A Story of Chocolate at Namelaka

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Yoan and Ivan of Namelaka are avid dessert people.

Tucked inside one of the “hypest” place in the heart of Menteng’s Shophaus is Namelaka, masterminded by Yoan Tjahjadi and Ivan Setyawan–members of a duo that are having a love affair with chocolate.

Yoan, who was born and raised in Jakarta, says that she has fond recollections of the flavor of the warm, sugary chocolate milk that she had every day before going to school. “It brings back good childhood memories.” However, Yoan says that as a kid she already disliked the inexpensive, super-sweet chocolate bars that have long been abundant in Jakarta.

Ivan, too, has childhood memories of chocolate encounters when he lived in the city of Tuban.

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“Chocolate meant rewards. Every time I got chocolate from my parents, it meant I did something right”, says Ivan. For him, chocolate is a perfect stress reliever and means positive things.

That is why although he studied to become hot-kitchen chef, Ivan has had no trouble in finding what he wanted to explore for the Namelaka project: chocolate.

While Yoan is more curious about chocolate tempering and art decoration, Ivan has been busy experimenting with all kinds of chocolate cake. For the pair, ideas can be found anywhere, whether from their imagination or even complete failures.

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“Most of Namelaka’s product have stories behind them,” said Yoan, laughing. Ivan agreed, talking about when the pair prepared a birthday cake for Yoan’s mother that was, in the end, absolutely inedible. Under tight time constraints, they improvised, devising a cake from different types of chocolate that used a variety of techniques. “Out of nowhere, we got our first prototype for the Intense Chocolate [dessert] that is now on the menu,” Ivan said.

“Intense Chocolate” features layered chocolate sponge and mousse made from 64 percent chocolate, to which is added a cream made from 70 percent chocolate to deepen the flavor. To complete the texture, choco crunch is added on top and below, and a glaze is applied to finish the cake. With each bite, you will experience a different chocolate experience, which makes it one of my favorites in Namelaka.

Neither Ivan or Yoan would agred on the best pairing with chocolate, deferring to the individual preferences of diners. Ivan leans toward darker and bitter chocolates, while Yoan prefers milk chocolates with more sweet notes.

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Yoan’s favorite chocolate cake is the pair’s “Banana Chocolate Tart”, which was inspired by the local fried street-food snack piscok. It combines a dark and milk chocolate mousse and is filled with sweet banana cream. Banana and chocolate make a combination that can’t go wrong.

When in Namelaka, you must try the choux, which is filled with two different chocolates for added nuance. The filling is made from their own milk chocolate ganache with more cream and a bit of gelatin. The result is more cream-textured filling instead of a saucy one. The result is truly namelaka, which comes from the Japanese word for smooth and creamy.

Ivan also told another story when he was busy working in kitchen and forgot to bring flowers on Valentine’s day for Yoan. He secretly made a red cake, using a white chocolate cream and raspberry to made it red, like roses. That is how the “White Chocolate Raspberry Namelaka” was born. I think the story just made the cake a lot sweeter.

Jalan Teuku Cik Ditiro No. 36, Menteng, Jakarta
T: +62 813 20232025
Instagram: @namelaka.id

Written by Yosua Yanuard Photographs by Yosua Yanuard November 23, 2017.