I finally had the opportunity to try Pondok Indonesia Restaurant for dinner.
What was entertaining and perhaps should not have been surprising was how so much of their language in their menu was similar or the same to Filipino. Even without the detailed description of what the dishes were, the four of us could probably guess the main ingredient just from names of the dishes alone.
We ordered four dishes plus steamed rice to share amongst us. The best dish was H’s pick – Gulai Kambing or Lamb Curry. (Note #1: Kambing in Filipino means goat.) First, presentation does give it points, as I adored the little wok/warmer the curry came in. This picture does not do it justice. I wish I had a set for my home.
While the overall portion was smaller than we expected, the flavours were outstanding! The lamb was very tender, and the herbs and spices they put into the dish were just the right balance with the coconut milk and curry leaves. If this was my only entree, I could have easily finished this off with steamed rice by itself.
M chose Terong which is eggplant. (Note #2 – this is Talong in Filipino). The dish was very simple and spicy. You can choose mild, medium or hot and we chose medium. It looks like the egg plant was grilled, but just enough so not underdone, nor overdone. Then it was topped with chilli paste and red pepper. I did not taste the candlenut, lemon grass and dried shrimp that was described, perhaps the two main sauce ingredients overpowered it overall.
The most ordinary dish, but still delectable was the Udang in Goreng Mentega sauce, otherwise known as Tiger Prawns in lemon, garlic and butter sauce. No words really similar to Filipino, but a succulent dish, nonetheless. Also the portion was great, plenty for four to share. Definitely a stock dish that benefits the overall menu.
My choice was the Bihun Goreng. (Note #3: Bihun an easy giveaway to bihon for us Filipinos.) The dish was basically a spicy Filipino pansit (noodle dish). I still enjoyed it. Again we had ordered medium, and with such thin rice noodles, I think that is just enough heat. One notch up could make the noodles difficult to down.
I believed we were served by Catherine herself, the founder of Pondok. While initially service was a bit cool, she warmed up as the dinner went on. We were having such a great dinner conversation we didn’t really mind and the food was pretty good all-in-all.