Another one of my bugbears about living in Jakarta –
A lack of Indian restaurants!
I say this because as someone brought up in Old Blighty (the UK), and having lived in the curry-mecca cities of Birmingham and London, I am more than a little partial to a good Indian curry – and not only after a few beers either!
I realise that Jakarta doesn’t have sizeable Indian communities like either Malaysia or Singapore but that doesn’t offer any consolation when you’re craving fresh naan breads, spicy tandoori chicken and other Indian gastronomic delights.
Of the Indian restaurants in Jakarta most are medium-to-high priced and only a few are in the cheap and cheerful mould.
So what are your options?
Well here’s my list of the top ten Indian restaurants in Jakarta (the ones I’ve visited at least!)
- Satoo in the Shangri-La Hotel – excellent and authentic Indian cuisine as part of the restaurant’s excellent Asian buffet. It’s a classy and plush setting but lacks an Indian ambience.
- Bart’s Eastern Promise - a friendly English style pub with decent British-Indian curries (chicken tikka masala, beef vindaloo etc etc), but not quite your authentic deal;
- Koh-e-Noor – small Indian restaurant which offers moderately priced Indian and Pakistani dishes. The service is not always the greatest, however.
- Restaurant Pakistan – moderately priced food in small and humble restaurant nestled amongst rug stores somewhere out on Jalan Fatmawati but a real bitch to find and get to (unless you live around there, of course).
- Queen's Tandoor Restaurant – great central location on Jalan Thamrin near the famous Welcome Statue but a rather formal and business-like environment. Bit pricey too.
- Ganesha ek sanskriti – fine Indian dining with a view (they are on the 9th floor of the BRI Tower). They also have a branch in Kemang which offers a moderately priced buffet lunch on Saturday.
- Taj Mahal – probably the cheapest and most down to earth Indian restaurant in Jakarta. Located near to Pasar Baru in central Jakarta, where a small Indian community resides, this unassuming eatery offers a limited selection of dishes but at affordable prices.
- Jewel of India – Used to be a good choice if you were in the Blok M area and wanted a curry before hitting the bars. Not any longer though; it’s since closed.
- Hazara - very upmarket joint in the diplomat zone of Menteng. Specialises in dry north Indian cuisine. If you can stomach the very high prices, this is a great place to impress someone.
And then there’s Kinara:
This is probably my favourite Indian restaurant in Jakarta.
Located on the first floor of its own building in the plush expat enclave of Kemang, a great job has been done to create a very classy interior.
One instantly notable feature is the high ceiling – this gives the restaurant a very spacious feel to it. Great if, like me, you are a bit claustrophobic.
Dinner is really nice here. The lighting is on the dim side and candles are placed on the solid teakwood tables to create a very nice and calm ambience.
Thankfully, the background music is played at low levels (there’s nothing worse than having to shout to someone to be understood when dining out).
The cuisine is pretty good as well.
Our garlic naans were fresh and tasty and the whole Tandoori Chicken I ordered was both tender and perfectly spiced.
The lassis are also excellent.
They go down as easily as Beer Bintangs on a hot afternoon - although the original, sweet lassie is the best one.
Prices are moderate given the high standards but top value is the Sunday “all you can eat stuff yourself silly” lunch for Rp100,000++ - although this will probably put paid to the rest of the weekend if you get too bloated!
Kinara Cuisines of India
Jl. kemang raya 78-B
Lunch 12 noon — 2.30 pm (11.30 am for Sunday brunch)
Dinner 6.30 pm — 10.30 pm (1.00 am on weekends)