant of the boutique hotel’s 32nd floor—accessed by crossing through Caspar‘s interesting interior to catch the lift—Cafe Cali doesn’t lack for it. A 360-degree, panoramic vista of the neighbouring corporate landscape surrounds the place, office buildings look like giants with neon crowns spelling out their names, and passing cars appear like mere ants. It’s an exclusive sight of Jakarta many would reserve for special occasions, whether to impress a date or a potential business partner, where the distance makes it easier to romanticise the city and all its quirks.

Meanwhile, the interior goes for whitewashed walls and stone floors alongside red tiles and black steel frames; in a way, like a summer mansion in the Americas, complete with an infinity pool and a jacuzzi. It makes for a relaxed atmosphere, and dressing down is the norm despite the premium experience. Executives from nearby offices come as they are for after-hour drinks, while the younger crowd opts for shorts and light tops to enjoy the city breeze.

The scene corresponds well with the laidback Pan American offerings, cooked up by the kitchen crew with executive chef Aditya Muskita in the background and head chef Gerardo Milan at the fore. South American specialities on the menu are a credit to the latter, who moved into the country from Mexico 18 years ago. The chef is a tight curator when it comes to selecting his ingredients, most of which—including sauces like ketchup and mayo—are made in-house. It’s what adds a spark to the deliberately-kept simple recipes at Cafe Cali and puts the club on the map as more than just a sightseeing spot.

Options range from familiar flavours like the tender Spicy Buffalo Chicken Wings, infused with habanero chilli and paired with the much-loved homemade tartar sauce; the Double Smash Cheeseburger with its juicy short-ribs based patties; all the way to unfamiliar ones, captured in the sour and refreshing Peruvian Ceviche. And at the end of the meal, a compact selection of desserts awaits, each one—including the Cafe Tres Leches—accompanied by a creamy dose of ice cream.

Whichever dish one opts for, the experience at Cafe Cali varies depending on where you sit. Whether in the dining area, on the day beds by the poolside or in the privacy of one of the cushioned gazebos, where a white polo-ed waiter will cater to your whims. Alternatively, many would be satisfied with hanging by the bar with a straightforward cocktail of Whiskey Sour in hand or a pick from the A to Z range of homemade gins.

When night falls, the DJ sets the mood and the blanket of lights makes the scenery look like a reimagining of a star-studded sky. The view alone might’ve been enough to draw people‘s interest to the rooftop club, but Cafe Cali knows how to turn the intrigue into an invitation to ascend.