Indonesian doesn’t only has thousands of paradise destinations, but it also has indigenous foods — one of the reason why I am so proud to be part of it. This country has many island across nation, lead on different culture that affect on different taste. Let say, West Java which dominantly live by Sundanese people, it has a typical sweet and non-spicy cooking. West Sumatera in the other hand well known for its Padang food which totally the opposite of it. Minangkabau people dominantly served spicy and used coconut as common ingredients.
Exploring Indonesian cuisine one by one will never end but having all various kind of the foods in one dining is possible, Star Anise Restaurant Bali made it happen. Taking a dining concept from Colonial Regime, the restaurant serve Indonesian Grand Rijsttafel — a long rice table consist of up to 20 Indonesian side dishes.
THROWING BACK RIJSTTAFEL: THE FLAMBOYANT RICE TABLE
Rice table or what so called Rijsttafel is typically dining popularly found in Netherlands. How this dining can be adapted in Indonesia is not far from the 350 years of Dutch colonial regime in this country. Back then, this long rice table was served in the conglomerate family who ruled the government. The dining considered as flamboyant because it served more than 10 side dishes while usual Indonesian dining only accompanied by 2-3 side dishes.
The fascinating thing is, concept of Rijsttafel is actually similar with how Minangkabau people served Nasi Padang. Side dishes are plated in small portions and It will be arranged alongside the table as people sit to have their dine. Various choices of food enable them to choose which one they prefer to accompanied their main dish, rice. Up until now, Rijsttafel is still rarely found in Indonesia because somehow it considered as extravagant.
INDONESIAN GRAND RIJSTAFFEL AT STAR ANISE RESTAURANT BALI
Star Anise Restaurant, as how it is named after one of Indonesian most commonly used spices, it shows what the restaurant specialized in — an authentic home-cook Indonesian food. Indonesia Grand Rijsttafel has become a highlight menu of this contemporary architecture restaurant.
Star Anise’s Rijstaffel consist of 22 side dishes vary from the archipelago. All of the dishes were plated in small ceramic square bowls and arranged above small wooden custom table made from teak with aluminium covered, heated with candle. Ordering this menu, I’ll get to explore various kind of taste from the spiciness of Balado Fish, saltiness of Opor Ayam, nuttiness of Rolled Gado-Gado, smokiness of Sate Lilit, crunchiness of Orek Tempeh, to the sweetness of Cassava Cake. Other side dishes that also available such as Perkedel, Sambal Telur, Sate Ayam, Otak-Otak, Rempeyek, Tumis Kacang Panjang Bumbu Kuning, Tahu Telur, Sambal Udang, Tumis Sayur, Terung Goreng, Ikan Asam Manis, Sambal Terasi, Soy Sauce, Soto for soup and Es Campur for desserts.
One of my favourite above all is their Gado-Gado which well present in roll, just like a sushi. Others that hits my tongue are Sambal Udang and Chicken Satay. Otak-otak and terung goreng were my less favourite among all. I couldn’t taste the fish on it’s otak-otak while their terung goreng was too breaded.
These 22 dishes are costumed for minimum two persons. The Rijsttafel will get longer as there are more people on the table. When it happen, same side dishes will be located far from one another. This placement has a wisdom purpose to enable people on the table communicate well while sharing their foods.
Aside Rijsttafel, Star Anise also come up with ala carte menu, highlighted the popular ones is Nasi Tumpeng — the sharp coned rice that become Indonesian culinary icon. Star Anise’s Tumpeng consists of two layered rice (steamed and yellow rice), covered with banana leaves, and accompanied by several side dishes including fried chicken, urap, perkedel, sambal, fried anchovy, and fried noddle — all together plated in tampah (round big wooden container). Just like Grand Rijstaffel, one package of this Nasi Tumpeng will also get Soto (traditional Indonesian Soup) and Es Campur (Indonesian style mixed shredded ice).
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
It isn’t Bali if there are no traditional attraction to show.
Having a dine at Star Anise Restaurant is best on the evening because you’ll get to enjoy contemporary traditional dances. For total 4 dances will be performed every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday started from 18.30. I stayed at the restaurant after my late lunch just for this and didn’t regret since the dances were worth to see. The dancers were young, beautiful and flawless. At the end of the performance, you’ll also get a chance to take some photos with those beautiful lady.
AFTER TASTE OF THE SPICE
Spending my afternoon until evening at the restaurant felt like I’ve been visiting an Indonesian traditional palace. I got to taste the authentic Indonesian food which was the first Grand Rijstaffel I’ve ever had. Night view at the restaurant totally different with the afternoon. In the afternoon the place looked very old but on the evening it was more lively with lamps enhancing the ambiance. Classic dances performed in the backyard made the guests indulge in the traditional atmosphere, which was nice. Place was not to crowded, making the dine more private. I ended my night staying at The Kana Hotel located just couple walk behind the restaurant.
If you intended to visit Star Anise, the restaurant is located a bit in the corner of Kuta, precisely in Jl. Dr. Setiabudi No. 8. You can reach it around 10 minutes by car from Segara Beach. It’s around 1 kilometers away from center of Kuta.
STAR ANISE RESTAURANT BALI
Jl. Dr. Setiabudi No. 8, Kuta, Bali 12940
Everyday, 09.00 – 22.00
Yes, out door area