Monday, December 3, 2007

Ayam Bulungan - Blok M, Jakarta

Ayam Bulungan is one of those legendary restaurants in Jakarta. I don't think anyone hasn't heard of it yet, let alone tried it. They serve Javanese food.
The restaurant has been one of my family's favorites since...well...before I was born.

Recently refurbished interior. Javanese fusion swank.

The restaurant's raison d'etre, the Ayam Panggang Bulungan.
(Roast free-range chicken, Bulungan-style)

Rating: 8/10
Verdict: As with most Javanese food, it's rather sweet. The flesh is so tender and the spices fully infused even the bones taste good.

Tahu Telur
(eggs-and-tofu omelette in sweet soy dressing, served with shredded cabbage, bean sprouts and roasted peanut sprinkles on the top)

Rating: 8.5/10
Verdict: A typical Javanese dish, the eggs are purposely slightly-overcooked, so that it complements well with the chewiness of the tofu. The chewy and crunchy texture of the omelette complements well with the freshness and crunchiness of the toppings. An addictive dish.

Sate Ayam (Chicken Satay)

Rating: 6/10
Verdict: Quintessential Javanese dish. Every Indonesians know that the best chicken satays are not found in restaurants, but on the street peddlars, no matter how much the restaurants claim that they serve authentic satay (or how high is the price, as a matter of fact).

Soto Kudus (Kudus-style chicken consomme)

In Indonesia, there are a plethora of Soto (consomme / broth / soup, depends on how you look at it) varieties. Kudus is a name of a city in Central Java, from whence this magnificent consomme is originated. It is very rich in flavor, and slightly thick in consistency due to the fact that it has a high content of koyah (condiment made from ground coconut, which is mixed into the soto.)

Rating: 10/10
Verdict: An exemplary attempt of the Soto Kudus. Everything is perfect and as it's supposed to be. Delightful!

Lalapan (Fresh, cold vegetable crudites, served with chili relish)

Rating: 9.5/10
Verdict: Most restaurants don't really care about this, but it is important that Lalapan is served chilled. This one is impeccable. The relish is delightful, with a hint of terasi (shrimp paste), and it's not too hot (Lalapan is not supposed to be very hot).

Ati Ampela Goreng (Fried chicken liver and gizzards)

In Javanese cuisine, a logical accompaniment to the Ayam Panggang.

Rating: 5/10
Verdict: For some reasons, Ayam Bulungan's ati ampela goreng is declining in quality.

Es Campur Bulungan (Bulungan-style shaved mixed ice)

Rating: 6.5/10
Verdict: One of the weirdest variety of Indonesian shaved ice I've ever encountered. But still delicious, nonetheless. Contents include es coklat kopyor (traditional Indonesian ice cream made of old / matured coconut and chocolate), cincau (grass jelly), nangka (jackfruit), tape (fermented cassava), kelapa muda (young coconut meat), kacang merah (red bean), agar-agar (jelly), cendol (starch noodles made of coconut milk and pandan leaves), buah atap (palm seed fruit), and sprinkled with colorful muisjes cokelat (Dutch-inspired chocolate sprinkles)

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