17th-century warehouse turned restaurant in Old Town - Tourism Indonesia




Sunday, January 27, 2008

17th-century warehouse turned restaurant in Old Town

I'm picky when it comes to places to eat. Maybe I have my priorities a little muddled, but unlike the typical culinary tourist, the perfect flavors and taste sensations are not enough for me.

What I search for is ambiance.

So when I had the chance to have lunch at a restaurant in a restored 400-year-old Dutch warehouse in Jakarta's designated tourist area, Old Town in Kota, North Jakarta, I was more than eager to go.

The plan behind Raja Kuring restaurant was to build a kitchen specializing in Sundanese cuisine and seafood and to provide visitors an entirely different food experience.

"Our guests will not only have a chance to dine but they'll also get a glimpse of the old Jakarta as well," Raja Kuring's director Paulus Wijaya said.

The restaurant's initial target-market was Jakartans and tourists, but today it has proved more popular with soon-to-be -married couples.

The restaurant, which has a capacity of 2,000 people, is completely booked on weekends throughout 2008 for wedding receptions.

"We have around 250 wedding receptions per year on Saturdays and Sundays," Paulus said.

"We sacrificed the theme of the Old Dutch building to fill market demands."

And despite the decor, I thought the food was reasonably good. They boast 100 different dishes with prices ranging from Rp 20,000 to Rp 250,000.

One of the kitchen's specialties, the spicy sour pomfret, is rich in spices and herbs -- chef Kietek Phuat said he used generous amounts of red chilies, lemongrass, saffron and galingale.

The Aneka Rasa Prawn also gave a bite and had a distinct Indonesian flavor including terasi paste made of shrimp.

I also tried the Prawn and Tofu ala Singapore, with tofu produced in Raja Kuring's own kitchen.

For people who are not too fussy about ambiance, Raja Kuring can be a good place to go for a fulfilling meal followed by some karaoke.

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