Chinese symbolic ornaments, wall-hangings, calligraphy and variations of trinkets adorning red-clad walls. To some, this may paint the living room of a family relative during a Lunar New Year celebration, but for loyal patrons, this is inside Resto Mandala, a 43-year-old Chinese restaurant, meekly hiding in a nondescript building on Wolter Monginsidi Street.
Its humble beginnings took place on a food cart stationed in Sabang Street with matriarch Woen Mie Ha at the helm. Following their unfailing popularity, the family found permanent solace in today’s home 43 years ago where patrons can dine in the presence of traditional Chinese nostalgic flair and charm.
With the smell of classic Chinese food wafting from the kitchen, you know you’ve come for a comforting and wholesome meal in Mandala. Excelling the traditional flavours of Chinese Indonesian cuisine, dishes such as the Nasi Goreng Kepiting to their Mie Goreng Ulang Tahun are decked with rich and sumptuous flavours. And in true Cantonese-style, every main is best paired with similarly hunger-inducing sides like the crispy Pu Yung Hai and saucy Ayam Goreng Mentega. No matter the choice, bring friends as the dishes here are served family-style.
With no need to modernise themselves, Resto Mandala steadily draws in crowds who wish to enjoy a no-fuss meal. There’s no gimmicks or surprises when visiting here, the families and friends gathering there every day is a testament of the restaurant’s commitment to good food then, now and so on. If anything, Resto Mandala has taught us that a good place can simply require a timeless menu and a homey-ness that everyone can come back to again and again without hesitation.