Rumah Makan Sepakat

23rd February 2024
Since 1967, Rumah Makan Sepakat in Blok M has been serving Minangkabau quintessential and house specialties like gulai gajeboh to longtime customers across generations.

The drilling sounds of construction work near the building on Jalan Melawai IX in Blok M didn’t dissipate the rather busy atmosphere of Rumah Makan Sepakat, a longtime Padang eatery since 1967, abuzz with customers from a lone senior man minding his own plate, a young couple sharing a meal after dropping off their child at school, to a brigade of white collars lining up for their lunch fuel.

From the sight, it was clear that there was a certain familiarity tagging along these customers when they came to the rumah makan, easily making it an institution dining in the area. Founded by husband-and-wife H. Sofidar St Mudo and Hj. Syamsidar who migrated to the city from West Sumatera, Rumah Makan Sepakat cooks up the spicy and coconut-laden Minangkabau quintessential like beef rendang and chicken gulai to house specialties like gajeboh; served on a small plate, the tender brisket fat cooked in asam padeh sauce (a sour tamarind-and-chilli fish curry) still sells up the fastest until today. 

“It’s still crowded because other than the flavours and spices that we still maintain from our parents, our customers are generational,” said the 48-year-old Yofie Ahmad, the youngest of the three children now carrying the baton for Rumah Makan Sepakat. “I heard from our customers that their parents used to go on dates here, now they’re doing the same thing.” 

While Yofie’s parents are not milling about in the kitchen anymore, their recipes are still the sole cookbook followed by prep cooks who have been working with them for over 20 years. Each dish is prepared at the family home just after dawn every day and distributed to Blok M and their other stall in Pasar Mayestik, ensuring that everything is freshly cooked. The eatery’s way of serving also has not changed; unlike the regular rumah makan that spreads out their dishes on the table, customers line up in front of the glass booth to choose their dish to go with their plate of rice filled with jackfruit vegetables, green chilli sauce and rendang seasoning. 

Other than their gajeboh specialty, the Ikan Bawal Bakar (grilled pomfret fish) and Gulai Tunjang (tunjang curry) also make the list of customers’ favourites. Once, the family also added Sop Buntut (oxtail soup) to their menu but had to remove it because the main ingredients were quite pricey, “and we can’t serve anything too expensive here,” said Yofie, who wishes to maintain the ‘everyone can go here’ feature of the eatery. 

Easily the most popular cuisine in Indonesia, Padang restaurants aren’t hard to find in the city. But for those who have been dropping by Rumah Makan Sepakat through the years, there seems to be an unspoken understanding that this is the only Padang restaurant that they would go to for its unchanging quality—and it’s all thanks to Yofie who is still sticking to his parents’ recipes and keeping it a family affair.