August 23rd, 2010

Rijstaffel at Indomania

Serungdeng (toasted coconut & peanuts)

Serungdeng (toasted coconut & peanuts)

Indomania is one of those restaurants that I visited and then wondered why I had never set foot in it before. I suppose the better late than never adage applies here, and I have Eleanor Hoh (teacher of the Wok Star class I took a few years ago) to thank for hosting the dinner that got us to the restaurant.

The restaurant’s owners, Dutch husband and wife, Pieter and Ineke Both, have created a cute, welcoming neighborhood restaurant in a nondescript section of Collins Avenue. It is also easy to miss if you’re just driving by and not looking for it.

When we arrived, we had a few drinks at the bar with the rest of the group and then took our assigned seats at the table. It was my first time tasting Indonesian food so I was curious to try the many dishes that would form part of our rijstaffel. Rijstaffel means rice table and, as I understand it, is an Indonesian-inspired Dutch meal where many side dishes are served with rice prepared in different ways.

From the moment the first dish — a type of potato croquette filled with ground beef served with a spicy sauce — hit our table, the rest of the meal seemed like a whirlwind, with plates of food landing on our table in rapid succession. I was too busy enjoying my meal to take pictures (my MO of late) but the menu went something like this.

Sateh Ayam – Grilled chicken skewers with peanut sauce

Telor Besegnek – Eggs in curry sauce

Beef Rendang – Braised beef in thick coconut/chili sauce

Cabbage wrapped meatballs

Squid in coconut curry sauce

Banana leaf wrapped corvina with kaffir lime leaves

Sayur Lodeh – Mixed vegetables in coconut broth

Atjar Ketimoen – Pickled vegetables

Nasi Putih – Steamed white rice

Nasi Kuning – Yellow rice

Serundeng – Fried coconut and peanuts

Rudjak Manis – Fruit salad

Spekkoek (spiced layer cake) with coconut ice cream

Standouts were the richly flavored and tender beef rendang, the vegetables in their delicate coconut broth and the squid in coconut curry sauce. The banana leaf-wrapped fish had a surprising heat that I also enjoyed. Truly, the whole meal was enjoyable. And it wasn’t just because of the food. The evening felt like being in a friend’s home with the pleasant commotion of friends passing around plates, talking and drinking at the dinner table. And who doesn’t like that? Pieter and Ineke are closing Indomania for a little vacation on August 29 but will reopen on September 30.

131 26th Street, Miami Beach

Indomania on Urbanspoon

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7 Responses to “Rijstaffel at Indomania”

  1. I’m in love with Indonesian Rijstaffels, my current fad! Thx for joining with D. Enjoyed each dish with its own unique, complex flavors, textures and spices. Love it more because I know how much work is involved and wouldn’t cook these dishes at home. I learned this time round to slow down instead of rushing through the dishes just because they were coming out, a little tip Chef Ineke told me and showed have warned you. On another visit, we made friends with our neighboring table, they liked their dinner so much the previous night, they came back. We are so lucky to have our own Indonesian Restaurant right here.

  2. I haven’t had a good Rijstaffels in years. There used to be an excellent one in Aruba.

    I have the name of one in downtown Miami but have never been.(Bali Cafe)and I don’t know if it is even there any more. This one sounds wonderful and we were planning to go to Hakassam on Wed. or Thurs. now I don’t know whether to wait and go here before they close for the month. Rosalie
    Is it best to go with more than 2 people or sounds like there are enough small plates that two people will work esp if you have friendly neighbors.

  3. @Eleanor – I paced myself with the dishes but it’s a little hard when everyone is passing them around so quickly. I definitely want to go back soon.

    @Rosalie – I don’t think you need more than two people. Maybe Eleanor can weigh in. I have heard about Bali Cafe but I’ve never been there so I don’t know how it compares to Indomania. I think you’ll like Indomania anyway. Let me know if you try it…

  4. oooohhh yum… Ryan and I fell in love w/ Indonesian food in Bali and this just takes me back! Next time try the Nasi Goreng Ayam (fried rice w/ chicken) if they have it!

  5. Rosalie, there’s a smaller Rijsttafel for one, see menu on their site. You can order another entree to supplement and will be enough for 2! Rijsttafel just gives you a great sampler with lots of different flavors in one go.

    Bali Cafe is still there. Not same ambience, more cafeteria. Some dishes I had were precooked, O.K. for quick lunch, not leisurely dinner. Best seat is in the window, cute nook.

  6. Thanks for the tip. I didn’t know this place existed and am definitely planning to try it now.

  7. To Eleanor and Rosalie. Bali Cafe at down town Miami is good and still there. They also serve reystaffel buffett. They only accept CASH only. Have a lot of variety of Indonesian foods and sushi.

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