Depot Nasi Pajero

15th March 2024
Offal may not have the esteem nor universal appeal of a steak, but Depot Nasi Pajero makes it work at its simple set-up eatery in Cipete.

The rapid beat of funkot regularly blares from the zebra-patterned speakers of Depot Nasi Pajero, a recently opened eatery that has quickly attracted the city’s attention to its semi-open-air abode in Cipete. Starting operations late in the afternoon, it already sees a daily roster of families in PJs, taxi drivers taking a break in between orders and what looks like (judging from their trendy clothing) the neighbourhood’s troop of creative agency workers.

“We’ve grown tired of bistros and conceptual restaurants, and we wanted to create an eatery where everybody can dine—whether it’s before or after payday,” shared Dio Reza Augusta, who co-founded the place with his colleague at F&B media Tworubber, Respati Tamio, as well as Teuku ‘Wiro’ Andre Aziz of the burger joint Byurger. “So we decided to go with a simple warung direction.”

From the upbeat background music (think ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ by Oasis remixed with thumping bass and additional sound effects) to the seemingly random motley of a horse painting, old-school wall calendars and hand-painted yellow-and-green banners ordered directly from Lamongan, East Java, every aspect of the ‘depot’ has been deliberately designed to reflect the street-side eateries that are ubiquitous in the city and also the Javanese region as a whole.

While that in itself serves as an impressive yet easily missed documentation of warung‘s vernacular design, the true highlight here lies in the eatery’s signature offerings: offals (hence the name Pajero, short for pasukan jeroan or lovers of offals). Mostly beef—but with chicken in between—tripes, intestines, lungs and a variety of other innards are transformed into delectable dishes through three methods of cooking: fried, whipped up into a soup or braised in soy sauce and broth stew called gongso

The Gongso Koyor, made with beef tendons, is a particular favourite of Dio’s—alluringly succulent due to its collagen content and well-sweetened by the stew, it makes a suitable pair with a plate of warm rice. For something lighter though, go with the mixed offal soup; infused with whole milk, the broth attains a touch of creaminess that balances the richness of the meat. Order up a portion of the Ayam Goreng (fried chicken seasoned with the same broth as the gongso and soup) for added protein and accompany the meal with a tall glass of Es Setrup, a sweet mocktail of unripe mangoes drawn from Dio’s family recipe, and you’ve got yourself a feast.

Depot Nasi Pajero’s ode to the simple and inimitable pleasure of savouring the humble offal serves as a refreshing reflection of the city’s vibrant dining scene; where it’s not only a breeding ground for contemporary culinary innovations, but also comforting eats that thrive in its simplicity throughout the years. 

“Jakarta’s street food is amazing, but most of [the establishments] are passed down from the older generation. We’re trying to create a new legacy here, so that one day our grandchildren can say that their grandparents used to dine at Depot Nasi Pajero.”

Throughout the month of Ramadan, Depot Nasi Pajero is open for dinner from 4.30 pm to midnight and also for suhoor from 2.30 am to 4.30 am.