It is easy to get distracted by the décor, but the menu is even more eclectic than the furnishings, and is inspired by the diverse islands of the Indonesian archipelago – home to 200 ethnic groups and a huge range of culinary influences. Original recipes utilise over 60 herbs and spices and the menu reads like a culinary travelogue. Our meal takes us from the steamy jungles of Kalimantan, to the plains of central Java, the rural villages of Bali, and into the wilds of Sumatra.
We start with Tum Ayam, Balinese chicken terrine served on a bed of tender young fern tips with a hot and spicy yellow sauce. The Asinan is an old Batavian dish from Jakarta and makes an excellent vegetarian choice with its crunchy bird's nest of noodles covered in tofu, yam bean and carrot, finished with the spicy punch of a sweet chilli vinaigrette. The Dendeng Sapi from central Java features strips of crispy beef sweetened with the tang of fresh mango pickles, while the Sate Kambing has imported lamb skewers glazed with sweet soy sauce and is served on a grill of steaming coconut husks. The generous Nasi Campur has a melting pot of regional influences, as does the famous Warung Enak Rijstafel – with more than 20 tastings providing a full culinary tour of the islands. If you are thinking about enrolling in an Indonesia cooking course then this is certainly the place to do it, with regular classes incorporating a visit to the traditional markets.
Desserts are equally interesting, the Colenak which translates as 'tasty dipping' is just that, long, thin spring rolls with a filling of brown sugar and banana, with panas, passion fruit and chocolate sauce for dipping. The Kue Lumpur is a dense sultana and young coconut pancake, while the Dadar Gulung - coconut crepes are sweet and moist. Cocktails like the Pimm's Classic and Red Planet (with a garnish carved like a bird) are beautifully presented, and we feel compelled to try at least one Arak cocktail – the Crush Ginger Lemongrass which has been shaken with arak, clove and pineapple liqueur and has a strong ginger flavour.
In between courses I wander around the restaurant fascinated by the design and the décor. The bathrooms are pure pop art and definitely deserve a mention, as do the old fashioned cigarette promotional posters that adorn the bright blue bar; and the long wall covered in postcards, photos and prints. In fact, everywhere I look there is something fun and colourful, which, combined with interesting, tasty food, makes Warung Enak an inspired choice. \AB