“The grilled chicken was spicy, but not as how I imagined it – I assume that the level of spiciness has been adjusted to cater to unprepared visitors.“
I sampled more than a dozen Ayam Taliwang from various joints during my jaunt through Lombok to discover its culinary landscape, or culinaryscape, as I like to call it now. All of them did not disappoint, yet only a handful managed to leave a lasting impression that has got me hankering for them even long after I’ve returned to Jakarta. One of them is RM Taliwang Irama’s.
First established in the form a small stall by the roadside near Irama Theater – where its name was derived from – in Mataram back in 1988, it was then relocated to its next port of call on Jalan Ade Irma Suryani around 13 years ago. Despite the move and the fact that Irama Theater has long been shut down, the eatery kept its name and has since become one of the best restaurants on the island.
Its growth has seen it now housed in a permanent brick-and-mortar place, while an additional outlet in Lombok was opened as part of its expansion. I came there during lunchtime, which was a huge mistake on my part. Parking space was infuriatingly difficult to find, while the dining area was filled to capacity mostly by domestic tourists. Fortunately, Lady Luck was on my side as I did not have to wait long to get a table. My previous frustrations had taken a toll on my grumbling tummy, as I was ravenously famished by the time I took a seat.
I immediately waved my hand and beckoned one of the restaurant’s staff to come forth and take my order. I went for its Ayam Bakar Pedas (spicy grilled chicken) and Plecing Kangkung (spicy water spinach) to quench my thirst for spice. As a precaution, I also asked for a couple of glasses of Es Kelapa Madu Crystal (iced coconut with honey) just in case all the spiciness proved too much for my palate.
After a ten-minute wait, my food had arrived and ready to be wolfed down. The grilled chicken was spicy, but not as how I imagined it – I assume that the level of spiciness has been adjusted to cater to unprepared visitors. My slight disappointment was alleviated by its flavour, though, which was as though it was sent down from the heavens. It was hands-down the best grilled chicken out of all the ones that I have had during my time in Lombok. Unfortunately, my craving for spice was not quelled by the Plecing Kangkung as well, as it seems that RM Taliwang Irama has significantly dialled down the spiciness with all its dishes. On the upside, it was scrumptious and fresh, so it wasn’t all for nothing.
Jl. Ade Irma Suryani No. 10
Mataram, Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara
T: 0370 623 163
Open daily from 9am-10.30pm
Rp.60,000/US$4.40 per person