Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lara Djongrang: Authentic Indonesian cuisine with a touch of history

Entering Lara Djonggrang restaurant on Jl. Teuku Cik Di Tiro, Menteng, Central Jakarta, one feels like they are stepping into an antique house and a museum at the same time.

Passing a great banyan tree with its aerial prop roots dangling in the front yard of the restaurant, visitors can see a large Ganesh statue as well as a Budha statue near the entrance.

Inside, the dimly lit restaurant fashions antique floor tiles, fountains and relief from temples.

Lara Djonggrang restaurant, named after the heroine in a Javanese legend, is one of the restaurants of Anhar Setjadibrata, owner and designers of Tugu Hotels, infamous for his love of historical antiques.

Conceptualize by his daughter Annete Anhar, the restaurant serves authentic Indonesian cuisine, based on royal journeys made by King Hayam Wuruk, who rules the Kingdom of Majapahit in the 14th century.

A replica of the statue of Lara Djonggrang at Prambanan temple was placed in the Lara Djonggrang dining area, a romantic candle-lit wine lounge, with long wooden benches and shadow puppets on the walls.

The tale of Lara Djonggrang is about a Javanese princess who refuses to marry prince Bandung Bondowoso who murdered her father. To avoid the marriage, she told Bandung that she would marry him if he could build 1,000 temples overnight. Assisted by demons, Bandung finished 999 temples before Lara Djonggrang tricked the demons into thinking it was dawn. She fooled the demons by asking her maid to pound rice to wake the rooster that crow at dawn. Filled with rage, Bandung cursed Lara Djonggrang into stone.

Lara Djonggrang,
Jl. Teuku Cik Di Tiro 4,
Menteng, Jakarta.
Tel: 3153252
Opening hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. daily.

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