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A trip to Bali is just a tram ride away. Pile your table high with bowls of glossy mie goreng, crispy roasted duck and pillowy martabak at Melbourne's must-try Indonesian restaurants.
Big flavours, robot kitty waiters (seriously) and lush, leafy interiors. That's the promise when you step down into the world of Kata Kita. This slick Indonesian diner offers Balinese favourites (think five-hour slow roasted pork, gado gado), plus a few new takes on the cuisine. Like squid ink Nasi Goreng and fried chicken bao with salted egg mayo. The Uluwatu cocktail is another unmissable menu item, served at your table with an exploding bubble of nitro wow.
Pondok Rempah is a must-visit for Indonesian foodie fans. Try specials like traditional nasi padang. It comes served with perfect portions of galangal fried chicken, beef rendang, stir fried veggies and punchy sambal. The usual menu is a list of non-stop hits, like veggie-stuffed deep fried tofu, chicken satay, gado gado and crispy chicken sambal. You can also enjoy sweet or savoury versions of the beloved martabak – a thick, chewy Indonesian pancake.
D’Penyetz & D’Cendol
Bypass the pizza shops on Lygon Street for a taste of Indonesia in Melbourne’s Little Italy. A sweet little restaurant with a rattan bar and blue tiled walls, D’Penyetz & D’Cendol is a globally loved chain famed for its tasty Indonesian comfort food. The menu is halal-friendly and features dishes like salted egg tiger prawns, uduk tumpeng rice platters and smashed fried chicken with sambal. The loaded dessert drinks are a must-try, topped with durian, jelly, red beans and more.
YOI Indonesian Fusion
Super loaded martabak, traditional pandan kueh, mie goreng and more. Yoi is a foodie fave for good reason. The restaurant does a stellar Indonesian brunch and even the coffee has an Indo twist. But the must-try dish is the famous salted egg chicken. Buttery, rich and just a tiny bit funky, it’s a deliciously unexpected combo of fried noodles, salted egg sauce and crispy fried chicken.
The island vibes are immaculate at family-run restaurant Warung Agus. Festively decked out in vibrant paintings, tropical palms and colourful umbrellas, this West Melbourne local has been slinging authentic Balinese fare for over 30 years. Expect old-school dishes like coconut braised eggplant, gado gado and babi guling. The roast pork dish comes slathered in fragrant sauce, roasted until crispy. Refreshing fruity cocktails are a no-brainer.
Come for the tender beef rendang, rice sets and warming meatball soup. Stay for Nelayan’s top-tier Indonesian desserts. The fluffy and buttery martabak comes drizzled with condensed milk. Get yours with pandan, choc-peanut or the out-there combo of chocolate and cheese. Or try es cendol, a jelly drink served with coconut milk, durian and palm sugar. This cheap and cheerful buffet-style restaurant is also halal-friendly.
Sleek interiors, punchy flavours, Instagrammable desserts and a hidden laneway location. The modern Indonesian masters (and MKR winners) at Makan have nailed the Melbourne foodie brief. Start with a lychee martini before diving into shared dishes like soft shell crab buns and chilli-salted corn on the cob. The nasi goreng bebek is a crowd pleaser. This fried rice dish is loaded with crispy duck, garlic crackers and pickles.
By day it’s Japanese sandwich shop Meet Sando. But by night, this eatery is an authentic Indonesian diner with a cult following. At Kenangan grilled satay skewers come coated in a thick, glossy sauce, and fried beef ribs melt off the bone. Try nasi campur, fried tempeh and bebek betutu. The roasted duck is given an extra oomph with a topping of crispy chicken skin. A generous helping of sambal is essential, and there are five varieties of the chilli sauce to choose from.
The setting is simple but the flame-grilled Indonesian food at Kedai Satay is fire. Many a hungry punter has enjoyed a quick feed at this King Street restaurant. You can’t go past the signature beef or lamb ribs off the grill. Finished with a drizzle of sticky peanut sauce, they’re just the right amount of sweet. Throw in some traditional ayam goreng fried chicken and wash it all down with an avocado juice.
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