Besides being renowned as a hotbed for affordable textile, shoes and spectacles, Pasar Baru is also home to various delightful treats and delicacies. One of the most celebrated joints here is Bakmi Gang Kelinci, which already has branches inside the biggest of shopping malls in Jakarta. However, I also chanced upon a place that will appeal to chicken lovers: Ayam Goreng Aroma.
A much more capacious Ayam Goreng Aroma outlet can be found in Matraman, but its Pasar Baru shop is found right across Hotel Antara not far from Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara. Despite its rather compact facade, it houses a very comfortable environment. There weren’t many other customers during the afternoon when I was there – probably due to the fact that lunchtime had long passed – so the waiter was pretty prompt in bringing the menu over.
Specialising in everything chicken, its menu entries include Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Lontong Cap Gomeh (rice cakes with various side dishes), Ayam Goreng (fried chicken), Soto Gebyur (chicken soup), and Ayam Rica-Rica (spicy chilli chicken). You can either choose a set with or without rice, and besides steamed rice, they also have lontong (rice cakes) and nasi gurih (steamed rice cooked in coconut milk) on offer. It also has a range of appetisers, from Tahu Gejrot (spicy tofu), Tahu Pletok (sliced tapioca-stuffed fried tofu), and Tahu Petis (fried tofu with black shrimp paste) to Asinan Betawi (pickled vegetables) and Tempe Mendoan (deep-fried tempeh with spiced batter).
I placed an order for two dishes and they didn’t take long to be served. The first one was Ayam Saus Padang (chicken with Padang sauce) that was placed inside a glass bowl. It consists of cuts of chicken meat that are still stuck to the bones and splashed with a reddish-coloured sauce with slices of bird’s eye chilli, red chilli, and green pepper. Adequately hot, the sauce wasn’t too strong and should be able to satisfy those who are not exactly fond of spicy food yet yearn for that extra something while eating. One feature that I particularly enjoyed was that the chicken was fried first prior to being showered with the spicy sauce, lending a juicy touch to its meat.
Up next was its Sate Gebyur Banyumasan (chicken satay with curry sauce), which came in a clay bowl that gave off a unique feeling when my spoon hit the bottom of the container and enhanced the authenticity of the dish. Comprising five skewers of chicken meat and rice cakes that are immersed in curry and doused with peanut dressing, I was rather worried that it would taste rather odd with the curry sauce. It turned out that my concerns were pointless as the tender chicken meat fused well with both its condiments. The rice cakes were also smooth to the bite, while my favourite part was when they sponged up the sauce, leaving the peanut bits around.
Jl. Antara No. 39, RT 7/RW 1,
Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta
T: 021 351 3367
Open daily from 10am-10pm
Rp.60,000/US$4.40 per orang