Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 31 December 2014 • Destination
Where do you go for meals in Jakarta? Are you sure you want to stick to sandwich places and not risk a bit of Bali belly for something local and authentic? Something Indonesian. A few days ago we were invited to this Kafe Batik in Jakarta, had a few dishes, and we think their diverse Javanese menu deserves at least a try while you’re in town. Just beware of the gorgeous batik clothes temptation surrounding the café.
Two dishes were served in front of us. Both looked mouthwatering, especially the Sop Buntut Goreng Balado because I am a fan of Sop Buntut dishes. Sop Buntut Balado is fried oxtail covered in chili, with a bowl of carrot, potato and tomato slices in spiced clear soup. One way to eat it is by cutting out the meat from the bone with a knife, put it on a spoon with rice, and then dip the filled spoon to the soup bowl, and munch munch munch. It tastes savory and spicy. Another way to eat it is to grab the bone and gnarl away on the meat, bringing back the Flinstone back in you.
If you don’t like spicy food (I mean the chili kind of spicy), you can request to take the spiciness down a notch, or order the regular Sop Buntut. Other than the spices, the difference between these menus is that in regular Sop Buntut the oxtail is boiled, not fried.
The other dish was Rawon Madiun. Rawon is basically a beef black soup with sprouts, salted egg, and green onion. The soup’s blackness is from the use of keluak or some kind of black nuts. Madiun is a town in East Java, a province where this food is originated. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of keluak, but I can enjoy the rawon in Kafe Batik because they don’t make it too strong.
If you look at the menu, you’ll find a long list of other popular Javanese dishes, like the Mie Goreng Jawa (Javanese Fried Noodles), Nasi Gudeg Jogja (unripe jackfruit mixed boiled with palm sugar and coconut milk with, a specialty from Yogyakarta), and Nasi Goreng Rempah (fried rice with lots of kind of spices). Interestingly, there are a few non-Javanese Indonesian food on the list, like the Ayam Gulai (chicken cooked in curry-like sauce) and Daging Rendang Shredded (rendang is beef cooked for hours in coconut milk and various spices), both originated from West Sumatra. There is also Spaghetti Rendang! Spaghetti (we all know where it’s from) served with rendang, and not with meatballs. That should be interesting. Next time I go there again I might have it a go.
Kafe Batik is located on the 2nd floor of Pasaraya Grande Blok M, a shopping mall that has existed for decades. The mall is known for its vast collection of Indonesian craft, batik to be the major items. Hence, the café is named Kafe Batik.
Batik paterns decorate the walls, tables and windows. Looking out the windows you can see the busy streets of Jakarta. Looking to the other side is the islands of batik clothing in the mall.
Kafe Batik is just one of the many restaurants and cafes you can find in Pasaraya Grande Blok M. A lot of them are lined up at Dapuraya, the food court in the basement, and some are scattered in the many floors of the mall, just like Kafe Batik.
We had a chance to hang out at Dapuraya and had a glimpse of what other bloggers ordered. They included Indonesian food such as Gado-Gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce), Sate Padang from the famous Mak Sukur stall (originally from West Sumatra), western food such as steak and pasta, and Japanese food like sushi. Dapuraya is designed to look like Indonesia’s usual traditional market, especially those in Java. Some stalls are equipped with kaki lima carts, some are regular modern restaurants.
So. If you’re in Jakarta and looking for a taste of Indonesia, Kafe Batik in Pasaraya Grande Blok M can definitely be your choice. The mall is located in South Jakarta, next to the famous Blok M bus terminal. Any taxi driver should know where it’s at. Or if you’re adventurous enough to take the bus, a lot of buses start and end their route at Terminal Blok M, from the Kopaja or Metro Mini buses to the big ones with air conditioner, as well as Transjakarta bus which now applies the carding system.
Ready for an Indonesian food adventure?
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