Rumah Makan Lokiin’s Homestyle Fare Hits Sabang Street

by Runi Cholid
7th March 2024
Rumah Makan Lokiin follows up their well-received venture in Melawai with a second joint on Sabang Street, offering even more options of homespun dishes from the eponymous Mbak Iin's repertoire of recipes.

Rumah Makan Lokiin’s second joint on Sabang Street isn’t as obvious to onlookers compared to its predecessor in Melawai. Sure, there’s a huge sign in white announcing its presence, but it easily gets lost in all the commotion of the street that continues to establish itself as one of the city’s culinary hotspots. Stepping past the blue steel door, however, and seeing the telltale sight of homestyle fare decking the aluminium and glass display, one would swiftly conclude that they’ve reached the right place.

Occupying a significantly bigger space, paintings (the decorative type usually found at old homes), printed news covering the Melawai outlet and the co-founders’ family photographs overlook rows of steel tables and light yellow cushioned chairs that line the newly minted floor. The impression is that of an old-school Indonesian restaurant—except more pristine and showing no signs of ageing (as of yet), lacking remnants that would clue in its previous identity as a derelict office building.

With a bigger space comes a better-equipped kitchen, giving way to new menu offerings that are once more drawn from the eponymous Mbak Iin’s repertoire of local recipes. “Mbak Iin is still very particular about every aspect of the menu, right down to how we cook the rice, making sure that everything is executed according to her vision,” remarked co-founder Dhika Iqra Munggaran of the beloved household employee, who has her own culinary R&D studio in their HQ in Loka Indah.

As a result, these new additions have retained Mbak Iin’s signature flair, echoing the success of Lokiin’s primary outlet in Melawai through properly executed familiar dishes that come with subtle twists. For the Nasi Lodeh, Mbak Iin has made small tweaks to the classic Sundanese vegetable soup to produce a more balanced and strikingly umami coconut milk broth that appeals to diverse palates, pairing tastefully with a plate of warm rice, spicy fried rice noodles, crispy salted fish, deep-fried omelette and a choice of sambal.

Even for the straightforward snack of Bala-Bala (mixed vegetable fritters), Mbak Iin manages to present her own take by infusing vinegar into the spicy dipping sauce, effectively balancing the greasiness of the dish with a touch of sour note. As for refreshments, a glass of the sweet and syrupy Es Setrup Lokiin with its bold pink colour makes for a fitting complement to the homey and fulfilling meal, reminding diners that in the comfort of the rumah makan, it’s always okay to indulge a little bit.

Rumah Makan Lokiin may attract a different roster of regulars on Sabang Street (office workers instead of well-dressed youths), but it only serves as a further testament to the appeal of homespun food. Whether in Melawai with its exciting crop of newly-opened culinary establishments, or in Sabang where the sidewalks brim with generations-spanning street food vendors, there’s always a spot in the city’s appetite for simple and familiar dishes that evoke a sense of home—especially ones so passionately made as Mbak Iin’s creations.