Jakarta Street Food Scene : Truly Indonesia
Dapur Babah Elite
Dapur Babah, the first culinary outing by Indonesia's acclaimed Tugu Hotels Group, is set in a pair of refurbished 1940s shophouses located just off the city's central Merdeka Square on Jalan Veteran 1. This historic location was once one of old Batavia 's most fashionable streets, with most of its buildings owned by a rich sheik from Jemen. The restaurant exudes a floating out-of-the-world kind of romance from its every single corner, filled with beautiful artworks.
Dapur Babah specializes in “Babah” cuisine, original recipes derived from the cross-cultural marriage of Chinese settlers and native Javanese women that emerged in the colonial area. Recipes and ingredients have been thoroughly researched from around the island, creating a medley of classic Peranakan specialties.
Anhar Setjadibrata, owner of Tugu Hotels and a long-time collector of Indonesian antiques, with daughter Lucienne, designed the restaurant and adjoining bar to capture the rich nuances of early-20 th -century Java. The result is a menagerie of period mementoes and paraphernalia, such as reclaimed teak furniture, rustic housewares (scales, meat grinders, pestles and mortars), and the signboard advertising Hap Liong Tailor, the shophouses original tenant. Rooms are painted in bold pastel-crayon combinations of red and green, black and red, purple and blue, while stone statues of Chinese, Hindu, and Buddhist gods smile down on dinners.
All of these aspects of the culture are celebrated at Dapur Babah, which is elegantly decorated with photos of prominent Babah families, some fabulously wealthy, such as the powerful sugar baron Oei Tiong Ham and many other artifacts of the colonial period, such as bulky VOC emblem from the 17 th century and a room separator from the Ming dynasty. At the back of the establishment is a semi-open terrace, inspired by the kitchen of the Babah Oei family, with a statue of a kitchen goddess, old Chinese glass lanterns and other kitchen utensils from the period.
|Address||:||Jalan Veteran 1, Jakarta Pusat|