Mandira’s Garden : An urban organic garden and cafe in Jakarta

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Lisa, Jo and Liz outside Lisa’s retreat, her tree house, which looks out onto her corn field. I would love this to be a ‘scratch and sniff picture’ then you could experience for yourself the sweet, sweet aroma of the corn flowers in front of us.

Jo and I both love to garden! So to fuel our interest and to learn more about the Jakarta urban gardening scene; we caught up with Lisa Mandira the creator of Mandira’s Garden, to chat about her bountiful city garden and cafe in Kemang, South Jakarta.

Lisa has been passionate about gardening since she was 8 years old and not long after that, cooking was added to her list of favourite things to do. In 2015 she decided to turn her childhood passion for gardening and cooking into a project for everyone to enjoy, and Mandira’s Garden was born.

To me, a strong connection between the place, the plants, and the gardener makes for an engaging and exciting garden. Lisa Mandira has created such a space!

Come with us on a tour!

  • Below we introduce you to the beautiful grounds of Mandira’s Garden, which include the abundant native plantings, fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit
  • next we take you into the cafe market to show you the fresh produce options of the day, available to purchase
  • we introduce you to Lisa’s ‘Garden to Table’ concept
  • then take a peak into Lisa’s special creative space, her Tree House (we even had time for a brief Q&A with Lisa inside)
  • Finally, Lisa shares her Top Tips for starting your own urban vegetable or herb garden

Ayo! Let’s Go!

The location : Jalan Kemang Timur Raya no. 55, Jakarta Selatan
Open: Monday to Saturday, 8am – 5pm

The Grounds

Mandira’s garden is set back from Jalan Kemang Timur. Look out for its sign which is shared with Galeri Pot and Lavida Home. All three businesses are located on the same block. After you alight from your car, make your way through the archway on the far side of the car park.

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Mandira’s Garden is a unique urban oasis tucked away on bustling Jalan Kemang Timur.
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Follow the path to the entrance to the main garden. Turn right for the cafe.
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Once inside the main garden the feel is lush and and leafy enclosed and calm.

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Lisa pointing out Daun Lalapannya or Kenikir. The kenikir leaf is eaten raw in Sundanese cooking and always accompanied by sambal. In Bahasa English Kenikir is called Cosmos.
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Kenikir seeds
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Lisa showing us ‘Hairy or Holy Basil’ which is not so commonly grown in Indonesia but traditionally from Thailand. It is used as a relaxant and infused in water or tea
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A handful of Hair Basil seeds
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L-R Daun Suji (the leaf is used to make green food colouring. Daun suji is used to make Indonesian cake Kue Klepon green in colour) Daun Patah Tulan and Daun Gedi and Hairy Basil.
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To the bottom right of Lisa is Daun Jinten. (Jinten leaves) Lisa is speaking about the gel inside the leaf being used as a burn reliever. She said it can also be used in cooking.
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Green and red spinach (Bayam hijau dan merah)
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Daun Patah Tulang. (Patah Tulang leaves) The plant sap is used as a herbal medicine for toothache, some skin diseases. The roots and stems are dried then ground (digiling). It is made into a drink as a detox and to heal problems of the stomach as well as muscle aches.
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Pohon Okra. (Okra tree) the leaf, flower and fruit can be eaten. Okra is added to stir fries, soup and curries.
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Daun Ubi (Ubi leaf) is sautéed in Indonesian cooking. (ditumis)
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Daun Gedi (Gedi leaf) is a famous ingredient in Manadonese porridge called Bubur Manado. Bubur Manado has a base of rice porridge mixed with slices of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, sweet corn and vegetables such as morning glory, spinach or watercress and gedi leaves.
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In Indonesia this fruit is known as Kedondong. Kedondong is added to rujak (a spicy salad predominantly made with fresh fruit that is sweet and crunchy) Kedondong can also be juiced.
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Rain water tanks – and Lisa’s motto “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”
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Lisa in her field of corn (jagung)
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Vertical growing is a very good alternative for people who have little space for growing. Lisa has mint growing in her vertical garden.

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Mandira’s Garden Cafe and Fresh Produce Market

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Lisa at the entrance to the Mandira’s Garden cafe

Fresh seasonal produce

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All the fresh produce sold in the cafe is from Lisa’s farm at Gunung Putri and some local home farms in Gadog Bogor, Bandung and Cipanas.

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Pineapple (nanas)
Tumeric
Tumeric (kunyit)
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Avocado (alpokat)
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Rock onion (bawang merah)
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Yellow potato and sweet potato (kentang and ubi)
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Butternut squash
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Fresh dried vegetable pasta

Garden to Table concept

The concept is ‘Fresh from Garden to Table. Lisa’s team cook what they harvest, so each day the menu changes. We love that! Today in the kitchen are noodles and pasta made with vegetables, fish, sautéed veggies, tempe and tofu.

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After shopping for local produce why not pull up a seat in the cafe and enjoy something delicious made from the fresh produce picks of the day.
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Freshly squeezed Malang orange juice with a beautiful Butterfly-Pea Flower garnish.
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Blue rice garnished with Butterfly-Pea flower petals, Ikan Kembung a fresh sea fish Lisa purchased on her way to the cafe at her local pasar, Pasar Puri Indah, Daun Singkong sautéed with garlic and chilli and sautéed Labu Siam accompanied by Sambal Balado.

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Lisa’s Tree House

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Lisa standing outside her wooden tree house in the corner of the garden.

Lisa’s tree house looking out onto the garden clearly plays an important role in supporting her creative processes.

Q & A with Lisa

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Pontianak (West Kalimantan) until my teen days and after that I moved to Jakarta. I loved gardening and raising chickens from a young age, but when I moved to Jakarta, there was something wrong, I had the feeling that there was a missing part in my life. I missed my garden and chickens. I used to like to climb trees and when I arrived at the top, I was too afraid to go down.

What did you want to be when you were a child?
When I was 8 I loved to grow plants and at 12 yrs old I wanted to be a Psychologist. I am a Family Counsellor now.

What gives you energy?
Nature is an energy booster for me, to see plants growing is a life giving pleasure.

What’s one thing about you that would surprise people? Hmm .. apa yah? I built a tree house in the middle of the city with a fairy garden

What annoys you?
When people litter & don’t respect nature

What delights you?
I like being lost in my garden & tree house

About Jakarta & Indonesia:

3 words to describe your Jakarta?
Traffic, beauty & life

What’s your favourite Indonesian book?
Laskar Pelangi

What’s your favourite Indonesian Movie, Band and Singer?
Movie : Laskar Pelangi
Band : Ada Band
Singer : Tulus

Where’s your favourite place to eat in Jakarta?
I like Bandar Djakarta – Ancol, they have amazing seafood with a great ambience surrounding the place

What’s Jakarta’s best kept secret?
Sunda Kelapa Harbor
Batik Shopping in Thamrin City

Tea, Coffee or Juice? And where?
To find the difference, Mandira’s Garden serve fresh Blue Tea, fresh Kale Smoothies and other fresh juices with no sugar added

Where do you go to relax in Jakarta?
My Garden & The Tree House

Finish these sentences:
Every visitor to Jakarta should eat … Rainbow Noodles at Mandira’s Garden

Every visitor to Jakarta should visit … Mandira’s Garden and enjoy the little escape from the busy routines they might have

Every visitor to Jakarta should experience … a cup of Blue Tea with a slice of Dark Chocolate Cake with a little garden & a tiny tree house view

What’s your favourite place to visit in Indonesia? Or place you would like to visit?
I love Belitung, it’s a beautiful place, and Sumba will be the next destination because in my opinion Sumba is a hidden gem.

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Inside Lisa’s Tree House looking out onto the lush productive garden.

 

Lisa’s Top Tips for starting your own urban vegetable or herb garden in Jakarta:

Where to start?
You should start with a passion that they already have, if we have passion it is easier for us to think and do it with heart without any burden and pressures, because when we love what we like to do, we will enjoy  the process.

How much space do I need?
In Kemang we don’t have a lot of space, but it’s not about how big a space you have, but more so, what do you like to grow in your garden that matters, because if there is a ‘will’ you will find a space to grow it.

Best veggies or herbs to try?
Mandira’s Garden only grow from high quality seeds. Visit their shop to see their selection.

What type of compost is best?
We use goat and chicken manure and leaf compost which we make ourselves. If you can buy straight from the farmer that’s best, but if you can’t road side nurseries sell good animal compost.

How to go organic?
Because we live in the city, it’s very hard to keep the plants looking nice and good looking, sometimes we cover them with a cage to protect the plants especially veggies from the insects, or we spray them with organic pesticides.

What Pests should we look out for?
Our the most enemy is the mouse.

What about vertical growing?
Vertical growing is a very good alternative for people who have no space for growing, at least with a vertical garden you can grow veggies & herbs.

After enjoying the garden why not return to the cafe for tea and cake!

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Butterfly-Pea Flower tea
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Avocado and chocolate cake made by Lisa’s sister
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On our visit we were treated to kolang kaling which was naturally coloured and accompanied by a little sweet syryp.

How to follow Lisa and Mandira’s Garden on social media?
Instagram :
mandirasgarden
Whatsapp :
+62 818-0203-7555

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Liz, Lisa and Jo after an exciting afternoon at Mandira’s Garden. Thanks Lisa for sharing it all with us!

 

 

How about you? Do you like to garden? Have you grown herbs, vegetables or fruit trees in Jakarta?
We would love to know! Leave us a message in the comments!

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

If you enjoyed today’s post we think you will also like:

10 Top Spots to Stop on Jalan Kemang Timur
Growing your own produce in Jakarta
7 house plants you cannot kill in Jakarta

Let’s stay in touch : Instagram

Words : Liz McClean Photography : a journey bespoke

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