Most Indonesians love Padang food; the traditional cuisine from West Sumatra is well known for the strong flavours, elaborate preparation processes and the liberal use of practically any parts of the livestock, including the brains, lungs, spleen, bone marrow, tongue, etc. Even I cannot resist the carbo-loaded and oily combo every once in a while, although I'd strictly stick with the normal parts of the meat.
What happens then, when the bold flavours of Padang cuisine, meets the subtle and fresh characters of Japanese cuisine? The result is roughly what Suntiang Restaurant offers in its eclectic Padang-Japanese fusion menu.
|Padang - Japanese Fusion Sushi|
Suntiang, which refers to the elaborate crown worn by the bride in Minang culture, symbolizes the 'marriage' of the culinary heritage from the two cultures. It may very well claim the title of the first Padang-Japanese fusion restaurant, likely in the whole wide world. The restaurant quite recently opened (late 2013) at Pondok Indah Mall 2, quite far away from where I live, otherwise I would've visited it much earlier.
|Chef Abadi Lutfi, born in Surabaya with >20 years of experience in Japanese restaurants|
Executive Chef Abadi Lutfi brings into the table: his more than 2 decades-long experience in Japanese restaurants; added it with the 'Padang cooking crash course' he had with one of the restaurant owners' grandmother, to create a fusion menu that presents the best of each culture. Expect to see uncommon items such as the Rendang Roll and Ayam Pop Roll. Both are uramakis (inside-out roll sushi) but with Rendang or Ayam Pop (Padang style fried chicken) fillings. Other than the sushi (by order or from the conveyor belt) there are other items like Rice Bowls, Ramen, etc.
In Padang culture, a family's rendang recipe is treated like a precious family heirloom, passed over generations and in certain contexts, is often related with the family or the clan's pride. The Rendang is not quite familiar to my taste (due to my lack of experience in eating rendang). I think the Rendang Roll could use more generous meat filling, on top of the generous caramelised rendang gravy.
|Ayam Pop Roll|
Ayam Pop Roll is my favourite, (Ayam Pop: steamed or boiled chicken and then fried). It has just the right amount of chicken filling and served with this delicious bright orange sauce, which I'm guessing is the Ayam Pop sauce.
Another dish which intrigued me was the Gulai Ramen, a Japanese ramen dish with typical ramen toppings (tamago, nori, chicken karaage, etc). Instead of the normal milky broth or clear shoyu broth, a Padang style curry a.k.a gulai takes its place. The gulai gravy is quite oily and thick and is quite quickly absorbed by the noodles, so it is recommended that you chow down your Gulai Ramen immediately, before it turns into a thick mushy stew.
|Gulai Ramen IDR 58,000|
|Otak Tempura Balado|
Another (chef) recommended item is the Otak Tempura Balado. This is a twist of the Gulai Otak dish in Padang Cuisine, where instead of cooking the cow brains in gulai gravy, they are fried tempura-style and served with balado sauce. I do not have the guts to eat brains, so I can't comment on its taste.
Dessert selection at Suntiang is quite limited, so I chose the obvious must-try: Laman Katan Sarikayo. This is another family recipe, which is perhaps just too good to be transformed into a hybrid Padang-Japanese dessert. The dish comprises two items: one is (Padang style) kaya custard served with savoury sticky rice and the other is also sticky rice, but with grated coconut and a drizzle of palm sugar. The kaya is not like the dull-green coloured kaya jam normally spread on toasts, this one is more consistent, almost pudding-like creamy texture and contains more palm sugar than pandan, hence the brown colour and distinct scent.
|Laman Katan Sarikayo IDR 32,000|
|Left: Lemongrass Lychee Tea IDR 27,000|
Right: Green Suntiang (kiwi, pineapple soda mocktail) IDR 33,000
*) Prices are subject to Govt. Tax & Service Charge.
**) Current promotion: CIMB Niaga Credit Card holders can get 20% discount.
Pondok Indah Mall 2, 3rd Floor #346
JL. Metro Pondok Indah
Ph: +62 21 75920529
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