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Kembang Goela Jakarta: The Sense of Belonging

Published 06 January 2011   

Dining in Kembang Goela is like visiting a best friend’s house that’s filled with familiarity and good food. Ve Handojo still recommends.

Batik Master Iwan Tirta still visits Kembang Goela every now and then just to look up to the walls and observe the elegant pieces of his creations which are hanging around the main dining room of the restaurant. He will ask the staff to remove some of them, and replace them with new ones. Regular diners can tell which items are new, and they smile in contentment. The beauty of Indonesian heritage never fades, just like the quality of food and service in Kembang Goela. I suspect familiarity is the key to the success of Kembang Goela being so highly consistent. First timers will instantly feel at home when they step in this high-ceilinged restaurant.

The fresh smell of the place, the friendly smiles, and the hassle-free attitude of the staff work all together to make guests feel instantly at one with this place. I mean, home. This high sense of belonging is what keeps the staff caring so much about maintaining the quality, and the diners to keep coming back. That’s why the dendeng balado – beef that’s thinly sliced, dried, spiced, then fried – is still as addictive as ever. It’s crunchier than a couch potato’s Pringles, and much tastier. And, that’s why the sop asam iga is as delicious as ever. The tender meat is bathed in a clear soup with throat-clearing sourness. Pinch the tiny chili inside the soup with your spoon, and let it squeeze out the hot sensation. It will give each spoon of the soup an extra, harmless sting.

Whoever Yance is must be flattered to see what is Sosis Oom Yance – Unce Yance’s Sausage – here. It’s a one-metre long chicken sausage that is so juicy it literally makes your mouth water with each bite.

Gurame kremes is another magic trick. The fillet of gourami fish is dressed with something as soft as cotton fibre, but golden, and tastes like heaven. They are made with egg slowly poured into the boiling cooking oil while being stirred vigorously.

Finish the meal with super excellent kopi luwak, and you’ll get a beyond-perfect Indonesian dining experience. Kembang Goela embodies the spirit of excellence in a very subtle and humble way – a true national culture that it successfully maintains. And, so very deliciously.

Kembang Goela
Plaza Sentral
Jalan Jend. Sudirman Kav. 47-48
Jakarta Selatan
Tel: +62 21 520 5625