spinach and cheese martabak @ samarra

Dear fellow tasters,

It was sunday evening and our intention was to try Shanghai Blue, a Chinese-cross-Traditional-Indonesian restaurant located on Kebon Sirih area. Apparently, the place is closed on Sundays and we get redirected to its sister restaurant just next door, Samarra. Managed by the same group that operates Lara Djonggrang and Shanghai Blue, Samarra offers a Middle-East-decorated dining area with a menu selection ranging from Middle-Eastern cuisine to Traditional-Indonesian dishes.

Whilst listening to Sahara desert music and admiring the blue-turquoise-pattern-painted ceiling, we decided to order some martabak, roast duck curry, grilled lamb, and kebuli rice to share. The martabak was surprisingly tasty, with spinach and cheese on the inside though three pieces of it was barely enough to tickle our taste buds. Next, the roast duck curry was quite delightful, with roast duck pieces in a light curry base with just enough hints of herbs and spices. The grilled lamb was definitely a favorite, served on top of burning charcoals and marinated with a mix of sweet soy sauce (I think), chili, shallots, and other spices. The lamb was tender and delicious, and a perfect accompaniment to the kebuli rice which tasted pretty nice. Still feeling a bit famished, we finished with a second round of kebuli and an order of sate lilit which tasted a bit ordinary. To wash it all down, refreshing meikwei-meikwei mocktail and ice lychee tea were what we had.

In overall, Samarra could become a nice little middle-eastern getaway from Jakartan atmosphere, for one or two hour of getting whisked away to an Iranian or Moroccan-like place, regardless of the irrelevant menu or antique decorations. It also offers a wine bar and a variety of satay menu, and if you’re lucky enough, you might even spot a belly dancer performance there.

The taster’s notes:
Favorite dish – grilled lamb, roast duck curry, the martabak
What to order next time – might try different curry or satay
Food rating – 3 star
Price rating – $$
Ambiance rating – 3 star
Service rating – 2 star


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