IndoChine – An Insider’s Look…

Jakarta Post – 26.04.09

It is finally time for Jakarta to step up and join the ranks of internationally acclaimed cities like Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

From Harvey Nichols, to Chanel, international chains have their eyes on Jakarta. Last but not least is Michael Ma’s famous and well-known multi concept creation: “IndoChine” which opened in Jakarta on the weekend.

Here is what Indochine’s creator, Michael Ma, has to say about his new baby.

What initially inspired you to create IndoChine?

The IndoChine Group was first founded in Singapore in 1999, at the height of the Asian economic crisis. IndoChine was started on the basis that there was a clear demand in the market for authentic Indochinese cuisine – foods such as Green Papaya Salad and Pomelo Salad which originate from my hometown, Laos but also from Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam. We wanted to introduce these foods that are tasty and “nutriceutical” – nutritious and full of pharmaceutical benefits – to Singapore. We do not use any preservatives in the cooking of our food and only use the freshest and most natural ingredients, many of which are native to Indochina, including lemongrass.

(Courtesy of IndoChine)
(Courtesy of IndoChine)

At the same time, we wanted to share this Asian culture with a rapidly booming Western society. We wanted to marry the traditional aspects of Asia with modern life as we know it to be and develop a unique and distinctive experience for all of our guests that are multi-dimensional and always interesting. IndoChine is, at the end of the day, all about a lifestyle – we are not simply a restaurant, or just another club. We are about the wine and dine; fashion; arts and culture; entertainment; sports and even the environment.

When guests visit IndoChine, they can be certain that they will be wowed and suitably impressed from the time they step in through the doors, right down to the very minute when they leave our premises. Even then, they will continue to talk about IndoChine and the memorable experiences they have had. Since 1999, we have expanded steadily and now have more than 15 venues in Singapore alone. We have also established ourselves across Asia and even Europe, including Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; New Delhi, India and Hamburg and Germany.

Why did you choose FX as IndoChine’s location in Jakarta? Are you aiming to attract a younger crowd?

MM: The IndoChine Group, with its distinctive and unique approach to a contemporary Asian lifestyle, caters to a discerning market who appreciate the finer things in life and know that a good night out does not simply end when their food is eaten and the water has been drunk. Guests can always expect more than they bargained for at IndoChine and it will be no different at IndoChine Jakarta, especially with the brand new concepts that we are introducing into Jakarta for the very first time ever.

The locations that we choose are always and have always been very unique. When we first opened on Club Street, for example, many questioned our choice but we loved the venue and how eclectic the area was. It reminded me of Paddington or Oxford Street in Sydney, Australia. There were hardly any notable tenants on Club Street when we first opened in 1999 but we certainly drew in the crowds and made Club Street hip.

FX is in the heart of Jakarta Central Business District and is the newest and trendiest lifestyle centre to date. We were also offered a wonderful space by FX – the entire 8th floor which spans more than 30,000 square feet. With the luxury of space, we allowed our imagination to run wild and arrived at the various concepts that you see now, including IndoChine Restaurant + SupperClub, Bar Opiume, Siem Reap and IndoChine Beach Club.

FX is an exceptional location as there is no other spot in Jakarta that provides one with such a great, panoramic view of the city’s skyline, which is really the perfect complement to IndoChine’s Beach Club. We are also up high on the eighth floor and are therefore well placed away from the city’s pandemonium and the pollution from the traffic. At the same time, it is easily accessible and this for us is extremely important.

Why has it taken so long to open IndoChine in Jakarta?

We recognize the potential that Jakarta possesses and when presented with the opportunity to open, it was simply too good a chance to pass up. As mentioned earlier, it is all about the location for IndoChine and it was important that we secured the best possible location for our venue, as opposed to simply expanding for the sake of expansion.

Also, it is crucial that when we enter a new market, we are working together with business partners whom we can trust and who understand the intricacies of that particular country. When we first met and started speaking to Sari Dew, Boyke Nurtanio and Bokye Gozali, we knew that we would hit it off working together as we all possess the same drive and are of one mind to ensure that IndoChine Jakarta is successful and relevant to our guests.

We also see that there is a demand in Indonesia for great, authentic and “nutriceutical” Indochinese cuisine – that is food from the shores of Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. With all of the aforementioned factors, there could be no better time than now to be a part of Jakarta and to also contribute its growth and development.

What make IndoChine Jakarta special?

Some of the concepts that we have introduced into Jakarta are concepts that we first launched in Singapore. This includes Siem Reap, Bar Opiume and the IndoChine Restaurant.

In this part of Asia, however, IndoChine Jakarta is the first to feature an IndoChine Beach Club. When we were first introduced to FX, we knew that it would be the ideal location for the IndoChine Beach Club as guests can enjoy a fantastic and unobstructed panoramic view of Jakarta’s Central Business District. Amidst much greenery and foliage, guests can enjoy signature IndoChine bistro bites in privacy, while still being a part of the city’s hustle and bustle.

In Europe, the IndoChine Beach Club was first introduced into Hamburg’s IndoChine.

With so many outlets around the globe, how do you keep up the consistency high standards?

We do our best to adapt IndoChine’s concepts according to individual concepts in their respective markets. We certainly do our best to retain the essence of each concept – whether Modern Chinese or Indochinese; bistro or bar – so that the respective markets will be able to appreciate them in their entirety.

However, we do the necessary research into each market before we begin operations, in order to ensure that our target market is properly looked after and that we are able to cater to market demands fully.

Our menus are not completely different in each location but it is important to understand the intricacies and sensitivities of the different markets. If there are any cultural and religious sensitivities pertaining to certain types of food or ingredients, we will do our best to adapt it for that country, as we want to respect our guests’ and their beliefs.

The evolution of IndoChine in Jakarta has just begun and is too early to judge. But, boys and girls, a new high-end playground has arrived in town.

Article courtesy of Jakarta Post.


IndoChine Resort & Villas Media Release March 2009

International Restaurant And Entertainment Company, IndoChine Group Acquire Ownership Of IndoChine Villa Santi Property at Patong, Phuket.

10 March, 2009. Phuket, Thailand.

IndoChine Group, the Singapore based multi-national restaurant and entertainment company, has made its first venture into Thailand by assuming management and majority ownership of the IndoChine Villa Santi property on Kalim Road, Patong, Phuket.

The Thailand property is also IndoChine’s first move into the hotel and hospitality sector. It is primarily famous for its restaurants and entertainment events.

The Phuket property includes a 35 room boutique hotel and a four storey restaurant and entertainment complex as well as villas, condominiums, residences and small pavilions.

It is now known as  IndoChine Resort and Villas.

Including the Thailand property IndoChine owns and runs 26 restaurant and event properties in Singapore, Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; New Delhi, India and Hamburg, Germany.

The group has been a leading light in the Singapore restaurant and entertainment industry since 1999. Its opening in Phuket later this year will represent the arrival of one of Asia’s most successful restaurant companies.

IndoChine Resort and Villa executive director, Sue Ma said the IndoChine Group was strongly committed toward finishing the Phuket project and introducing Thai and overseas customers to the IndoChine “experience.”

“ The Phuket property is our first hotel venture. Coupled with IndoChine Waterfront, our four storied restaurant, bar and entertainment complex we believe we can bring a taste of the unique IndoChine experience which has been very successful around the world,” Ms Ma said.

IndoChine Resort and Villas comprises 88 accommodation units comprising:

24 Ocean Studios; 11 Gaya studios; 8 Sky Pavilions, 19 Ocean Suites, 20 Ocean Spa Villas and 6 Residences. Also on site are a 35 room boutique hotel; a luxury spa with five suites each in its own private garden and the distinctive round shaped IndoChine Waterfront restaurant, bar and entertainment complex, which will offer IndoChine’s traditional signature dishes based on Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian cuisine as well as an up market Western style deli/bakery.

Since assuming management of the property, IndoChine Group have restructured the business plan, appointed an experienced property and food and beverage managing director, revamped its staffing and resumed full time construction on the property.

Bart Duykers, the original developer of Villa Santi, remains a minority shareholder and director of the new company. Mr Duykers is also developing his own 11 villa site nearby called Djinnah Santi.

“ I am very pleased to have IndoChine Group as a partner in the development. They are a strong brand throughout Asia and will bring to IndoChine Resort & Villas an exciting entrepreneurial approach to property management coupled with lifestyle and entertainment that will be an added dimension to the Phuket property scene,” Mr Duykers said.

IndoChine Resort and Villas general manager, Tom Vicario, commented: “ This new business plan and management structure have enabled us to make considerable progress in 2008 and to enter 2009 optimistic we can complete the project in a timely fashion. The Phuket property is firmly established in IndoChine Group’s expansion strategy.”

Mr Vicario has extensive experience in managing large property developments and start up companies in the United States, the Caribbean, Britain and Thailand.

About IndoChine Resort and Villas
Located 2km north of Patong town on beautiful Kalim Beach, the property has 88 residential units, a 35 room hotel, the IndoChine Waterfront restaurant and bars complex and five private spa suites. It is IndoChine Group’s first venture in Thailand.

About IndoChine Group
Apart from 15 venues in Singapore, the group has establishments in Jakata, Indonesia; Hamburg, German; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and New Delhi, India. As the name implies IndoChine’s cuisine and entertainment events are influenced by the cultures of Indo-China, notably Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The group is famous for its entertainment events which have hosted such notables as David And Victoria Beckham, Mariah Carey, INXS, Prince Albert of Monaco and Sting. It is owned by the Ma family.

Tom Vicario:
Phone: 086 1034 497

Sue Ma:
Phone: 089 4499 135.

Phuket Gazette Story, March, 2009

IndoChine Restaurant and Entertainment Group Acquire Villa Santi

One of Asia’s best known restaurant/entertainment/lifestyle brands, IndoChine Group of Singapore, has acquired a majority stake in the Villa Santi 64 property/restaurant/hotel development at Kalim Beach overlooking Santi Bay near Patong.

It is IndoChine Group’s first investment in Thailand. The company owns and runs 26 restaurant and lifestyle/entertainment establishments in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; New Delhi, India; Jakarta, Indonesia and Hamburg, Germany.

IndoChine is renowned for its cuisine, based on the many native foods found in Indo-China, such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It is also a strong lifestyle/entertainment brand, promoting a wide diversity of events such as outdoor concerts, contemporary art exhibitions, wine tastings, yachting and golf events and many, many concerts and party style festivals.

The former Villa Santi villa, condominium, residence, restaurant and boutique hotel development has changed its name to IndoChine Resort & Villas.

IndoChine Group has spent the last year working with the original developer of Villa Santi, Bart Duykers, maintaining and upgrading established villas, organizing finance, restarting work on the condominiums and residences, hotel and restaurant and installing new contractors and management team.

IndoChine anticipate the property development will be completed by the end of 2009, with its first restaurants opening expected to open in the second quarter of this year. All 20 Spa Villas have been completed and are occupied for ownership and rental.

Villa Santi was the subject of some public attention in 2006 when work temporarily stopped on the site after it was caught up in a local controversy about developments on Phuket. The site, which is highly visible because of its location close to Patong, resumed construction and has been under further development in various stages ever since.

IndoChine Resort and Villas executive director, Sue Ma, a member of the Ma family that owns IndoChine Group, said her company’s investment in Thailand had strong growth possibilities, and it is the first of many more resort to come . Ms Ma is a Thai national with many year’s experience building and running properties in Australia and Laos.

“ We decided this was an ideal opportunity to bring the strong IndoChine brand to Thailand. The view over Patong Bay is spectacular and the property has a wide variety of accommodation, including the hotel. We intend creating an environment for property owners, hotel guests and restaurant and bar entertainment patrons that offers a sophisticated holistic experience on the one site which is in keeping with our company philosophy,” Ms Ma said.

Ms Ma’s brother, Michael, CEO of the group, known in Singapore as “The Dude” for his leadership in the city state’s entertainment scene, is renowned for bringing celebrities to entertain at IndoChine establishments.

Ms Ma said IndoChine Resort and Villas comprised a large number of different sized and shaped buildings on one site, making it slightly different from most developments which followed a similar architectural style.

“ But when you enter the buildings and look back at the view; or walk around the grounds, you get a very different perspective. The view is out of this world and as the landscaping is rolled out and the foliage starts to grow the area around the buildings, such as the Spa Villas, for example, takes on a much more intimate atmosphere.”

Bart Duykers, the original developer of Villa Santi, remains a minority shareholder and director of the new company. Mr Duykers is also developing his own 11 villa site nearby called Djinnah Santi.

“ I am very pleased to have IndoChine Group as a partner in the development. They are a strong brand throughout Asia and will bring to IndoChine Resort & Villas an exciting entrepreneurial approach to property management coupled with lifestyle and entertainment that will be an added dimension to the Phuket property scene,” Mr Duykers said.

IndoChine Group has also appointed American Tom Vicario general manager to oversee final development of the site, expected to be completed by end 2009. Mr Vicario is a highly experienced food and beverage and property manager with experience in the Caribbean, the United States, the United Kingdom and Thailand.

“ I see great potential for IndoChine Resort & Villas to become a centerpiece for entertainment on Phuket as well offering a vast range of accommodation and spa facilities for residents and hotel guests alike. Even as a property owner or rental guest you need not leave this property to relax, eat and drink or be entertained,” Mr Vicario said.

There will be a phased opening of various aspects of the site, including a uniquely designed four storey restaurant/bar/entertainment building situated right beside Prebaramee Road. This comprises a fourth floor, roof top bar, an IndoChine restaurant on the third floor, a bar and entertainment area on the second floor and a western food style bakery, delicatessen and restaurant on the ground floor, also serving up-market food to take away.

The IndoChine restaurant will serve the company’s well-known Indo China based cuisine and a food stylist will develop a menu for the western style restaurant, yet to be named.

The site has completed 20 spa villas that have been occupied on an ownership/rental basis for some time. The restaurant/bar complex is expected to open in the second quarter of 2009 and the hotel end 2009.

Overseeing all construction on the site is German project director Wolfram  Sonntag, experienced engineer and construction manager with experience in Germany, Eastern Europe and Phuket.

“ This is a challenging project because of the large site and the various types of accommodation on it, but we have made excellent progress in recent months finishing off existing buildings and now enclosing the major buildings such as the restaurant, condos and hotel,” Mr Sonntag said.

IndoChine Resort and Villas comprises 88 properties divided into 20 Ocean Spa Villas, already opened, 19 Ocean Suites, six residences, 11 Gaya Studios, 8 Sky Pavilions and 24 Ocean Studios. The Spa Villas are already occupied with the other properties, except the Sky Pavilions, under active construction. The Sky pavilions will complete the complex.

The spa villas are two or three bedroom configuration of 240-350 square meter, courtyard settings with individual infinity-edge swimming pools, 100 square meter outdoor sundecks with spectacular sea views and an internal garden with sea views on 30 year leasehold renewable twice at 30 year intervals.

The apartment suites have two, three or four bedroom configuration, 178-435 square meters, a high degree of privacy, infinity plunge pools, high ceiling design on 30-year leasehold, renewable twice at 30-year intervals, or freehold.

The residences are of five-bedroom configuration with two master bedrooms and two guest rooms, separate dining and kitchen, terrace, main and laundry room, pool deck with 36-metre infinity –edge pool, and private garage. The Gaya studios are one bedroom with a study, living and kitchenette and pantry, outdoor timber deck with Jacuzzi and cover 89 square meters over space and variable outdoor areas. The Sky pavilions will have commanding views of Santi Bay from high on the hill. They have one bedroom with living room and large bar, outdoor timber deck with Jacuzzi plunge pool, a large bathroom with sunken bath and separate shower.

Resort facilities include the restaurant, bar, bakery, delicatessen, entertainment complex, a spa with five treatment rooms and their own private gardens, a fitness centre and 25-metre swimming pool and pool bar, squash and tennis courts, covered car park and day care for children with a children’s pool.