Rumah Makan Lokiin’s quaint eatery in Melawai easily piques the curiosity of onlookers. Tucked to the side of the longstanding Melawai Plaza with a simple combination of aluminium and glass façade, it imbues an undeniable old-school charm. The effect becomes more pronounced inside the compact space, where family photographs from the ’90s line the wall and a hearty spread of classic, home-style fare takes the spotlight.
A second project by the team behind baked spaghetti brand Bruule, the story of Lokiin fittingly began with a memory; one that is shared among a group of six high school and college friends. They are Sarila Danubrata, her younger brother and sister Zakari and Talisa Danubrata, Reza Harisky, Chaka Ramadhan and Dhika Iqra Munggaran.
“We used to hang out at Sarila’s house to eat Mbak Iin’s (her long-time household employee) cooking,” told Dhika, who heads the management of the eatery. “Mbak Iin is the true representation of cooking from the heart.”
Dhika went on to share how, by relying on her instincts and culinary acumen, Mbak Iin has a knack for mastering any dish—regardless if it’s classic Sundanese or a new Korean sensation. And now with Mbak Iin helming the Bruule group’s central kitchen in Loka Indah (hence the name Lokiin, for Iin and Loka Indah), her homespun recipes can also be enjoyed by customers of Lokiin.
Here, Mbak Iin’s take on local flavours receives the highlight. Favourites include Lokiin’s version of Nasi Campur, which mixes up beef tongue, lungs and tripe with sweet and savoury shredded coconut over warm rice; and the warming bowl of Empal Gentong beef soup, served alongside pickled shallots to freshen up the palate. Meanwhile, no-fuss old-timey drinks like Jeruk Pontianak (freshly-squeezed Pontianak citrus) and Es Mega Mendung (Coca-Cola with condensed milk) complete the sense of nostalgia.
As seen from the afternoon crowds that continue well into the night, the variety of diners who come to Lokiin says so much about the simple enjoyment of home-cooked food. Nearby office workers huddle with jewellery shoppers, while car hobbyists settle with hungry cyclists. It’s as if the food that Mba Iin makes, while simple and commonly found, can be genuinely felt. And seeing the consistent turnout since its opening, it’s only a matter of time before others feel the same way.