In spite of being a cultural melting pot, Jakarta seems to be lacking alternatives to global brands and international fast food eateries.
But there are still a number of local authentic eateries in the city, including these three below that offer not only a variety of local cuisine but also a humble and kampung-inspired dining experience to escape the city's hustle and bustle.
Suwe Ora Jamu
This little gem is situated on Jl. Petogogan in South Jakarta. From the outside, it may look like a typical cafe, but wait until you step in through its front door. With its contemporary vintage interior, sitting inside the cafe is like being pulled back in time. Metal plates and cups as well as vintage candy jars add to the nostalgic atmosphere.
As the name suggests, Suwe Ora Jamu serves jamu, a traditional medicinal tonic made from herbs and roots with recipes passed down through generations. The traditional drinks are used and believed as traditional ways to cure illnesses and ailments. Its popular green tamarind made from mustard greens and tamarind offers you freshness as well as the health benefits of tamarind.
If you don't like jamu in any form it is served, no need to worry. The eatery also serves tea and coffee drinks such as cappuccino, macchiato, teh tubruk (pour over tea), and teh tarik (milky tea). For the herbal concoctions, Suwe Ora Jamu relies most of its jamu beverages on the herbal products from Jamu Iboe, a traditional jamu brand from Surabaya.
To fill your empty stomach, various kinds of traditional snacks and food are also available. You can opt for its pisang goreng krispi (crispy fried banana), singkong goreng (fried cassava) or the more fulfilling nasi goreng kebun raya (kebun raya fried rice).
Food and beverage prices at Suwe Ora Jamu range from Rp 12,000 (S$1.20) to Rp 39,000.
If you are looking for a hangout place with a "warung kopi" ambiance, Kopi Legit is a good place to go.
Situated in the corner on the second floor of Pejaten Village, Kopi Legit not only serves traditional Indonesian food and delicacies but also gives you the experience of dining in a small warung, although in fact you are dining in an air-conditioned restaurant at a shopping mall.
Plus, the lush green right outside the restaurant's window will greet you if you choose to occupy one of the tables along the glass window -- a rare view in the bustling capital city.
The establishment's interior is modest yet comfortable with exposed brick walls, traditional wooden chairs and tables, and vintage wooden paintings; adding a rustic yet comfortable ambiance to the place.
A variety of traditional Indonesian dishes can be found on the menu, ranging from light bites such as pisang goreng (fried banana) and roti bakar (toast with various fillings like nutella and cheese) to iga penyet (spicy grilled ribs) and the all-time favourite nasi goreng kampung (traditional fried rice).
To quench your thirst, try some variants of local coffees such as Bali, Java or Toraja. If you have a sweet tooth, try the refreshing es teler (shaved ice dessert with various fruit and jelly toppings), es cincau hitam (iced black grass jelly) or the natural es kelapa muda (iced young coconut water).
Food prices at Kopi Legit range from Rp 16,000 to Rp 47,000.
Although Kembang Kencur is not actually a restaurant, the spot still made the list because it serves food and drinks (if you book the place for an event) and it is kampung-inspired and has a nice atmosphere.
It is easy to mistake Kembang Kencur for a restaurant, but originally the place was meant as a place to hold a small to mid-scale event such as birthday celebration, reunion, family gathering or workshop. If you book the space for an event, the package will include food and drinks. For a gathering of more than 10 persons, a variety of Indonesian buffet options are available for you to choose from.
Located inside the Promenade complex in South Jakarta's Pejaten, the two-storey Kembang Kencur offers a large space that can comfortably accommodate up to 120 people inside. The Luwes Room on the second floor is equipped with a projector and a large screen, enabling you to hold a meeting, corporate training or even a movie screening.
As far as dining options, Kembang Kencur serves a variety of Indonesian dishes such as nasi daun jeruk (white rice cooked with lime leaves), ikan tongkol sambal matah (tuna fish served with raw Balinese sambal), rendang daging (West Sumatran slow cooked caramelized beef), and rujak honje (West Javanese traditional fruit salad served with spicy hot sauce). For desserts, you can try Kembang Kencur's refreshing es mangga (cut mango drenched in slushed ice) or its lychee coconut pudding.