Depot Nikmat is a very - I repeat: VERY – "East Javanese" kinda eating spot. Opened in 1982, and now run by Pak Sukadi, son of the founder Bu Hj Kurnien, this place seems to be on the lips of everyone here in Singosari whenever I mentioned about wanting to try some authentic local East Javanese fare (“masakan Jawa Timur”).
I finally got round to it for lunch today, arriving at noon with heightened expectations. I was quite deflated to realize upon arrival that, true to its Javanese roots, Depot Nikmat served its dishes (which had been cooked since early morning) basically stone-cold. And that included the soup!! It is, as the Javanese called it, a “prasmanan” eatery, i.e. one where all the dishes are pre-cooked then laid out on a display counter, and the customer just point at the dish(es) which one desires for it to be dished out (much like a “turo-turo” or “point point” eatery in the Philippines).
Anyway, I selected:
• “Otak goreng” , which I thought was like some kind of batter-coated local fish cake (Malaysia: “otak –otak”; Singapore: “otah”), but actually turned out to be a tempura-fried ox-brain! (Indonesian word for brain is “otak”). It probably would have been edible if it was crisp-fried and served hot. But this was one cold, soggy piece of oily batter-covered brain.
• “Sate Komo”, which was a fat, generous skewer of Javanese-style beef sate (twice the size of a Singaporean, Malaysian or Thai satay), slathered with peanut sauce. It was delicious, but my main complaint again was that it was served cold.
• “Botok Tahu Tempe”, a banana-leaf wrapped package which one peel open to reveal a coconut-flavored mish-mash of tofu, tempe, chillis, herbs and tiny shrimps. Would probably have been delicious when served freshly-steamed and piping hot;
• “Sop asem” – Indonesian sourish vegetarian (cucumber, string beans, tomato) soup. This was my favorite soup in the whole wide world – but not when it’s served, ewww, cold.
Okay, I’d experienced vastly popular Depot Nikmat – not really understanding the locals’ tolerance of cold food, try as I might. It’s a cultural thing, I guess.
Jalan Raya Mondoroko
No. 9, depan SMKN Singosari
Singosari, East Java
Opened daily for breakfast/lunch, except Fridays.