Indonesia holds a special place in my heart. Ever since I was a kid, I traveled there frequently to visit family and friends. The best parts of my trip would always be the food. Nasi padang and the various soto dishes always topped my list. Good food was just so very easy to find, from street corners to food courts in the middle of malls.
Restoran Rose, No. 49A, Jalan Raja Alang, Kampung Baru, 50800 Kuala Lumpur
An authentic taste of Indonesia in the middle of KL
Parking is very difficult
A stone's throw away from the Chow Kit area, Restoran Rose is a real find. During the day, they serve pretty decent nasi padang fare. The rendang is quite good, though I usually reach for the lele (catfish) and sambal ijo. As night approaches, magic happens. The sate padang stall opens.
The sate padang they sell here is sliced meat served with a yellow sauce and lontong. The meat is pleasantly chewy, and the sauce poured all over the dish is simply amazing. Complex in flavor, it's usually made with the stock from boiling the meat, mixed with a whole lot of spices resulting in a rich and thick sauce. They give you a spoon to eat this dish with, and after tasting the sauce, you'll know why as you'll want to scoop up every last bit of it. I went for the beef, but they also sell babat (tripe).
I also ordered a bowl of soto paru. The bowl comes filled with fried soun (glass noodles) and a big perkedel ball (fried mashed potato with meat). The perkedel isn't that great but if you break it up it makes your soup a little thicker. Also, ask for a little less soun because they usually pile too much of it on. What I really love about it is the paru itself as I'm a big fan of paru. Even if you're taking your time to eat it, it doesn't get too soggy. The sambal is very spicy though, so be careful.
Other dishes available here are mi goreng (served with pickled cili padi), and gado-gado. They also have little packets of Indonesian snacks, including my favourite emping belinjo. The unfried emping belinjo is also available at an Indo-centric convenience store a few doors down from the restaurant.
The constant highlight of my meal here is the box of Teh Sosro, which funnily enough is still labeled as “Teh Botol”. If you do want the real deal, the previously mentioned convenience store nearby sells a dozen bottles for about RM20. I like to keep it in my fridge to pop open a bottle once in a while and pretend I'm downing a brewski.
If you're feeling a little adventurous, they serve a drink called “bandrek” which is a traditional Sundanese drink. Meant to heat you up on cold nights and clear up your sinuses, it mainly contains ginger and palm sugar. Some take it with condensed milk to take the edge off. Me? The smell reminded me too much of jamu, so I took a sip and that was that. My dinner partner however loved it, grinning after every sip.
So, in the event that you feel like a quick Indonesian getaway, just drop by Restoran Rose. The atmosphere is similar to the roadside restaurants all over their big cities, with everyone from families, office workers, or just a group of young teens all coming by for a good meal.