Food is closely related to memories. No matter how much food a person has tried, at the end of the day, one’s favourite choice falls down to those that are associated with comforting memories.
At Soul Food, food is all about memories, but the good kinds for sure. Occupying a previously convenience store in Centra Kemang, Soul Food centres on authentic and affordable gourmet Indonesian meals that is hard to come by in South Jakarta. But what’s with the memories? Simply saunter into this rumah makan and you’ll find out why. From the food to the little details of the interior, Soul Food harks back to things of the past that are intimate to our childhood memories of living in Indonesia.
The menu, for instance, is concise and approachable. As such, there’s no way you’ll leave this place without gobbling down at least three to four variants of food. First-timers should definitely opt for Kembulan Platter Plus Plus under the “Nasi-Nasi(an)” category. The former is a rice platter with two servings of rice (black squid ink rice and yellow rice) and 8-10 allotted meat and veggies (kecombrang fried chicken, squid, ox tongue, semur jengkol, assorted fresh pickles, and many more).
Under “Pete, Jengkol dan Sekitarnya” category, Soul Food features pete and jengkol (the duo is famous for their appetising yet pungent flavour while leaving you with bad breath). Worthy of mention is also their sides and desserts we remember as a child: Leupeut Oncom Bilis Honje Banjur (sticky rice with oncom – fermented soybean – dipping), Ketan Bumbu with abon jambal (sticky rice, spruced up with shredded salted fish and chilli), surabi, rujak, balapis, and more.
Other than the food being the main crowd-puller of Soul Food, the two-storey restaurant is a quaint establishment that is similar to a humble rumah makan found in suburban area. Guests may opt to sit on chairs or lesehan (sitting on an elevated floor, on mats). While the first floor focuses on being a “restaurant” where visitors can order from the menu, the second features the concept of a house visit where diners entrust their meal choices to the host.
Soul Food is a place you can definitely rely upon every time you miss authentic Indonesian dish that warms the cockles. It is affordable, humble and will evoke fond memories of your childhood. You’re best advised to come with an empty stomach.