I was introduced to the many wonders of the Indonesian cuisine by a workmate from many years ago. Someone whom I affectionately call WuWu. She is the sweetest and most delightful person. I have to admit that I have not visited an Indonesian restaurant since her return to her motherland. Indonesian food just isn’t the same without her.
One day, my sisters unexpectedly asked if I wanted to go along with them to Java. Apparently it is one of the better Indonesian restaurants that is scattered around Kensington, Kingswood and Randwick. I immediately wanted to pick up the phone and call WuWu and ask for her help as to what to order, but she was too far away and an email just won’t cut it. So I went along without any idea what to expect and had a wonderful time.
This one’s for you Wuwu. I miss you little lady.
We started off with Otak Otak, a grilled fish cake wrapped in banana leaves. The fish flavour is very subtle, in fact, almost non-existant.
The texture is quite soft, sticky and spongey. The coconut, chili, peanut sauce poured over it gives the fish cakes a necessary punch of flavour.
The Martabak is a crispy fried pastry stuffed with beef mince, egg and shallots. We weren’t sure what to expect when we ordered this surprisingly delicious dish. The pastry was thin and crunchy. The stuffing consisted mostly of a fluffy egg mixture and wonderfully crispy shallots.
The Ayam Betutu is a Balinese-style grilled chicken with a spicy coconut sauce. This fragrant dish is cooked in a similar style to the Bali’s famous Bebek Betutu where the duck is stuffed with cinnamon and spinach and then rubbed with a refreshing mixture of galangal, lemongrass, garlic and kaffir lime leaf. It is then wrapped in banana leaf and slowly roasted in charcoal for hours.
This particular version was fall-off-the-bone succulent, however the Opar Sauce was far too salty.
Sop Buntut is Indonesia’s version of an oxtail soup. I found this dish incredibly nurturing and delicious. It may be because it tasted very similar to the broth for Vietnamese Pho.
I rarely pass up the opportunity for Beef Rendang. It is one of my favourite curries and this one did not dissappoint. It’s heady mix of spices and the oh-so-soft beef cubes were pure poetry.
Ok. I’ll admit it. I judge an Asian eatery by their fried rice. If they are incapable of throwing together a decent fried rice then it is not worth a grain of salt. Served with a giant prawn cracker and a perfectly fried egg, I think it is safe to say that Java’s version is fabulous. It is tossed in a well seasoned wok and the smokiness is perfectly woven through every grain of rice.
My favourite dish of the evening is the Terong Belado, a fried eggplant with chili sauce. The eggplant was buttery soft and is the perfect base for the especially spicy sambal sauce. It was so spicy it could’ve blown off the head of a non-chili munching human… but I like it!
Whilst waxing lyrical about the eggplant to the waiter, he recommended that I should try Semur Terong next time. It is a fried battered eggplant with butter and and sweet soya sauce. It’s his favourite dish.
Our other vegetable dish of the evening was unexpectedly served in a table wok along with a spatula. The vegtables of ong choy (water spinach), onions and giant chilis are quickly wok-fried in garlic and oil. There is also a gentle hum of belacan, an indonesian shrimp paste. This dish was vibrant, brimming with flavour and I think I ate almost all of it without sharing. oops!
We were all ready to waddle out of the restaurant until one of my sisters remarked that we couldn’t leave without trying at least one dessert. It didn’t take much convincing for the rest of us to agree. We order the Bubur Ketan Hitam, black sticky rice with coconut milk. In true Asian fashion we split one tiny dessert between the four of us and we were happy little vegemites.
We started off with some ordinary appetizers but the dishes that followed were incredibly aromatic, tasty and one of the better indonesian eats I’ve had. The fried eggplant with chili sauce is a must try!
151 Avoca St
Randwick NSW 2031
Phone: (02) 9398 6990
chocolatesuzeAugust 13, 2010 at 12:07 am
squee i heart black sticky rice! i could eat bowlfuls of the stuff!
Maria @ ScandiFoodieAugust 13, 2010 at 6:01 am
I am really intrigued to try these dishes. I had black sticky rice with coconut cream at a Thai place recently and it was incredibly sweet! But I couldn’t stop myself eating it…
anhAugust 13, 2010 at 10:01 am
I love Indonesian food!!
Conor @ HoldtheBeefAugust 13, 2010 at 10:17 am
Ah, thank you for whisking me off from my cold office to warm Indonesia 🙂 I LOVE kangkung and am a lttle forlorn to see this delicious dish of it after trying to order it during dinner with friends last week and being told it was unavailable! Must find some soon..
mademoiselle delicieuseAugust 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm
Can’t remember whether I’ve eaten here or not…It was pre-blog and for my husband’s uncle’s birthday, chosen as he’s Indonesian Chinese. In any case, it’s a reminder that I’ve not had Indonesian food in some time and, oh my, that is one GIANT prawn cracker!
RosaAugust 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm
What great food! I am drooling in front of such yumminess!
danaAugust 14, 2010 at 3:36 pm
you’re braver than i. usually i don;t have the guts to just go for it – i stick with the tried and true – and surely not the hot eggplant, but you make it all sound so good, it makes me want to buckle up and stop being such a wimp!! thanks!
Angie’s RecipesAugust 14, 2010 at 10:40 pm
Ong choy is my all time favourite. I remember we ate lots of them in summer time when I still lived in the parents’ house.
angieAugust 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm
Aww thanks for sharing! I can’t say I have tried Indonesian cuisine, on the list of things to try. =)
LadybirdAugust 15, 2010 at 2:40 pm
Oh! I walked past this the other night while going for Nepalese food on Avoca Street!
cityhippyfarmgirlAugust 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm
Now you are talkin’ about my ‘hood sista!…Java- love it. The eggplant is a favourite dish for me too. Black sticky rice, I could eat bowl after bowl of it. Also one foodie tip if you are ever in the asian supermarket in Randwick- look for the range of jarred sauces and sambals with the label Tropicana- they make it at Java. Really tasty and food miles- we are talking metres 🙂
sweetlifeAugust 16, 2010 at 1:36 pm
oh great food, I love the pic of the nasi goreng, oh yes the eggplant looks fab, great post…
pandaAugust 16, 2010 at 10:38 pm
i actually have never eaten out at an indoesian restaurant before. thanks for the intro to indonesian food! i’ll know what to order when I do go 🙂
kristyAugust 16, 2010 at 11:54 pm
Wow, everything serving here looks so delicious especially the kangkong dish. Thanks so much for sharing.
VonAugust 17, 2010 at 12:19 am
Beef Rendang is one of my favourite curries too =D hehe…I love the big prawn cracker on top of the nasi goreng =] I prefer the big ones to the smaller ones. I haven’t had indoensian food much, but the food here looks really good! I’ll have to try it out one day!
tigerfishAugust 17, 2010 at 2:58 am
It looks very authentic “Indonesian” indeed. Can’t get any good Java Indonesian food here where I am staying 🙁
MaryMohAugust 17, 2010 at 5:24 pm
Oh wow….awesome food!! I want every dish…am drooling! They are all my favourite. You are so lucky to enjoy them 😀
JulianaAugust 18, 2010 at 4:20 am
Oh! I don’t think I ever been to a Indonesian restaurant…the food looks so good…love the pictures!
ObesebabyAugust 22, 2010 at 10:31 am
hmmmm Martarbak looks yummy, heard about the chocolate and cheese version too.
Simon Food FavouritesAugust 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm
one of my local favs. i must try the fried eggplant with chili sauce next time. sounds great. 🙂
Pepy @Indonesia EatsSeptember 12, 2010 at 9:24 am
I was having an Eid’s lunch yesterday, so I made rendang a head of time. I wish you live closer and invited you as well.
Betty @ The Hungry GirlOctober 19, 2010 at 11:34 am
The very first time I ever tried Indonesian food was at Java. Aww!! One of my friend’s introduced me, but she is also sadly back in her motherland. I love this place, I need to go back soon~!
Wendy @ ObesebabyFebruary 15, 2011 at 11:18 pm
heard lots of good feedback for this place, the Kangkung is so colourful, my kind of food hehe