Although people at the office work hard and tackle work-related issues everyday, the question of where to eat for lunch will creep up and dominate conversations just a little under an hour away from noon. You might think it is a trivial thing, but our canteen is non-existent and West Jakarta does not offer the same range of restaurants to eat as the CBD. Furthermore, we only get one hour of lunch, resulting in anything further than 15 minutes by car (including traffic) guaranteeing a disapproving look from one’s supervisor upon one’s return.
One of the nearest places to eat and also a favorite of mine is Warung Tekko. Warung is the Indonesian word for a street tent serving food. Don’t be fooled by its name. The place is modern, clean and inviting for a quick lunch alone or with a big group of people. Its specialty: the Iga Penyet or smashed beef ribs. This restaurant opened in 2008 and was a split from another similar chain – Warung Leko. Back then, we were familiar only with ayam goreng penyet (smashed fried chicken). The restaurant popularized smashed beef ribs, influenced the menus of other restaurants and since then has opened numerous branches all over the city – including the one in Pesanggrahan. In the past year, they have branched out to other cities in Indonesia like Surabaya, Medan and Cirebon.
The menu keeps evolving to include fried chicken, gurame fish, beef ribs with peanut sauce and various soups and vegetables but I still find the core menu the most delicious.
First up for drinks, the es kelapa cincau – iced shaved coconut and grass jelly – is a perfect antidote for the warm weather. You can also ask for less or no sugar in the drink and enjoy full benefit at less the calories! The shaved coconut with orange juice, avocado juice or iced passionfruit are also pretty good.
Jamur Crispy (IDR 15.000)
For sides, I always get the deep fried crispy mushroom. These are white oyster mushrooms fried in a tempura-like batter. The crispy garlic flakes are a good complement to the flavor. Like the mains, the waiter will ask for the level of spiciness of the dish – not spicy, medium or spicy.
Iga Penyet (IDR 28.000)
For mains, my first choice would always be the smashed beef ribs. This is THE dish the restaurant has built their name on. The ribs are flavorful, falling off the bone and yet very crispy. They come on ceramic plates with the typical Indonesian vegetable condiments and on top of crushed chilli. You get to choose whether you want them non-spicy, medium or spicy upon placing the order. Medium to me is spicy enough. Apart from the ribs, the deep fried gurame fish and smashed fried chicken are also worth ordering. I’ve tried the grilled beef ribs (iga bakar) before, but it was okay. If you want to try all, they have lunch set menus that includes a little bit of everything – a beef rib, chicken, tofu and tempeh (Indonesian fermented soya bean cake).
Indonesians don’t really eat desserts. When they do though, they will look for something cold, usually shaved ice with something, the traditional ones being es campur, es teler, and es alpukat. I find it a bit strange that Tekko doesn’t carry any of those. What they have instead are various flavors of ice cream sundaes and a few Korean ice creams.
Bing Grae Cookies n’ Cream Ice Cream Sandwich & Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich (IDR 10.000 each)
And there is one Korean ice cream that is surprisingly very good – Bing Grae. The outer layers are made with really soft sponge cake and they are a great contrast to the hard and cold ice cream. The most well-known and popular flavor is the Cookies n’ Cream. If you don’t like flavors that are too sweet, the chocolate is a better option.
So when the question of where to eat for lunch comes up again at the office, I would gladly answer Warung Tekko. The place is cozy and conveniently located. Service is fast and the food is not only delicious but reasonably priced. The only complaint I have would be the portion size of the food. It has gotten a lot smaller in comparison to 2010, the first time I tried the restaurant.
Price $ – $$
Warung Tekko Pesanggrahan
Jl. Pesanggrahan Raya No. 7 DE
Meruya Utara, Kembangan
Tel: +62 21 585 9347
See website for various other locations