rather impressive indonesian food, and surprisingly cheap for being in this part of close-to-town. I’m no purist, if you haven’t figured, nor a connoisseur of indonesian food – so I treat it much the way I do thai: I like it spicy and tasty.
it’s a beautiful restaurant, not big by any means, but decorated rather elegantly with ethnic looking furnishings in a modern layout. service is prompt if a little taciturn – and they just wouldn’t recommend any dishes on the basis of personal preference (which isn’t untrue, but suggestion is always appreciated).
the food comes flying out the kitchen, which is both a boon and a doom – especially if you do as we did and ordered far too much. best to stagger your ordering, so that you always get to eat the food hot – though it don’t much matter if you don’t, for indonesian food does pretty darn well cold too.
we started with fried keropok, the traditional sort that’s colored all red-green-yellow on the circumference, before the rest of the mains arrived.
rawon komplit was a dark stew of beef served alongside salted eggs – the salt of which really played off the sweetish-savouriness of the dish. there could have been a little more meat in there though, and what was included was rather sinewy – it reminded me that eating beef in less developed beef is often a chewy and stringy affair.
the ayam panggang padang though, was generously large, tender, and very moist. barbecued very well (that sauce was caramelized all over), it was slightly spicy and sweet, and tore off easily – very delicious, and possibly my favorite dish.
then the nasi timbel arrived, looking even more delicious than it had on the menu. I think you could get by very well just ordering this for your meal, a roll of banana-wrapped rice topped with a fried chicken breast, fried firm beancurd and tempeh, and delicious chilli. tasty components, but the chicken was dry and stringy, which threw the dish off – woulda been perfect with the barbecued chicken thigh.
spicy cumi bakar jimbaran had more of that slightly sweet-spicy profile that seems to thread through the entire meal (both the chicken and various chilli pastes have it), and was cooked well till tender, not at all rubbery and well permeated with the sauce.
our last main dish was the coconutty kacang panjang balado of long beans stir-fried with beansprouts and carrot slivers. in most cuisines, vegetables provide a bit of freshness and crisp; but with indonesian (as with indian and some others), they are often cooked till rather soft and as strongly flavored as meat dishes, which was the case here. savory and fragrant with coconut, just past the point of al dente, and quite tasty (but not a health food at all, I’d imagine).
we finished with es teler, which is a sort of iced fruit cocktail. unlike the canned fruit
monstrosity dessert you might think of, this was rather some coconut-milk-saturated crushed ice topped with slivers of coconut and jackfruit, and a generous serving of avocado. it’s a seemingly simple dessert that rather catches you with the less sweet notes of the avocado – and strikes a balance between the rich avocado and the other lighter components.
it’s a good meal, all in all – I have very little complaint and quite a lot of want to go back. prices were very reasonable when we got the bill; we definitely ordered more than three people could want, but it tallied to not-even-thirty per person, which is both delightful considering the location it’s in (right opposite great world city in the expat-conclave of zion road), and especially when the food is this good. well worth coming – and perhaps you could tell me if it meets any authentic standards (which would be a plus, though possibly might mean even less for you than it already does me).
54 Zion Rd
tel +65 6445 1766
$$: 20-30 per person