Living in London is heaven for foodies, but even with the ever-changing restaurant scene, some cuisines seem neglected. One such rarity is Indonesian food. When I think of Indonesia, I’m reminded of my holiday to Bali ten years ago. I’d gone there with friends from Medical school and we stayed in a cute surfing town called Kuta Beach. The food was yummy – a sort of eclectic mix of the South East Asian flavours, which makes sense given the wide ethnic mix of cultures inhabiting these fantastic little islands. In fact over 300 ethnic groups call Indonesia their home!
I was invited to review Nusa Dua, an established classic Indonesian restaurant which used to be located on Dean street and is now in the heart of theatre land, on Shaftesbury avenue.
The food here is all halal (yay!). It’s mid-afternoon on a friday and the restaurant is around half-full. Customers vary from londoners, arab tourists and Indonesians.
We are greeted by the hostess who explains that the food found at their restaurant is comparable to authentic Indonesian home cooking. She guides our ordering to the popular dishes- there’s a lot of choice and it all looks great!
We start with a hot cup of Jasmine tea – this is the most popular tea drunk by Indonesians. The drink is refreshing and cleansing start to the meal.
The meal starts on an absolute high – we sample the Sate Ayam (chicken satay) – grilled chicken thigh skewers doused in glorious peanut sauce and fried onions like from the street food carts in Indonesia.
The Bakwan Sayur (vegetable fritters) are comparable to the indian bhaji but in a much lighter tempura batter and served with a moorish chilli soy dip- delicious!
Our mains arrive swiftly and we opt for the well-known Nasi Goreng (fried rice with egg and shredded chicken). The dish is well-balanced and flavoursome.
This was accompanied by the Kambing Cabe Ijo (lamb chops fried with green chillis and pineapple). I really enjoy the spicy relish that coats the chops but unfortunately the lamb is a little tough for my liking.
The Ayam Bawang Putih (chicken wings fried in spring onion and garlic) are nice but screaming for a sticky sauce to bring the dish together.
The Sayur Lodeh (mixed vegetables in a coconut soup) is tasty and delivers a kick of spice at the end of a mouthful of sweet coconut broth.
We forget to order the Beef Rendang (quite possibly the most famous of all Indonesian food!) and realise towards the end of our meal- oops. By this point we are stuffed and couldn’t possibly eat anything else. So sadly no dessert for me this time but I will be back to try their banana fritters topped with chocolate sauce.
The food is reasonably priced for its tourist-heavy central London location. Lunch comes to around £20 per person and we’ve eaten plenty. My overall impression of Nusa Dua is good. There were some stand-out dishes like the Satay and the Nasi Goreng, which I would definitely come back for and it’s a good option for when you’re visiting China town and struggling to find a halal restaurant!
*Disclaimer: We were invited to review this restaurant. All views are my own.*