Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta will present a selection of authentic Indonesian cuisines from five different regions of the country over a five-week period at its celebrated Signatures Restaurant from 5 August to 8 September. The promotion coincides with the 70th anniversary of independence for Indonesia, as well as the hotel’s 53rd birthday.
This Indonesian food promotion will showcase authentic dishes created with the expertise of the hotel’s chefs, both in-house and brought in for this special celebration. The chefs will guide diners on a culinary journey through the cuisines of forest, land and sea in an epic feast.
On 15 August I had the opportunity to taste the typical food of the island of Java, which has been prepared by Chef Budiana Ramelan, Executive Sous Chef from Hotel Indonesia Kempinski.
Javanese cuisines more indigenously and known for its simplicity. It less spicy and tends to have sweeter taste due to the addition of palm sugar or kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) to most dishes. Gula Jawa (palm sugar), kecap manis, peanut sauce, and coconut milk is a key ingredients in Javanese cuisine. Palm sugar, coconut (both coconut milk, and grated coconut), rice flour, and glutinous rice flour is often used to make Kue (Indonesian sweets).
I have a vague relationship with buffet meal. It is difficult to pinpoint what I want to eat when I know the choices are never-ending. There are various kinds of sushi and sashimi from Japanese section. Appetizer counter filled to the brim with fresh tropical fruits like passion fruits, banana, snakefruit, sliced of red and yellow watermelon. Various kind of vegetables and dressing from salad bar, there is also some Javanese style appetizer like Selat Solo, Kupat Tahu Magelang, and Urap Sayur.
I hovered back and forth from one counter to another counter, trying to get good photo and at the same time wondering what I should eat first. After wandering around for a while, finally I get lost in between a piled high of colourful macaroons and jajan pasar. A small red kue ku (red tortoise cake) caught my attention. I decided to take some Indonesian delicacies first.
While I’m taking some Kue Ku, my eyes already distracted by the next thing I want to devour. I saw a middle aged man wearing batik and black peci making serabi. He poured a spoonful rice flour batter onto a thick clay pan, and then places a clay lid over the pan. When he opened the lid delicious smells filed the air, hot pipping serabi then transferred to a plate lined with fresh banana leaves. Thin crispy edge and soft in the centre, no need cutlery to eat it, just fold it in half and enjoy every bite. It so simple, not overly sweet with a hint of coconut…oh-so-tasty, and goes perfectly well with natural sweetness from banana and jackfruit.
Once I finished the last bite of serabi I know that self-control already flew out the window. I’m craving for more food and I couldn’t help myself to reaching out for another foods. Bakso is omnipresent dishes and it considered as Indonesia’s national dish.
A choices of egg noodles and rice vermicelli-or you can go for both, medium size of meatballs, fried tofu, a pile of crunchy bean sprouts. A hot beef broth, sprinkle some parsley and green onion, drizzle of sambal, then stir and enjoy. Another bite of meatballs, another sip of spicy beef broth, then soothed my throbbing throat with ice cold water, and wished that I have es teh manis.
After a bowl of meatball I move to another dish. This time I share a plate of Selat Solo with Mba Eliza. This dish look so simple, consist of blanched vegetables like green beans, carrot, boiled or fried vegetables, lettuce, hard-boiled egg, and a small beef sliced, with a sweet-savory sauce.
Selat Solo is Western derived food from Solo, Central Java. The word of selat itself derived from “salad”, unlike western salad this Javanese salad traditionally eaten as a main course and not as an appetizer. Selat Solo usually served with a chunk of braised beef in a thin watery sauce, but this time served as appetizer with finely sliced beef.
Indonesian food festive is not complete without rice. Another team-up with mba Eliza this time we opted for nasi uduk (steamed coconut rice) for carb, orek tempe (stir fried tempe with kecap manis), bistik lidah (stewed tongue), keripik paru (a thinly sliced of beef lungs with thin batter before deep fried until crispy), gulai nangka (young unripe jackfruit stew).
To accompanied our Javanese plate, I opted for Tengkleng Solo. A bowl of mutton ribs soup with rich broth, the addition of chopped tomatoes give a laced of sourness. Just like other Indonesian soupy dishes it taste better if you add some chopped green onion, fried shallots, and sambal.
I started my meal with sweets and end up with another sweets, this time I go for Western dessert. 1 bowl of ice cream for sharing…mango and raspberry sorbet, coffee and matcha ice cream. We also take some mini cakes, and mousse.
If you want to taste Javanese menu and all other Indonesian dish, enjoy the tasty menu for only Rp.265,000++/pax for weekday lunch, and Rp.360,000++/pax for weekend brunch, and all week dinner Rp.285,000++/pax. They have promotion discount if you BCA Credit Card.
Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Lobby Level
Jl. M.H. Thamrin no 1, Jakarta Pusat