27 May 2007

Dapur Babah

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Considering the amount of time I spend with Fel, it would be silly not to visit her hometown at least once. So when I was assigned to travel to Jakarta as part of my study trip, I embraced the opportunity. I certainly didn't get much help from her though, when I asked about the places worth visiting and food worth eating. "Jakarta is very dangerous! Just stay in your hotel!"

Thankfully, there was the Kris Flyer Magazine on the plane, with a few restaurant recommendations. One of which was Dapur Babah elite, a restaurant peppered with odd and interesting artefacts. The description of the place and food certainly whet my appetite enough to convince a gang of about 14 to come along.

We might have been a little too rowdy, but the service staff did everything within their means to make sure that we got everything we needed and wanted. Even though one of the menus almost caught fire, and even though we didn't order any dinner sets after having gotten them to print dinner set menus for each one of us, they still accomodated us throughout our meal and smiled as we walked out.

Great service aside, the food was incredible. A selection of Javanese, Dutch and Peranakan dishes fill the menu, with some rather amusing English translations. The prices were really reasonable, and absolutely worth your dollar.

Ironically, I remember the rice with most fondness. Ironic on two levels, because rice is often just the side-kick of any meal, and because I have never been inclined to filling my precious and limited stomach space with rice. However the rice at Dapur Babah stole very much of the limelight on my plate.

Of course, the other dishes were also outstanding. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to keep one of their menus, and cannot remember the names of the dishes that I managed to try. One of the two desserts that we managed to try was both intriguing and yummy at the same time. It had little chewy bits (almost like tang yuan/glutinous rice balls) floating in a light and slightly salty coconut broth.

I find it a great plus that they even have a separate vegetarian menu. It is a restaurant worth visiting, even if you only had 3 hours to spare in Jakarta. I really can't think of any restaurant in Singapore that is anything like Dapur Babah in terms of atmosphere.

Dapur Babah élite
Jalan Veteran I / 18, Jakarta Pusat 10110
Tel: +62 (21) 385 5653,
Fax: +62 (21) 385 3040

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