“The first bite was the hardest, but as the big chuck of lamb meat landed onto my palate, something magical happened.”
Out of the myriad restaurants and warung that take up much of the space in Jakarta, only a few have managed to endure through generations and achieve legendary status – well, in the eyes of some, at least. One such great establishment is Sate Tegal HM Sadjim, which started out way back in 1970. HM Sadjim used to push a wooden cart around Bendungan Hilir peddling his now-famous Sate Kambing (lamb satay), but after 24 years, aided with the success of his business, he finally opened up a permanent place that was only fully bought under his name six years after in the year 2000. Two more branches have since opened, operated by his sons.
Situated on Jalan Danau Tondano in Bendungan Hilir, its strategic location on a corner of a street junction makes it easily seen by those who are passing through the neighbourhood. If you prefer to enjoy your meal in peace and quiet, I’d recommend coming here on a weekend, as it can get awfully crowded on weekdays, especially during lunch hours. To cater to the demands of its regulars, HM Sadjim would normally cook up to five lambs on a daily basis.
Astutely, I popped in on a Saturday, so I was greeted by the sight of just six people eating their way through their meals. The place looks a tad unkempt and boasts only a couple of ceiling fans, which explains why it can get a bit hot inside. With the grill placed right in front of the joint right next to the entrance, I could smell the burning meat from my table, while skinned lambs decorated the counter to the left of where I was sitting.
A quick five minutes and along came my plate of Sate Kambing, which was served with soy sauce and fresh shallots. Now, for the record, I’m not much of a lamb eater. Previous experiences have shown that I can get sick just by the smell of it, so I had to muster all the courage that I could before I tucked in to this one. The first bite was the hardest, but as the big chuck of lamb meat landed onto my palate, something magical happened. I didn’t feel nauseous at all, as not a whiff of the typical stench that would emanate from such a dish could be detected by the receptors in my nostrils. It was juicy and tender too. Looks I finally found an eatery where I could actually enjoy Sate Kambing. And I will definitely be coming back for more.
Jl. Danau Tondano No.A8
T: 021 573 3269
Open daily from 10am-12am
Rp.30,000/US$2.20 per person