Preserve and Promote Indonesian Cuisine
“Smarapura” means “a beautiful and happy place”. (Good Indonesian Food/File)
The sound of water splashing from the fishpond and the gentle gending (Javanese gamelan music) ditties wafting from the speakers made me feel like in a Balinese village – where people are still spoilt by nature, far from the bustling foreign tourist crowd. This was my first impression of Smarapura Traditional Resto. It was a pleasant surprise to discover such a homey, traditional eatery among the modern cafes in Tebet, South Jakarta.
Owner Made Repel Sandji established this Balinese restaurant in 2010. Its moniker, Smarapura, which is also the name of Made Repel Sandji’s hometown, means “a beautiful and happy place”, and it has more or less hit the mark with its mission to provide such a venue. Another aspect that lends an authentic Balinese touch to the atmosphere is the gapura (gateway) that decorates the frontage of the building, which was sent from Bali.
Besides the semi-alfresco area that is decked with wooden chairs and tables, customers are able to sit lesehan-style on the floor with a mat at one of the saung (huts) that surround the pond. I chose to settle myself at one of the huts right next to the fishpond.
(Read also: 6 recommended Balinese restaurants in Jakarta)
Nasi ayam Betutu at Smarapura.(Good Indonesian Food/File)
The menu here is divided into sections with names like Denpasar, Jimbaran and Ubud, with honest-to-goodness Balinese dishes, such as bebek garing (deep-fried duck), nasi campur Bali (Balinese mixed rice), nasi ayam betutu (steamed or roasted chicken in Betutu spices with rice), sate lilit (minced meat satay), pisang rai (boiled banana with grated coconut) and rujak gobet (sweet-and-sour mixed fruits in sambal).
As my tummy was crying out for a spot of dinner, I ordered a set of its nasi ayam Betutu. Comprising of rice, shallots, sambal matah (shallots and lemongrass sambal), ayam Betutu and sup nangka (jackfruit soup), it was the delicious and savory ayam Betutu that took center stage with its tender meat. If you prefer your food hot and spicy, then dab your chicken with a bit of the sambal matah. However, those who don’t enjoy the taste of raw onions should give it a pass. The most unique feature from the meal is the presence of the succulent sup nangka, which consists of two velvety cuts of jackfruit that perfectly complement the ayam Betutu and rice. (kes)
Explore more about Indonesian cuisine here.
Jl. Tebet Timur Dalam II, No. 43, Tebet, South Jakarta
Contact: 021 8370 2402
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Rp 60,000 (US$4.50) per person
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.