I was once told that a restaurant meal eaten in silence is an indication to the chef that the food is excellent. In that context, Daun Muda Soulfood is a monastery.
The Javanegra group, known for its quality restaurants around town, including the trendy Atico, have turned their attention to Indonesian food with their latest venture, Daun Muda Soulfood. With two floors and plenty of room for larger groups—and with an open kitchen for the curious—this is a restaurant that invites diners to engage in a complete culinary experience.
Focusing on food from Palembang and Mandao, diners should expect plenty of spice. However, chef Andrea Peresthu will tone down the spice level on request. True to Indonesian tradition, the dishes in this Kebayoran Baru outpost are served family style—generously. It’s best to visit with a larger group (you’ll have plenty of leftovers otherwise — which would, of course, make for a delicious meal the following day too).
I was part of a small group of colleagues and we began with rusip daun muda, a mix of herbs and vegetables to get one started. A combination of locally-sourced herbs are mixed with tomatoes, seafood, and a few spices which serve to introduce the diner to the riches ahead.
Seafood is a staple at any good Indonesian restaurant and is especially delightful at Daun Muda. A dish of clams is brought to the table with accompaniments lemon and chilli and a special, secret sauce. For those who enjoy shellfish this is absolute heaven. The clams are fresh and when spritzed with the citrus and dipped into the sauce, the meal is delightful on its own and needs little else. While the leftover sauce would be great with something starchy, just enjoy it like you would a soup.
Another classic dish the sate ayam. Tender pieces of chicken are marinated in a spice blend and grilled to perfection. While I understand the delight in charred pieces of meat, I personally favour meat that isn’t scorched. At Daun Muda, chef Andrea prepares his sate smothered in sambal so each bite is well-seasoned and flavourful. The spices set in and are cooked along with the meat which renders it especially delicious—and there is no charring here!
If the dishes presented so far are a prelude, the star of the show drawing the crowd has to be the nasi goreng kambing, (lamb fried rice). Now, any Indonesian worth their salt will insist on a generous serve of rice in this dis— and chef Andrea delivers. But where he excels is the incredibly generous inclusion of shredded lamb, so that every spoon of rice includes some meaty, well-cooked bits. This platter arrives at the table with the requisite sambal (which diners can choose depending on preferred levels of heat), emping and other accompaniments. The dish is cooked in lamb stock which yields incredible flavour and serves to enhance the richness of the dish.
For its exquisite rendition of Indonesian favourites, it’s welcoming ambience and for its generous portions, Daun Muda wins high marks and is certainly a place to bring visitors curious about makan Nusantara.
Daun Muda Soulfood
Jl. Aditiawarman No.24,
T: 0822 9777 7136
This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine April 2018 issue “Money and Finance”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.