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Dendeng balado, crispy thinly sliced beef with traditional Padang-style chili.
An impressive array of home-cooked style cuisines, based on traditional recipes from all corners of the archipelago, has made Remboelan a new favorite dining place among Jakarta’s food lovers.
The decision to cook up a great selection of Indonesian homemade cuisines was made by the restaurant’s director Corina and creative director Endang after learning that only limited restaurants in the city’s upscale shopping malls offer authentic Indonesian food.
“We want to present as many delightful Indonesian soul foods from Sabang to Merauke while at the same time try to uphold the authenticity of each dish,” explains Corina.
Remboelan’s house special spicy and sour beef ribs soup Asem-asem Iga.Keeping the spirit in mind, every dish offered in Remboelan, which is located in Plaza Senayan shopping mall, is thoughtfully prepared to closely resemble the original version, with only a slight adjustment on ingredients when necessary.
Their meticulous effort to bring back a wonderful variety of traditional Indonesian dishes has become Remboelan’s distinct feature, generating a fond feeling of nostalgia for some clienteles.
“We talk with several customers who order dishes that were their childhood favorites,” Corina says. “Others come with their parents and siblings to enjoy food that reminds them of their family traditions, while some reintroduce now forgotten traditional cuisines to their children.”
Most items on the menu are derived from Endang’s personal recipes, some of which have been with her family for decades. She also works together with the restaurant’s executive chef to produce the most authentic flavor for each dish.
As a family restaurant, Remboelan is very much mindful to cater to the tastes of all family members. “We have many scrumptious options for children and those who prefer mild Indonesian dishes,” says Corina, referring to Remboelan chicken soup, Javanese fried chicken and crispy prawns with mayonnaise.
Since it’s impossible to incorporate all of Indonesia’s extensive cuisines into the regular menu, Remboelan presents a special-themed menu every three months.
“Our goal is to always provide different choices of Indonesian dishes for our customers at all times. The special three-month menu is also our way of understanding what kinds of dishes are preferred by customers,” explains Corina.
At Remboelan, you can begin your dining journey with fresh mixed fruits and vegetables served with house special sweet and spicy sauce (rujak penganten) as an appetizer. The pleasing combination of the dish’s diverse ingredients make a charming introduction for what is to come.
Rice has always been a dominant component in Indonesian cuisines. And at Remboelan, it is a must to try the mini rijtafel Indonesian rice with a combination of empal beef, shredded dried coconut, assorted vegetables with spicy coconut herbs, fried fermented bean curds, sautéed fried bean curd, pickles and sliced omelet (nasi berkat). This tantalizing mish-mash of flavors makes for a memorable culinary moment.
A trip to an authentic Indonesian restaurant would not be entirely valid without devouring tasty fiery food.
Crispy thinly sliced beef with traditional Padang-style chili — balado dendeng renyah — is compulsory at Remboelan. Mix the fresh red chili evenly with the paper-thin beef in order to relish the succulent flavor of the dish.
This Indonesian version of hot and savory beef jerky goes very well with any type of rice — either plain white rice, coconut milk rice (nasi uduk) or yellow turmeric rice (nasi kuning).
Lontong cap gomeh — a sizzling rice cake topped with chili bamboo shoots, sweet slow cooked chicken, spicy chicken liver and gizzard, shredded chicken meat and fried shredded coconut herbs, all served with coconut chicken milk, creates an intense taste sensation and is very generous in portion, which makes the dish satisfying to perfection.
Another flaming cuisine is the grilled chicken, served with special Remboelan sauce (ayam bakar kemiri remboelan) or Remboelan’s house special spicy and sour beef ribs soup (asem-asem Iga).
Diners can also go for telur bunbon petis - eggs cooked with a special petis sauce. For the dish, the eggs are cooked in a thick sweet sauce made of mild fish paste from Madura, coconut milk and palm sugar along with fresh beans, sliced cucumbers and small orange chili, producing a smooth delicate flavor that is surprisingly refreshing.
Ikan gurame saos bunga kecombrang, deep fried gurame fish cooked with house special “kecombrang flower” sauce.If you are a seafood aficionado who dares to take epicurean risks, then ikan gurame goreng Remboelan bunga kecombrang - deep fried Gurame fish cooked with house special “kecombrang flower” sauce — will immediately captivate your palate.
This appetizingly spicy dish consists of crispy Gurame fish topped with a sauce mix of sliced Betawi-grown dark red kecombrang flowers, which contain a sharper exotic fragrance and are bigger in size compared to the Medan-grown flowers, along with fermented shrimp paste and freshly chopped chili.
Apart from using only top quality local produce, Remboelan also brings in some essential ingredients from their places of origin in the country – such as smoked stingrays from Central Java’s coastal areas and lobi-lobi fruits from Lampung – to maintain the dishes’ genuine flavor.
“We prepare the Stingrays, which have been smoked using coconut shells for 40 straight hours, for mangut ikan pe panggang, a traditional Semarang cuisine that is seldom cooked nowadays,” says Corina, referring to smoked stingray with fried fermented tofu and basil served with house special coconut sauce.
Remboelan special coffee.The dish’s highlight lies in the stingray’s rich smoky flavor that is mouthwateringly tangy and addictive, yet the luscious coconut sauce provides a subtle balance to the whole dish.
All these dishes are ideally accompanied with beverages that taste just as good, such as the nourishing sweet and sour ice rosella tea; Remboelan ice tea, a lovely combination of tea, lemongrass, black grass jelly and mint leaves; and Remboelan ice coffee – a seductive blend of top quality Javanese, Lampung, and Nusa Tenggara coffee.
With a reasonable corkage fee, you can also indulge in your favorite wine in Remboelan.
For dessert, treat yourself with warm and cozy offerings, such as Remboelan’s traditional sweet porridge mix (aneka bubur Remboelan) or Remboelan grilled bananas (pisang bakar Remboelan).
Remboelan Ice.You can also refresh your palate with a cool selection of traditional ice, such as soursop ice (es putri sirsak) or the popular Remboelan ice – shredded ice with a combination of jackfruit, fermented cassava, coconut, avocado, black grass jelly, homemade manalagi syrup and condensed milk.
Remboelan, which means “moon” in Indonesian, was chosen as the restaurant’s name for several reasons.
Corina said the unique rotunda or circular shape of the location, which sits majestically on the top level of Plaza Senayan, reflects a bright moon shining in the night sky.
Remboelan itself in Javanese philosophy is defined as a beautiful moon and is usually associated with something feminine. “In this case, Remboelan also portrays Ibu Endang, a pretty Javanese woman who loves cooking Indonesian cuisine from the heart,” Corina says.
A Japanese interior designer was appointed to create the restaurant’s modern Indonesian atmosphere, with the world renowned Borobudur temple in Central Java as the main source of inspiration.
“The dark brown wooden panels filled with diamond-shaped holes that surround the restaurant are designed to illustrate the temple’s dome-shaped shrines [stupa]. So, when customers dine in Remboelan, they will feel as if they’re sitting inside one of Borobudur’s shrines,” explains Corina.
And up on the ceiling, murals of lush green tropical forests lend a nice and relaxing ambience to the place.
“At Remboelan, everyone can happily enjoy our extraordinary yet affordable authentic Indonesian food in a pleasant atmosphere and hopefully, we can rekindle some good memories.”
Jl. Asia Afrika No. 8, Senayan
Phone: 021 - 572 5088
— Photos by Nurhayati