Perhaps it was, perhaps it wasn’t – coincidence that is. It was raining cats and dogs on Thursday afternoon and it was a public holiday.  It was Ascension of Jesus Christ in Indonesia so no school. After weeks of scorching heat, the skies were dark and the curtains of rain unfurled continuously for half an hour or so.

Rains always get me on a thinking mode; I just let the thoughts moonwalk in my mind. It was almost prophetic even, considering my horoscope from that Thursday:  “Your mind is simply in the clouds, and you would rather daydream than handle real life problems. Let your imagination take you on a much needed vacation!”

And so my mind sailed on puffy clouds. One thought harkened back to Greek mythology. Blame it on the Clash of the Titans remake and cinematic translation of -Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, the first of the five-book series. The gods and goddesses were probably warring particularly Zeus and Hera because the latter was at the end of her wits with Zeus’ philandering ways. I felt sorry for the women that Zeus fancied – think Io, Danae, Europa et al – and the punishments Hera set upon them to get back at Zeus. But no one dares to go against the god of the gods, not even his wife except maybe on the sly. It certainly makes one question the concept of faith vis-à-vis the universe’s unpredictability and, at times, vindictive interventions.

Next was the funeral I attended. I buried a love long dead in my mind. It left a hollow space inside my chest and the somber tone shrouded my day. The rain was of no help. That dark, cold Thursday afternoon left me frozen and in a daze.

But the other thought was more upbeat. Chicken burger glided into my mind. Bekasi is not known as a food paradise, but along Kalimalang road was a nice discovery I made. I’ve been passing it for quite some time now, but I never got down from the angkot to explore the place until one Wednesday night. Burger & Grill is not hard to find. It’s at the junction of the traffic light, which forms the bottle neck of traffic around 6ish in the evening.

Burger & Grill is a spacious two-storey building done up in light brown color and with ample parking space.  The restaurant is divided into three areas – an air-conditioned place at one corner and two al-fresco sections reserved for smokers and non-smokers. The area my friend and I chose to sit at looked like a lanai overlooking the beach, the tables under little umbrellas or awning. The tables had the battered-by-the-sea-wind look while the dark floor had sand-like drawing, possibly airbrushed, on them. For a moment there, I felt like I was transported to an outdoor café on Jimbaran Bay, Bali, the moon shining bright and the breeze crooning sweetly and softly.

Dinner was simple: a cup of hot chocolate and barbeque chicken burger with potato chips (mine); hot chili beef burger with potato chips and iced lemon tea (his). Dessert to share was crispy crunch chocolate pancake, which paled in comparison to the pancakes served in the Pancake House in the Philippines.

Burger & Grill is, obviously, far from fine dining. However, the meal was satisfactory. Dressing for the burgers had the right concentration of tanginess; potato chips weren’t salted; the hot chocolate was not instant mix and you can adjust the sweetness level yourself; and the iced lemon tea was perfectly balanced, neither too sour nor sweet.

A pseudo-beach setting and a plate of flavorful burgers make for a perfect ending to a hectic workday in Bekasi. And a memory of such a dining experience is enough to banish the gloomy grip of a rainy day.

Burger & Grill
Jl. Raya Kalimalang No. 8-9
Tel: (021) 86902794
Cost per person (meal and drink): Rupiah41, 000
Parking: Rupiah2,000

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