Marco’s Bofet: Authentic
Padang food

Fried thin-sliced beef with red chili. Tifa Asrianti.

At first glance, the restaurant’s name may make you think Marco’s Bofet is an Italian restaurant. But the tagline underneath reading “Old Padang Recipes” explains it all.

The phrase “Old Padang Recipes” refers to original Padang recipes that have been passed down
for generations to Chef Marco.

As for “bofet”, in Padang it used to mean a place to drink. However, as time went by the word  has also come to mean “eatery”. The restaurant offers cuisines made through meticulous cooking techniques different from other Padang restaurants in Jakarta. One thing for sure, all ingredients are processed traditionally.

The spices are refined by mortar and pestle, not by food processing machines. The traditional techniques are believed to have maintained the originality of the recipes.

Padang cuisine is famous for its rich taste of succulent coconut milk and spicy chili. The restaurant uses coconuts and chili from Padang. The cuisine also uses a special spice called daun ruku-ruku, a Padang native herb that gives the dishes a zest.

“We serve Padang Peranakan cuisine, which usually tastes lighter and tastier compared to Padang Melayu cuisines in general,” said Amriel Aditya from the restaurant.

If you are new to Padang cuisines, fear not, for there are several LCD screens providing guests with information on how to eat Padang cuisine.

For dining in, chef Marco suggests that guests pour the sauce into the rice and mix together.

For take-away, the chef says that gentle pressing is compulsory before opening the banana leaf package. While it is up to the person on how to finish the meal, the chef believes that the meal is best enjoyed using hands.

Menus in the restaurant consist of Marco’s Specialties, Marco’s Dailies and Marco’s Rotation Special (monthly). For our lunch one sunny Wednesday, we chose, among others, Pete Kacamata (eye glass-shaped dry-fried stink bean), Randang Itam (black beef stew) Ikan Bilih Asok (small fish) from Marco’s Specials.

We sampled Dendeng Kering Lado Merah (thinly sliced, dried meat with red chili) and Gado-Gado Padang (Padang version of mixed vegetables with peanut sauce) from Marco’s Dailies.

The restaurant’s chili-laden cuisines are not too spicy and stomach friendly. When asked about how he achieves a less spicy taste, Chef Marco said that he only cooked according to what the family recipes wrote.

Perhaps the ground chili from Padang is less chili than other varieties. There is a significant difference with Jakarta’s version of ground chili, which is usually mixed with the small but feisty cabai

While most people avoid eating stink beans before an important meeting, a must-have dish is Pete Kacamata, which does not have an odor. Without peeling the outer skin, the stink bean is thinly sliced and fried in hot cooking oil until it is as dry as a potato chip. Crispy and delicious, it does not smell.

According to Amriel, the best seller is Randang Itam, selling 2,000 portions in just two months. Cooking Randang Itam takes time.

The chef must stir the beef meat and coconut milk for nine hours after the ingredients are put in the wok. Stirring ensures the spices are evenly immersed into the meat.

For a delicious beverage to accompany the meal, Es Jeruk Kelapa (iced orange juice and coconut), is refreshing, sweet. Another interesting beverage is the delectable Teh Telok (tea with egg) and Es Kopi Padang (iced black coffee).

The menu also has several cakes for snacks or desserts, such as Martabak Kelapa (coconut pancake) and Martabak Telok (deep fried egg, beef and vegetable pancake).

Marco’s Bofet

Setiabudi One, 1st  floor, Unit 212–216
Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. 62
Kuningan – South Jakarta
Phone : (021) 520 3221

Post Your Say

Selected comments will be published in the Readers’ Forum page of our print newspaper.