Those who grew up in Indonesia might not need any extra education on Padang cuisine. We’ll recognise ayam gulai and rendang straight away, just as we know nasi goreng by heart. We should be grateful for living in Jakarta then, as it’s a fertile land for Padang restaurant to flourish.
With Padang restaurant found in every block of Jakarta, Serbaraso arrived from Pekanbaru with all its grandeur. The restaurant sign couldn’t be anymore conspicuous, as if wanting to make a statement amid other more established restaurants within Pecenongan area. However, once inside, the place is wrapped up in humility – manifested through smart but modest decorations. Such is the incorporation of bubu, a traditional fish trap made from bamboo, that encased the hanging light bulbs all across the dining area.
Unlike most Padang restaurants, the displayed food selections are served in small plates here but still plenty enough to keep one sated. The options are more varied than the usual ones we often encounter; among those are crispy grilled eel and rendang bakar (Serbaraso’s signature dish). From the a la carte menu, the perfectly executed ikan bakar comes forth as the champion. Meanwhile, kerupuk jangek – a cow’s skin kerupuk, drenched in curry – is that one loyal (and delicious) pal to keep one’s company while waiting for the main dish to arrive.
With the constant exposure from the many Padang restaurants around us, sometimes it’s good to have a different kind of Padang food as featured by Serbaraso. However different it may be, Serbaraso still surely maintains it close to our hearts.