IO – Not far from the University of Indonesia, near the Kukusan toll exit, stands Warung Cuci Mulut, a popular place to hang out for youths and families. The location is on Jalan Haji M. Usman No. 114, Kukusan, Depok. Aqmal Budiman, the owner of Warung Cuci Mulut established the cafe in 2015 and it opened for business on May 2, 2016.
Aqmal named the cafe “Warung Cuci Mulut” so it is can be easily remembered by local people. He chose the location in Kukusan because it is near his domicile in Margonda, Depok. Luckily, he can use his relative’s land.
Warung Cuci Mulut is inspired by the cafes in Yogyakarta which are not always located on the main road. According to him, cafes on the main road run a greater risk due to expensive rental cost. “In Yogyakarta, cafes are located in the alley but made interesting,” Aqmal said.
Aqmal also considered the mood of Depok residents who like simple things and hate traffic jams. Initially, the cafe only opened as a 3.8meter square kiosk, located not far from the current cafe. At that time, the parking lot only had the capacity for 4 motorbikes, the cafe only had one employee and Aqmal had to look for a supplier and do the purchasing himself.
However, starting from a small place the cafe continues to grow. Finally, Aqmal built a bigger cafe on his relative’s land near his old place, with a bigger parking lot for both cars and motorbikes. Warung Cuci Mulut cafe moved to the new location in 2018.
Industrial and Unfinished.
The eyecatchy design makes the cafe stand out even from the outside. Concrete, unfinished bricks and scrap wood dominate the facade of the cafe, giving a glimpse of the industrial concept it bears. Aqmal chose the concept because it is affordable and is still a trend since 2018.
Warung Cuci Mulut consists of two floors. On the first floor, the area is divided into indoor and outdoor areas. The outdoor area on the storefront is also a green area with many plants and trees.
Entering the cafe, there is a stair leading to the indoor area on the second floor which was built from a black container. On the outdoor area on the second floor, there are a number of seats available among potted plants like Bougainvillea and the Ashoka tree. This area has become a favorite area to hang out, especially in the evening.
In line with the name “Warung Cuci Mulut” which means “dessert café” in Indonesian, the cafe has served desserts as its mainstay since it was first established. Since 2016, Warung Cuci Mulut offers a dessert menu such as Basic Grally, Basic Grally, and Friends, Matcha Grally, and Matcha Grally, and Friends. Aqmal named them similarly to make it easy to remember. Basic Grally consisted of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, grass jelly, red beans, and popping boba.
Matcha Grally has the same ingredients, only it uses matchaflavored ice cream as the base, while Basic Grally and Friends have more complete ingredients, namely popping boba, grass jelly, pearl, red bean, oreo, pocky, koala cereal served with chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Matcha Grally and Friends is Basic Grally and Friends served with matchaflavored ice cream.
For food, bestsellers are Spaghetti Bolognaise and Mixplatter Wannabe, consisting of chicken katsu and sausages. Snacks like French Fries and Indomie Kuah Susu Telur are also available. Indomie Kuah Susu is made from Ayam Bawang flavored Indomie seasoned with special spices ala Warung Cuci Mulut mixed with fresh milk to complete the taste.
“The idea came when I was talking with a restaurant owner who serves Soto Kuah Susu at their place. I experimented with instant noodles, and fresh milk. I think it is very distinctive and tasteful. Here, we are careful with the ratio and measurement to maintain the taste and quality of the dishes,” explained the man who graduated from Trisakti University with a Master of Management.
After the cafe moved to a better location, Aqmal added a new variety of menus. Due to the wider area and more menus to offer, now Warung Cuci Mulut has 14 employees, including a manager and social media admin. Visitors are not only students but also families with kids.
Besides the original menus, Warung Cuci Mulut now offers Beef Rice Bowl, Chicken Rice Bowl, Ayam Ricarica, and Nasi Kulit Telur Dadar. There are also pasta menu such as Spaghetti Aglio Olio, and Spaghetti Carbonara. Other snacks include Edge Bread Pizza, Cream Soup, Pisang Goreng Kampung, Pisang Bakar, Pisang Goreng Sambal Roa, Cireng, and Roti Bakar Pisang, Cokelat dan Keju.
For drinks, the favorite is Coffee Jelly, a coffee blend with caramel flavored jelly topping combined with vanilla ice cream. Warung Cuci Mulut also has their signatures Kopi Soeci, which is made from coffee, milk, palm sugar, and creamer.
Warung Cuci Mulut serves Kintamani, Ijen, and Temanggung coffee which have a light taste. Also, Mandailing is stronger and more bitter. Depok residents’ favorite is Kopi Liong. These coffees can be ordered to be processed with a french press, V60, Vietnam drip, or pourover.
Other favorite menus are Brown Sugar Boba, and other coffeebased drinks such as Caramel Latte, Hazelnut Latte, Vanilla Latte, and Affogato. Affogato is vanilla ice cream covered with espresso and cream.
It also offers various teas menus such as Ice Tea Lychee, Es Teh Tarik, and Thai Tea, and for milk tea variants it has matcha milk tea, taro milk
tea, chocolate milk tea, vanilla milk tea, hazelnut milk tea, tiramisu milk tea, cappuccino milk tea, and strawberry milk tea. Warung Cuci Mulut also has a variety of milkshakes including green tea/matcha, taro, chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, tiramisu, cappuccino and strawberry shape.
Before the pandemic, the cafe had around 30 full tables on the weekend. However, since the pandemic struck, Aqmal limited the capacity to 50%. During the LargeScale Social Restrictions (PSBB), Warung Cuci Mulut only served takeaway or online orders, both from GrabFood and GoFood.
According to him, although the takeaway and online sales tripled, the turnover was still below the dineinsales. “When the pandemic started, we had a 30% discount for every payment,” explained the man who also owns a futsal rental business.
Next year, Aqmal plans to revamp the cafe, both in design and menus, to make it more enticing. According to him, since the beginning, the cafe’s appearance has not changed at all and needs refreshment, among new ideas is to provide a special meeting place or coworking space, and issue 1liter drinks menus. He also plans to open a branch in Yogyakarta.
Warung Cuci Mulut is open every day from 08.00 to 21.00 WIB. From 08.00 20.00 WIB receiving dinein, while for takeaway or online from 08.00 to 21.00 WIB. (Kartika Indah)