Curiously, Indonesian cuisine doesn’t get much spotlight in the Philippines despite the proximity of our countries to each other – geographically and culturally. Which is a shame, because, judging from my trip to Indonesia last year, it’s one of the most exciting cuisines in the world. With around 18,000 islands, Indonesian culture as a whole is very diverse. This means that the country also possesses a great culinary palette that reflects the culture of each region.
With Indonesian food in mind, Lala, Sarah, Eric and I get lost in unexplored corners of Maginhawa Street looking for an obscure restaurant, the name of which I stumbled upon while browsing Pepper.ph. And so, after a few minutes of walking, we find Indonyaki in Maginhawa Street. It’s a nondescript place with only a couple of tables and chairs on the roadside, which should appeal especially to fans of off-the-beaten-track haunts. Everything here is as casual as roadside stalls go, which is what we’re looking for anyway in this particular moment.
The chef and owner spent some time in Indonesia and Malaysia, which accounts for the choice of cuisine he’s specializing in. That isn’t readily obvious, though, when confronted by a plate of the Indonyaki Lumpia, a dead-ringer for lumpiang shanghai, except these ones are filled with vegetables and served with a delightful garlic-based dip.
The Sate Ayam is great stuff as well, with the tender chicken chunks made more delicious by its savory sauce. At that price, it’s something I could have eaten more of, if we’re not keen on trying to explore as much of the menu as we can.
The Ayam Goreng is the main event. This fine fried chicken accompanied by crispy batter flakes and sambal oelek (Indonesian chili paste) doesn’t have any frills, but it’s good and it does its job of satisfying really well. A half order is enough for four people with modest appetites.
The Indonyaki Rice is a letdown, though. Fried rice normally would have been good by itself but the lack of a distinct flavor, especially for an Indonesian dish, fails to make this memorable unless accompanied by any of the other dishes. You get good value, though, considering that the large serving is enough for us four.
So the food maybe mostly Indonesian, but there are other menu items inspired by dishes from other parts of the world. Such is the Beef Kebab with Pita, a plate of superb ground beef, grated cheese, garlic sauce and slices of pita bread.
It’s not the greatest Indonesian food you’ll have, nor is it the best Asian restaurant by any stretch of imagination. But it’s overall good, satisfying, and affordable. The best part is that Indonyaki occupies a cozy neighborhood and the scene is really relaxing. In a sunny weekend afternoon, much of the dining occurs outside, overlooking a quiet road. Here, away from the main arteries of Quezon City (though easy to get to) there is an overall pleasantness and serenity that pervades.
54 Maginhawa Street,
Teacher’s Village – East,