In the past few months, whenever we drove past Kota Tua area, there is this large sign of Padang Merdeka right across the road from BNI Building, not far from the train station. As the name implies, it is a restaurant serving West Sumatra/Minang dishes. The place is within walking distance from Jakarta Kota/Beos train station or TransJakarta busway station.
Today, SC and I decided to have lunch there despite the heavier traffic due to the Independence Day holiday. There is no need to be concerned about parking because there are ample spaces at the side and back of the restaurant building. Just look for the large red and white “parkir masuk” sign.
Housed in a restored historical building, Padang Merdeka interior concept leans heavily towards Patriotism (hence the name Merdeka). The walls are adorned with murals and artwork depicting Indonesian national heroes, plus if you look closely at the details, there are traditional patterns here and there in the floor, pillars, counter and even the ceiling.
So we’re seated in the non-smoking area, with the smoking area separated by a glass door near the foyer. Upon seated, we were asked whether we want to select our meals beforehand or go for “hidang”, which means every available dish will be served in small plates on our table. As we believe this is the more proper way to enjoy Minang cuisine, we chose the hidang version.
Plate by plate, the dishes were placed in front of us, there were many dishes to choose from and we only have to pay for what we ate. As usual I chose a plate of daun singkong rebus (steamed cassava leaves) and gulai nangka/cubadak (young jackfruit curry) to share with SC. I also added a piece of ayam cabe ijo (chicken cooked with green chillies) and gulai otak (beef brain curry).
The vegetables dishes were cooked nicely, well seasoned, not too bold/spicy. The gulai otak was also delicious, smooth-textured with a rich but mild flavor. The ayam cabe ijo was also great. They obviously used good quality green chillies for the sauce.
Overall, I find Padang Merdeka‘s food to be very good. The prices are also quite reasonable and I think this restaurant is suitable for eating with clients/colleagues or even with foreigners/tourists. As for myself, if I’m to be honest, I like my Minang food bold and spicy like the ones found in small lapau in traditional markets, but it would be nice to eat here once in a while if one of your eating partners can’t stomach spicy food.
Jl. Lada no:1
Kota – West Jakarta 11110
Phone +62(21) 6919811
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10AM – 10PM