First thing first, what is a Padang restaurant? It's a restaurant which serves cuisine from Padang, an area in West Sumatra. The food itself is very special but also the whole restaurant concept:
The food is made well in advanced and displayed in stacked up plates by the restaurant window.
P6130385.jpg by el_goretto, on Flickr
Once seated, the waiter will bring out most if not all of the dishes to the table, stacking them up on top of each other if necessary.
P6130377.jpg by el_goretto, on Flickr
Then, you pick which food you'd like to eat and fill up your plate. Each of the dishes come in one or two portions. Say, the beef rendang (my favourite) comes in two pieces but you don't have to eat both pieces, just eat the one you want and leave the other one in the small plate. Traditionally, Padang food is also supposed to be eaten with your fingers (another reason why I like it so much).
P6130381.jpg by el_goretto, on Flickr
Once the meal is finished, the waiter is called and he will count the empty plates or partial plates to write the bill. Whatever is left in the dishes is brought back to the front or sometimes even moved straight away to another customer's table.
P6130383.jpg by el_goretto, on Flickr
About Sari Bundo:
Ever since the first time I came to Indonesia 4 years ago, my love for Padang food hasn't stopped growing to the point where I would eat it several times a week if I could. There used to be a Sari Bundo restaurant nearby where I live in BSD but it closed down which made me really upset because at one point I used to order from them a few times a week until my "bule" digestive system couldn't take the spices anymore. So when my father in law told me that the original Sari Bundo restaurant in Jakarta is reputed as being one of the best Padang restaurants in the capital, I convinced him to make the 2 hour trip to eat lunch there. He also told me that this restaurant has a special secret ingredient: Ganja aka weed. Needless to say, this got me excited.
We arrived at the restaurant at almost 2pm and even if the lunch rush hour was passed it was still very busy. We washed our hands, sat down and here came all the plates. There's a bit of everything in there: Beef Rendang (beef slowly cooked in coconut milk with spices), Ayam Goreng (fried chicken), Ayam Gulai (chicken cooked in a coconut curry), Telor Gulai (same as previously but with hard boiled eggs), Otak Gulai (goat brain), Cumi Gulai (Cuttlefish), Sambal Goreng Ati (fried chicken liver with chili), Perkedel (Fried mashed potato balls), Deng-deng (a sort of beef jerky), Udang Balado (prawns in tomato and chilly sauce), Ikan Bilis (small fry fish with chili), some Terong (eggplant), Cassava leaves and other veggies. Hot fragrant jasmine tea with free refills is also included.
The food was simply delicious, although spicy but not the most spicy Padang food I have eaten. The Sambal Goreng Ati was really crispy and the beef rendang was made with good quality meat and extremely yummy sauce. As for the Terong, it just melted in my mouth.
How about the Ganja? I honestly couldn't tell. All I know is that 20 minutes in the car afterwards I felt really sleepy but I don't know if it's because of some magic ingredient or simply because I ate too much.
Jl. Ir. H. Juanda No. 27, Jakarta