If literary luminaries such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald were residents of Medan back in the 1920s, I reckon they would be frequent patrons of Tip Top Restaurant and Lunchroom. Established in 1929 during the Dutch colonial era, the joint is one of the longest serving eateries in the country.
It originally went by the moniker Jangkie– derived from its founder’s name – and was located on Jalan Pandu. By 1934, the restaurant upped sticks to its current location in Kesawan. The classic interior design and its food selections are straight out of the ‘20s, whereby the latter consists of East-meets-West delicacies such as Bistik Lidah (beef tongue steak), Gado Gado (mixed vegetables with peanut sauce) and fried rice. Its bakery also has quite the reputation for being one of the best in the business, and it still bakes its bread using a wood-fired oven and natural ingredients.
During my visit, I sampled its Bistik Lidah Sapi and Moka Coklat (chocolate cake with mocha cream). As soon as the beef tongue steak was placed on my table, it felt like I was transported to the steakhouse that I used to visit with my parents as a child. The sizable and chunky beef tongue was placed on a hotplate, with its gravy served separately on an aluminium saucer. Tender and moist, its tastiness was enhanced even further by the thick sauce, which lent a savoury and slightly sour flavour to the mix.
Made using the aforementioned wood-fired oven, the impressive Moka Coklat emitted a pleasantly smoky aroma. Although a bit rugged in texture, the mocha cream eclipsed any negative aspects that it could have had.
Jl. Jend. Ahmad Yani No. 92A-B,
Medan, North Sumatra
T: 061 453 2042
Open daily from 8am-10.30pm
Rp.100,000/US$7.60 per person