Tucked away from the peering eyes on Broadway is a little family joint dishing up humble Indonesian food to it’s devoted uni students and apartment-dwelling urbanites. From the laneway it looks like nothing more than a takeaway but if you enter the door and take yourself up the stairs to the mezzanine level, you’ll find a besser brick bunker-like dining room decked out in different shades of grey. As lively as this place may get with its locals slurping on delicious bowls of bakmi or crunching on ayam goreng, you can’t help but get the sense of what the decor may be like in a correctional facility. The only colour in this place comes from the food, tissue boxes and bottles of sambal oelek so as oppressive as the surroundings may be, there’s definitely nothing grey about the food.
A quick lunch has us ordering a few small bites such as fiery ayam goreng penyet (8), your choice of breast or thigh, fried to perfect crispness and lathered with a vibrant and lip-numbing Javanese chilli sauce. At first glimpse it looks like it’ll knock your head off but the immediate slap of chilli mellows down to a slightly bitter sweetness, allowing the fried goodness of the chicken meat to come out and say hello.
As the resident Indonesian nanna hobbles up and down the stairs delivering food to the hungry mouths her son sends frantic echoes of his wok-tossing from the open kitchen downstairs, making you wonder whether your meal is coming out next. The only particular order the dishes are brought out is basically when they’re ready. Forget starters and mains, you’ll get it when you get it.
The sate babi (10) is nothing more than delicious pieces of grilled pork on bamboo skewers, slapped on a slick of sweet kecap manis. A little sliced cucumber, some lettuce and a wedge of lemon round things off in the presentation stakes. And yes, they’re very good.
The bakmi komplit babi panggang (11) may sound like a bit of a mouthful to those that don’t speak the tongue, but all we’re really talking about is cooked minced pork over egg noodles topped with a couple of crispy wontons and a bit of greenery. There’s a side of highly-seasoned broth and a couple of tender beef balls where you can choose to have it on its own or pour it over your noodles. Go for the latter, you’ll love it.