FRAGRANCE AND SOFT MURMURING
Decor, too. Walls mostly a warm ochre-cream, with Raw Sienna and a dark mahogany-umber detailing. Bamboo slat or matchstick blinds. Fine porcelain, good cutlery, the occasional fern or potted plant, and absolutely none of that painted or carved wood kitsch that every Asian restaurant seems to have all over. Decent non-glaring lighting, neither forensics laboratory bright nor old-troll dark and moody.
The one key dish it MUST have is a damned fine soto ayam. Which is rich chicken soup yellowed with turmeric, with fresh chicken meat, slices of fried potato INSTEAD of lontong, cilantro, Chinese parsley, and fried shallots plus krupuk or emping as garnish.
The broth should be flavoured with fried shallots, coriander, and ginger.
Plus kemiri nuts, lemon grass, galangal, and dried shrimp.
Noodles optional, for a version of Mie Soto.
Nasi goreng (fried rice) or bami goreng (fried noodles) are also kind of essential, but they really aren't that necessary. Excellent saté, preferable both chicken and lamb, plus petjil, and two or three home-made sambal.
Rice, cucumber chunks, chilled squiggle drinks.
Good strong coffee, either iced or hot.
Korma, kalio, gulai, rawon.
And NO music!
The last Indonesian restaurant at which I ate had karaoke videos. Really, popular music is mostly pig-bollocks in every culture, and sappy emotional ballads in Indonesian are probably the ultimate nightmare.
Either that or meaningful gamelan music.
One other thing: most "ethnic" menus abound in clumsy spelling errors. Gentlemen, this does NOT add to the charm of your place, but rather severely detracts from it.
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