Venue Passion Media

Raising The Patisserie Standard

Social Affair proves that Indonesian market is ready for premium products

It is no secret that the influence of French pastry products in Indonesia started in 5 star hotels through the hands of expatriate chefs. Later on, the outlets outside hotels started to adopt the authentic recipe, altered some of the ingredients by using the cheaper counterpart for the sake of affordability, thus, quality is sacrificed. Sometimes the modification stretched way too far to a point that the only thing they share in common with the original products is the look. Sounds familiar?

Fortunately, not all outlets exhibit the same issue. Back in 2012, Cacaote reminded me of how good a chocolate cake can be; now Darryl Iswaratioso did the same through Social Affair’s croissant. Both Cacaote and Social Affair prove two things: Indonesian market is ready for premium products and they have set the standard pretty high.

Days in Australia

Finally, I had the chance to meet with the man behind the gun, Darryl Iswaratioso, Cacaote and Social Affair’s Executive Pastry Chef. As a Patisserie graduate from Le Cordon Bleu, Sydney, Darryl spends his early years working hard in Brisbane and Melbourne. “No matter what people say, you can’t just rely on school. The best place to learn is definitely the actual workplace. Work experience is the most important thing,” said the chocolate fan.

Judging from his story, the local pastry chefs should be thankful living and working Indonesia. “It’s a whole different story (working in Australia. It’s a lot tougher, both in working hours and job descriptions. While we have (working hours) 8 to 5 here, In Australia, you can go home only after you finish your job. When it gets busy, you start at 6.00 am, and go home at 11.00 pm or 2.00 am, then you should be ready at 6.00 am the next day. No overtime or anything, when there’s still job to do, you finish it. We also got 1 hour break here, meanwhile I might get 5 minutes break to eat. In addition, even though the production number was big and time was scarce, an outlet might only have 3-4 people.”

When he got back to Indonesia and started setting up Cacaote, Darryl and his partners had one goal in mind: to provide French quality patisserie products in Indonesia. “Indonesians love travelling abroad and indulging themselves with delicious chocolate and cake, but they have a hard time finding similar quality products in Indonesia. Therefore, we created Cacaote so that you don’t have go to France to get them. We use French technique to make the products, but we adopt modern and minimalist approach in our taste and decoration. Australians love heavy taste, when it’s sweet, it’s really sweet, meanwhile Indonesian prefer lighter taste,” said Darryl.

Social Affair
It is also interesting to know that sometimes, things didn’t go as planned. “I don’t know, but some people said that they don’t want to go to Cacaote if they don’t dress up. We never want that kind of image. Perhaps because the pastry and the food is more to the fine side, but we never set any dress codes,” he said. Due to this dress up case and the fact that many Cacaote’s loyal fans were living in North Jakarta, Darryl decided to open Social Affair in Pantai Indah Kapuk in November 2016.

“We want a very casual place, it’s in a neighborhood, you can wear flip flop here. The interior is meant to give you casual feeling, it’s more to industrial, rustic, with a little bit of fun. You can tell from the unfinished wall, and also the yellow color. Initially, we wanted Australian warehouse concept, but we can’t find the proper place for the concept. We also love to play with natural lighting,” he said. The place also served breakfast as it opens from 7.00 am to 22.00 pm.

The food is also very casual, Australian style brunch. Some of the favorite items are: Egg Benedict (smoked salmon,
ikura, poached egg, fish roe, hollandaise, mix salad), Smashed Avocado & Mushrooms (sourdough, smashed avocado, scrambled egg, mushroom, feta cheese,
garlic snow), and Chicken Stacks (pressed waffle, buttermilk fried chicken, avocado, chili mayo, coleslaw salad). In near future, Social Affair will add more main course, soup, and salad.

While Cacaote focuses on chocolate and patiserrie, Social Affair is more into bakehouse and café. “The highlight would definitely the wide variants of croissant. We’re pretty happy with our croissants!” said Darryl. His conviction has solid base: the basic butter croissant is flaky, crispy outside, moist and buttery inside, exactly how a traditional French croissant should be. Social Affair’s croissant reminded me that it is actually difficult to find a proper viennoiserie in Jakarta as the
so called croissants in the market have soft, spongy texture that is more similar to bread.

In addition to the French technique, Darryl is pretty strict when it comes to ingredients. According to him, all of Cacaote and Social Affair’s products use 100% butter and couverture chocolate, along with imported fillings and sugar derivative products. Darryl is also willing to walk the extra miles by importing some of the ingredients from Singapore if they were unavailable in the local suppliers’ stock. You can see the quality in variants such as Peanut Butter & Jelly, Red Velvet, or Matcha Lava. “It is hard to say our recommendation, but the most popular variants are the Martabak (grated cheese, chocolate vermicelli, and ground nut), Salted Egg Yolk, and Choco Lava,” stated Darryl.

In the future, Social Affair will stay true to its identity as a very casual place and continue experimenting with innovative products. When you want to try the proper French croissant with many topping variations, Social Affair set higher benchmark for the competition. After all, it is one of few pastry outlets recommended by hotel’s pastry chefs.

“No matter what people say, you can’t just rely on school. The best place to learn is definitely the actual workplace”

Social Affairs

Ruko Garden House Blok B No. 17-18A

Pantai Indah Kapuk, DKI Jakarta 14460


Phone: +62 813-1724-0090