Melati is perhaps the classiest restaurant in the classiest hotel in Malang, a pleasant Dutch-colonial highland town 2 hours' drive south of Surabaya.
I tried the Tugu Rijsttafel which consisted of sweet tempe (soybean cake), fried grated coconut flavored with chilli, turmeric & sugar/salt, shredded spiced beef (serondeng), potato fritters, marinated dried curried beef, sweet-spicy free-range chicken, turmeric-tinged cucumber/carrot/onion pickles, sweet banana fritter, boiled longbeans with spicy sambal dip, a crispy paper-thin ground-nut cracker, and banana leaf-wrapped steamed white rice. The various flavors and textures, all packed into one plate (which was quite large, by the way) certainly provided a fascinating journey of discovery for my taste-buds.
If you think the above meal-on-a-plate was a mouthful, so to speak, there are other equally complicated combinations available from their long, elaborate menu which included Babah (Indonesian-Chinese), Dutch, Chinese and Indonesian options.
Another interesting option would be the Nasi Kuning Komplit platter, which consisted of yellow turmeric-tinged coconut-scented rice served wrapped in a banana leaf for added fragrance. The accompaniments included free-range chicken cooked in Javanese spices, shredded dried beef, flavored grated coconut shreds, hard-boiled egg, stir-fried spicy tempe (soybean cake) with vegetables, and a peanut cracker. It's guaranteed to satisfy any diner who's looking for an all-in-one meal.
An interesting very local/East Javanese a la carte item on the menu must be the Rujak Cingur: a spicy salad of longbeans, cabbage, tofu, tempe, compressed rice cakes, pineappple, starfruit (carambola), cucumber, rose apple (jambu air), boiled gelatinous cow's nose (yes, you heard me right), all covered in a dark-brown fermented shrimp sauce-flavored sauce, topped with flower-shaped rice crackers. It's absolutely delicious!
The beautiful setting amidst the green foliage next to the hotel's swimming pool was gorgeous.
Hotel Tugu Malang
Jalan Tugu No. 3
Malang, East Java