Bale Lombok is a humble restaurant located at Tanah Abang Raya street, Cideng, Central Jakarta. Last time when we were around the area, we drove around to find a place for lunch. Since we are not too familiar with the neighborhood, we decided to look around and choose a place blindly. It had been a while since the last time we did that, so it was definitely fun! You never know what kind of place you’ll end up with when you make a decision that way, hence the fun begins. XD
Bale Lombok specializes in Ayam Taliwang & Betutu, which are traditional dishes from Bali & Lombok. It’s safe to say that Bale Lombok’s specialties are revolving around these dishes, but for sure they also serve selections of other Indonesian dishes such as Betawi or Sundanese, even “daily” comfort food which are commonly found in Indonesian home.
Talking about the place itself, the restaurant occupies a spot which I believe used to be a house, and what I love most about it is the super spacious parking space in the front. There are indoor and outdoor areas as well, and interestingly, the indoor area has 2 kinds of seating: usual table and chair and lesehan style. The outdoor area is much smaller (and hotter) facing a small garden for the view.
During our visit, we were actually quite surprised that Bale Lombok had many tables occupied, while from outside, the place looked quiet. Actually even the street looked quiet because the area has so many offices and it was reasonable since it was a Saturday noon. I heard that during weekdays, this place is always full of working people who have lunch, thanks to its variety of food and affordable prices.
Tahu Gejrot IDR 15,000
Refreshing tahu gejrot, like the crunchy tofu and spicy orange chili.
Ayam Taliwang Komplit IDR 45,000
Ayam Taliwang is a type of grilled chicken originated from Lombok, Indonesia. After being cleaned, the chicken is grilled halfway, then tenderized with a pestle. After that, it is dipped in cooking oil for seconds, before put in a spicy sauce (garlic, chili and shrimp paste). The finishing is to be fried or grilled.
What I love about Ayam Taliwang is all the rich spices that I can taste altogether at the same time. Almost all that I tried before are always spicy, maybe that’s the signature flavor of Ayam Taliwang. Here, they use “ayam kampung”, so the chicken are relatively small. For this set, I was surprised to see how small the chicken piece was, but the grill mark and all the thick layer of sauce kinda consoled me a bit. XD
The chicken barely had any meat and it somehow disturbed me a lot, but I must say that the spices were really good. However, the pelecing kangkung (water spinach) which came with the set was disappointing. The veggies were okay in term of crunchiness but the chili on top was dominated with tomato and it made everything so wet and blah. Not to mention that it was tasteless.
Nasi Campur Bali IDR 38,000
I can’t say that this is qualified to be called Nasi Campur Bali, but in my perception, it is not. The only thing relevant to Balinese rice was the Ayam Betutu in the center, which was delicious, by the way. I was expecting something more commonly found in Nasi Campur Bali as Sate Lilit, Lawar, and others. Despite all that, this dish was quite enjoyable and maybe sometimes we need to close one eye and just enjoy the food as the way it is. XD
Soto Betawi IDR 30,000
An embarrassing attempt of making the legendary Soto Betawi, this version was totally different from the original one. Doubtful taste, unflattering presentation, sorry to say but my advice is, avoid this at all cost.
Gurame Bakar Taliwang IDR 57,000
Since I can’t resist fish dishes when it comes to Indonesian food, I decided to try this one. Just like the chicken version, the spices really came up strongly and made me happy instantly, LOL. The gurame (gurami if you prefer so) wasn’t really “thick” and looked kind of “flat”, most probably because it also had gone through the tenderizing procedure like the chicken? The meat was okay and I love how all the spices were like, completely absorbed into the meat and I just couldn’t stop praising this while eating. RECOMMENDED.
Es Podeng IDR 18,000
Es Podeng is definitely one of my favorite Indonesian traditional mixed ice along with Es Teler, Es Doger, Es Campur and many others. Although I really like it, I find it difficult to get this nowadays because many people just sell this on the street carts/stalls and it seems that they tend to flock somewhere far from where I live.
The Es Podeng here was more simple but it was very good! I love the ice they used as the base, it was some kind of “es puter” and they topped it with peanuts and chocolate sprinkle. In the bottom, there are many other ingredients like black sticky rice, avocado cuts, and so on.
Es Teler IDR 18,000
This had a beautiful presentation and I was awed by how much ingredients they put inside the glass. Definitely worth every penny spent.
Overall, we had a pleasant lunch at Bale Lombok. The food were good, but not extraordinary, if you ask me. But still, with those prices, we think it’s all worth it. I heard they are opening another outlet in Lippo Mall Puri, West Jakarta, and the response has been quite good. At least now I know where to go when I crave for Es Podeng, so see you again, Bale Lombok!
All prices are subject to 10% government tax
*The Food Escape team are not paid whatsoever for writing this post.
** This review is written based on our visit on 14 June 2015.
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