This restaurant is now closed

There's a place just behind the Burlington Centre that people just don't seem to know about, or maybe they just never get there. This bright and empty-every-time-I-walk-past-it restaurant has had me curious for a couple of years now so, after having my hair snipped around the corner from it recently, I decided to take the plunge.

The menu is interesting enough with such things as ketoprak Jakarta (Jakarta-style steamed salad with vermicelli, peanut sauce & prawn crackers), ayam bakar (grilled chicken with chilli, rice and kecap manis) and rawon buntat (tangy black oxtail soup with rice). Great sounding stuff and the prices don't go over $9.50.

The service procedure is quite simple. You take a seat and check the menu for your desirables, walk up to the counter, order and pay and take a seat. When your things are ready the name of the dish will be yelled out across the restaurant for you to get back up and collect it. So much walking around!

"you want cheap ... you walk!"

Some of the drinks on the menu sounded nice-slash-interesting so I go for the soda gembira (happy soda 3). There was no description or photo so I really had no idea what I was in for. Can't be too bad, right? When I picked it up it looked harmless enough, just ... pink. How cute, a guy pushing 40 sipping on a big glass of fizzy sweet pink drink that tastes like a room deodorizer or toilet cleaner. No offense to fans of this concoction of rose syrup, condensed milk and carbonated something-or-other, but it was just a bit abstract for my tastebuds.

Food-wise, I ordered the lontong cap go me (8.5) - Indonesian chicken curry with lontong, tofu and eggs. Talk about delicious. It's chocker-full of lontong and tofu and a steroid-injected chicken drumstick and the soup is hot, mildly spicy and heart warming. Wow. I'm happy. I really wasn't expecting this.

As I'm tucking into my heavenly bowl of deliciousness I'm interrupted by that girl blurting out foreign words:

"pempek palembang! pempek palembang!

For someone that doesn't understand Indonesian, she could have been yelling "fire, get out! fire, get out!" Until I remember it was my dish she was announcing. I briefly forgot I ordered more food. Pempek palembang (7.5) - traditional Indonesian fish cake. Another good choice from the menu. Bobbing about in a sweet and savoury dark broth is a large fish cake cut in four. This is a fish cake like no other. An egg, wrapped in ground fish, dipped in a soft batter and deep fried. With the scattering of cucumber in the broth, it was very good. Infact, all but the pink drink was worthy of coming back for, though I reckon I'll be trying something different next time.

Cafe Joy
QG 17-18/8 Quay Street
Prince Centre
Haymarket
9212 1991
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