This was another instance where my eyes were bigger than the stomach. Everything on the menu looked great and I ordered almost everything. Stop me!
Kafe Betawi is a chain restaurant catering to the middle class Indonesia and can be found in most shopping malls. My colleague recommended this place near our hotel in the upmarket mall Plaza Senayan, and the three of us went to have a nice Indonesia meal. We were absolutely satisfied with what we ordered.
Gado Gado | Indonesian style salad with peanut sauce
We started with an Indonesia salad/appetiser. Gado Gado is all about the peanut sauce so if you have a nut allergy, pretty much everything here is not suitable. The sauce was sweet and peanuty, and the addition of the bitter emping was quite unique. It’s was like eating my favourite part of a satay meal, scooping up the peanut sauce with rough cut cucumbers.
Tahu Telur | Indonesian-style deep fried egg and tofu salad
Originated in Java, tahu telur is such a humble food but one that you will really enjoy. It’s meatless but if you are vegan, there’s eggs in it. However it will fill you up because it is packed with protein, and many would make this a meal on its own. Sauce used is similar to gado gado, but it has an extra dozing of kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
Ayam Goreng Kuning | Deep fried chicken with turmeric
The next two items were single serves of meat. First up, the ayam goreng kuning which is deep fried chicken marinated with turmeric and lemongrass. Tasty but I didn’t like the cut of chicken. I am a dark meat person. The sambal ulek that came with the chicken was such a kicker.
Beef Rendang | Slow cooked beef with coconut
And then, the quintessential beef rendang. This one dish defined the whole genre – slowed cooked beef in a variety of spices and coconut until dry and folk tender. I find it a bit too dry for my liking though, even if the taste was really fantastic.
Sop Buntut | Indonesian oxtail soup
I love sup buntut, the Indonesian version of the oxtail soup. It was a very generous portion but I ordered one for each! Thankfully nobody fought over my portion, and I finished it in quick time.
Nasi Goreng Pete | Fried rice with stinky beans
For me, this was the piece de resistance of the evening. Fried rice with stinky beans, the fried rice was spiced with lots of fried shallots, and the pete or petai (stinky beans) provided the additional dimension of taste and crunch. Absolutely delicious.
Sate Kambing Kecap | Lamb satay with sweet sauce
Indonesia sates are different from the Malay/Peranakan satays we get here. Firstly, they use a bigger cut of meats. And then, they don’t marinade the meat to death. So what you get is a nice stick of flavourful meat with the Millard effect but not too much marinade that it killed the original taste of the lamb. And with lamb, they serve it with a sweet and savoury soy sauce instead of peanut sauce.
Service was normal, and the decor OK; however we were here for the food. We had such a huge food coma after the meal that I could not think properly and bought myself a USD 500 batik shirt afterwards. That’s how happy and satisfied I was.
Jl. Asia Afrika No.19, RT.1/RW.3, Gelora, Kecamatan Tanah Abang, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10270, Indonesia
Tel : +62 811-1907-5081
Visited in Sep 2022