The sound of water splashing from the fishpond and the gentle gending (Javanese gamelan music) ditties wafting from the speakers gave off the feeling that I was in one of the villages in Bali – where people are still spoilt by nature far from the bustling foreign tourist crowd. This was my first impression of Smarapura Traditional Resto once I entered the establishment. It was a pleasant surprise to discover such a homely traditional eatery amongst the modern cafes in Tebet.
Owner Made Repel Sandji established this Balinese restaurant in 2010. Its moniker “Smarapura” – which is also the name of Made Repel Sandji’s hometown – means “a beautiful and happy place”, and it has become its mission to provide such a venue that has more or less hit its mark due to its delightful ambience. Another aspect that lends an authentic Balinese touch to the atmosphere is the gapura (gateway) that decorates the frontage of the building, which was obtained and sent from Bali.
Besides the semi-alfresco area that is decked with wooden chairs and tables, customers are also able to sit lesehan-style (on the floor with a mat) at one of the saung (huts) that surround the pond. I chose to settle myself at one of the latter that stands right next to the fishpond. The menu here is divided into sections including Denpasar, Jimbaran, and Ubud, with honest-to-goodness Balinese dishes such as Bebek Garing (deep-fried duck), Nasi Campur Bali (Balinese mixed rice), Nasi Ayam Betutu (steamed or roasted chicken in Betutu spices with rice), Sate Lilit (minced meat satay), Pisang Rai (boiled banana with grated coconut), and Rujak Gobet (sweet-and-sour mixed fruits in sambal).
As my tummy was crying out for a spot of dinner, I ordered a set of its Nasi Ayam Betutu. Comprising rice, shallots, Sambal Matah (shallots and lemongrass sambal), Ayam Betutu, and Sup Nangka (jackfruit soup), it was the delicious and savoury Ayam Betutu that took centre stage with its tender meat. If you prefer your food hot and spicy, then dab your chicken with a bit of the Sambal Matah. However, those who don’t enjoy the taste of raw onions should give it a pass. The most unique feature from the meal is the presence of the succulent Sup Nangka, which consists of two velvety cuts of jackfruit that perfectly complements the Ayam Betutu and rice.
You also can read the article on The Jakarta Post: A touch of Bali in The Heart of Jakarta.
Jl. Tebet Timur Dalam II, No. 43,
Tebet, South Jakarta
T: 021 8370 2402
Open daily from 11am-11pm
Rp.60,000/$4.50 per person