It might sound strange, but finding a high-end indonesian restaurant in Jakarta has traditionally been difficult. Street-corner and mid-range venues abound, but Jakartans' favorite fine-dining venues usually serve international fare. Part of the reason lies with the deeply held belief that the very best local food is found in private homes never in restaurants. Rather than tackle that long-held prejudice head on, restaurateur Linny Adisubrata has come up with a clever compromise: she'll serve dishes prepared from jealously guarded family recipes, but she wants people to travel to her plush new restaurant to enjoy them.
"What has long been missing is real Indonesian food served in an elegant atmosphere with a certain standard of service," says Adisubrata, who with five female friends has opened Bunga Rampai, tel: (62-21) 3192 6225, in Jakarta's tree-lined, old-money enclave of Menteng. The women, Adisubrata explains, "have been cooking Indonesian food for decades and now want it to be enjoyed by others outside of our families."
Set in a old Dutch colonial home refurbished with input from the country's most famous batik designer, Iwan Tirta, the restaurant offers a menu drawn from three regions famed throughout the archipelago for cuisine Padang in West Sumatra, Manado in North Sulawesi and Sunda in West Java. Many of the items are upscale renditions of classic dishes, but retain a degree of homeliness that should draw even the most cynical local gourmands away from their family tables. The grilled konro bakar, or beef ribs, are a fall-off-the-bone sensation. Ludruk pitik is the platonic ideal of chicken soup: nourishing, flavorful and good. There's a little bit of experimentation too nasi rebana gives a Middle Eastern twist to the country's de facto national dish of nasi goreng, or fried rice. "Love of eating is the one thing we all have in common," says Adisubrata of her partners. Hopefully Jakartans will agree that such a love is meant to be shared.
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