Kembang Goela

kembang goela snazzy interior

Dear fellow tasters,

Indonesian food spiciness combined with a beautifully decorated restaurant is just what Kembang Goela is all about.  Located in a separate building just behind Plaza Sentral office building Sudirman, Kembang Goela offers a modern take on traditional Indonesian-slash-Dutch-colonial cuisine.  When my friends and I went there for lunch, we were firstly quite impressed by the clean simple yet elegant modern dining lounge which encompasses conspicuous details such as bamboo plants center piece, ethnic ‘batik’ hung on the wall like tapestries, and old pictures from the Dutch East Indies era.  The menu itself is somewhat entertaining with funny Dutch-influenced and old-Bahasa-spelled menu names such as ‘Ayam Mevrouw Lintje’, ‘Sosis Oom Yance’, and ‘Loempia Sayoer’.

Our orders for the day were ‘Sosis Oom Yance’, ‘Dendeng Balado’, ‘Tahoe Telor Bledék’, and ‘Asem-Asem Iga’ with steamed rice.  While waiting for the food to arrive, we noticed there was a champagne glass filled with noodle sticks that seemed to be just decorative but apparently they were also edible.  The ‘Sosis Oom Yance’ appeared first.  We were actually quite curious of this menu (translated to ‘Uncle Yance’s sausage’ with description of ‘one meter of boiled chicken sausage) and it was actually quite long and tasted quite nice with just a subtle hints of spices in it.  Next, the ‘Dendeng Balado’ (thinly sliced beef with chili) looked pretty appetizing with all the chili redness.  The beef was somehow differently prepared from the original West Sumatran which is usually thicker than the super thin Kembang Goela version which tasted very crunchy and cracker-like.  Also, the chili and spices put in it were considerably toned down than the original.

As for the ‘Asem-Asem Iga’ (beef ribs in spicy and sour soup), the beef was very tender and the soup tasted deliciously refreshing with slices of green tomatoes and just enough chili flavor, although the portion was a bit small, especially for sharing.  The ‘Tahoe Telor Bledék’ (tofu omelet – not sure what the Bledék refers to because it actually translated to thunder) was a bit disappointing in taste that the sauce was much less rich and less spicier than it should be.  Afterwards, we did order one dessert menu to share, the ‘Pannekoeken’ which looked like a crepe filled with banana and served with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.  It was beautiful in presentation and tasted pretty yummy but I think it is just enough to share for two person, not more.  All in all, Kembang Goela is the perfect destination for Indonesian dining with an ambiance.  I would say the spiciness level is sub par to the original traditional Indonesian taste but the reason for this is probably so that it would cater for a wider patronage base especially the high-end Jakartan expatriate demography.

The taster’s notes:
Favorite dish – ‘Asem-Asem Iga’ and ‘Sosis Oom Yance’
What to order next time – other funny named menu
Food rating – 2 star
Price rating – $$
Ambiance rating – 3 star
Service rating – 3 star

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