Thursday, August 20, 2009

Experiencing food from Babah's Kitchen

Finally. It’s about time that I check out this place. I’ve always been so clueless when it comes to memorizing streets and finding directions so I always hesitated to look for it. I’d just go to Samarra, to make my life easier.

Turned out it was on the same street as Ragusa Ice Cream and Rive Gauche. But the sad thing was that I didn’t really pay attention to the road because I didn’t know we were going there. So I’m still clueless, more or less.. I just remember it being somewhere near Cikini. Hahahah..

The ‘eldest’ amongst other Tugu Group restaurants in Jakarta (Lara Djonggrang / La Bihzad came next, followed by Samarra & Waroeng Shanghai Blue 1920), Dapur Babah is well known for its authentic Babah cuisine, a combination of Chinese-Indonesian and Dutch cooking. They have a variety of selections, from the simple everyday dishes such as rawon, pecel, and pindang, to the more elaborate such as Dutch steak and Huzaren Sla.

Just like its siblings, the look of the place is very rich and brimming with cultural touch, though not as elaborate as Samarra. From the wood flooring, the antique chairs and sofas, the ancient artifacts and old paintings used as decorations; all made us felt like we were transported back into the colonialism era, inside an old Babah and Nonya’s house. This uniquely rich cultural ambiance is one of the reason why I love Tugu Group’s chain of restaurants and bars.

Skimming and reading through the menu proved to be an entertainment too, as they use old spelling, i.e. nasik, petjel, sajoer, ajam, tjumie, etc. Simple descriptions are put under each menu’s name, and one particular description about Pindang soup made me giggle. It said, “Kind of sweet and sour soup…”

After much contemplation and consulting the staff (which were very helpful n informative), I just settled for Toemies Pakis Cakalang (stir fried fern leaves with skipjack tuna), and chose Nasik Pandan (pandan rice) for accompaniment. My friend ordered Nasik Piendang Tjoemie (a ‘one pot’ meal consisting rice, a few other dishes -- such as pepes, satay, sambal teri, etc. -- and crackers). For drinks, he ordered white wine by glass, and I asked the bar to impress me with their version of Sangria.

And they did a very good job.

I told them that I want it to be (more or less) like Samarra’s, with the fruit bits and all. So they mixed it up just for me cos it wasn’t on the menu list. I asked for white wine based Sangria. And when they asked me which mixer I prefer, ginger or sprite, and I opted for ginger. The drink turned out to be wonderful. The yellowish color of white wine + ginger ale, decorated with pieces of red strawberries and Sunkist oranges, it was so lovely! It was light and fruity. And I’ve a berry fetish, so it’s just perfect for me.

My friend’s food came, it looked nice n well prepared. Rice and its condiments, nicely arranged and served in a small rattan basket with banana leaves, except for the pindang soup that was served on a small bowl on the side. But eating it straight out of the basket was quite a hassle cos the basket was quite tall, so he transferred it to a plate instead. I didn’t taste it but he said it was good. My stir fried fern with skipjack tuna was good too. I’ve never eaten fern before so I was quite curious, the taste was actually kind of similar to that of pumpkin leaves. The pandan rice looked very nice with its green color and wrapped in banana leaves, it was so fragrant.

We didn’t order any dessert as we felt so full after the meal, so we just ordered another round of the drinks and chatted the night away. I loved my Sangria so much that I ended up having 3 glasses --the last one was actually a mistake made by the waiter, cos I asked for a clean empty glass for water but he came up with another glass of the fruity drink.. Oh well, couldn’t really return it so I drank it anyway.

With my stomach filled with good food, my eyes spoiled with rich ambiance, my mind stimulated with good conversation, and my head a bit light from the colorful concoction; I was truly happy for the rest of the night.

Dapur Babah / Tao Bar

Jl. Veteran No. 18
+62 21 3855653

*Originally posted in Multiply on May 24, 2007

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails