Trekked downtown to try this new Indonesian place that opened recently. We are a pretty fussy family as we are good home cooks of Indonesian food, but some of the items on the menu tempted us. I never make otak otak ikan at home, for example. Otak otak ikan is a kind of fish caked cooked in banana leaf, offered here as an appetizer for $5 with a pretty smudge of peanut sauce. Also good was the order of chicken dumplings (pangsit goreng). And their signature dish, gado gado, was very good, a nice plate of blanched vegetables, tofu, tempeh, with a nice peanut sauce and big huge krupuk (shrimp cracker) to go along with it. The soto ayam was nice, tasted like homemade, rather less spicy than we make it ourselves.
The mains were less exciting. My kids each ordered a plate of rendang which was a funkier cut of beef than they are used to (lots of bone and gristle), and the side vegetables of cauliflower, broccoli and green beans were uninspired. They found the rendang too mild as well but devoured it all. I had gulai kambing, a lamb curry, which I thought would be like rendang in texture but it was more of a soup with a bowl of rice next to it. Nice flavours, pretty mild as well. The satay ayam (chicken skewers) my husband had were somehow more Chinese in texture and flavour than Indonesian, so I don't think we'd order them again. All in all, we'd be sure to ask them to add more sambal the next time we go, and would probably stick to the gado gado, dumplings, and perhaps try their fried fish special. It's a bit more like someone's home cooking than say the food at Nonya, very simply presented in a nice, minimalist decor, and if I was in the 'hood I'd probably stop by here to eat. Great to have more choices in the city for Indonesian food!