• Jakarta’s lovebirds pay dearly for ‘romantic dinner’

    It’s almost the time of year again when couples suddenly turn romantic, at least for a day.

    In Jakarta, as elsewhere, lovebirds are choosing to mark Valentine’s Day with romantic dinners. Some reserved pricey tables in tony restaurants weeks before Feb. 14.

    One restaurant that is courting lovers, Emilie in Senopati, South Jakarta, is offering couples a special menu.

    “For Valentine’s Day, we have a prepared menu that comprises six complete courses for dinner. The price is Rp 1.2 million [US$134] per person,” restaurant spokeswoman Nana Muschory said.

    The restaurant serves classic, regional French cuisine in a sophisticated intimate setting, according to its website.

    Nana said customers booked tables for Feb. 14 starting in January, and there were currently no more tables available. “Main dining at Emilie is usually on the first floor only. But for this Valentine’s Day, we will also serve dinner for two on the second floor,” she said.

    As of Sunday, there were 12 couples on the restaurant’s wait list, hoping that others might cancel. “Last year, there were several couples who waited here for hours for a table. They waited until another couple finished their dinner,” Nana said.

    Another prime destination for those seeking a romantic candlelit dinner is Segarra in Ancol, North Jakarta.

    However, all of the restaurant’s tables overlooking Jakarta Bay on Feb. 14 have been booked since September. “The tables on the sand, looking at the sea have always been the favorite of customers,” Enjum, a
    receptionist, said.

    Accompanied by live music and sea breezes, couples will be served with a special menu made for the day. Packages range from Rp 600,000 to Rp 1 million. “Customers can get free wine if they order the Rp 1 million package,” she said.

    Segarra, which means ocean, offers Asian and European food ranging from tom yam noodles to grilled salmon to pizza.

    Selly Anita, 37, said that she and her boyfriend would have a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day this year.

    “I don’t always have dinner on Valentine’s Day, but I don’t know, I guess my boyfriend just being too romantic this year,” she said.

    Selly said they planned to have dinner at Vin+ in Senayan, South Jakarta, because the place was quiet.

    “We’re not actually looking for a candlelit dinner — just a regular dinner. But because it’s Valentine’s Day, I believe many restaurants have changed their setting to be like that,” she said.

    Selly added that chocolate and flowers from her boyfriend would be enough to celebrate the day.

    Other than a secluded dinner for two, other ways to mark the holiday include bouquets of red roses and boxes of chocolate or candy.

    However, some skeptics refuse to partake in the consumerist frenzy, saying that love should be celebrated on any day of the year.

    Others took even a harder line, such as members of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), who rallied in Sukabumi, West Java, on Sunday to ban Valentine’s Day
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