In­done­sian Din­ing

Where Paris - - Dining -

The warm el­e­gant at­mos­phere at Djakarta Bali, a charm­ing In­done­sian restau­rant in the cen­tre of Paris, is ex­plained by the fact that the Hanafi fam­ily have been wel­com­ing guests here ever since 1985. There’s a fas­ci­nat­ing back­story here, too, the se­nior Mr Hanafi had been the In­done­sian am­bas­sador to Cuba and a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter, but chose to stay abroad af­ter a regime change in In­done­sia. “We re­ceive guests at our restau­rant like we would re­ceive them in our home,” says Nina Hanafi, his gra­cious daugh­ter, who founded the restau­rant, where the din­ing room is dom­i­nated by a golden Bud­dha, silk ban­ner and slate walls. Un­less you’re a knowl­edge­able fan of In­done­sian cooking, the best way to meet the var­ied kitchen of this is­land na­tion in south­east Asia is with the ex­cel­lent value 35-euro Ban­dung Menu Ri­jsttafel (the word ri­jsttafel means rice ta­ble in Dutch, and is how the Dutch re­fer to this sort of tast­ing menu in a coun­try that was their colony for three cen­turies). You start with the sooth­ing Soto Ayam, a rich chicken soup with rice and veg­eta­bles, and con­tinue with lumpia, deep-fried spring rolls, chicken sa­tay (peanut sauce), and umami rich rend­ing dag­ing, beef mar­i­nated in co­conut milk with In­done­sian herbs. By turns del­i­cate and fully flavoured, In­done­sian cooking is sooth­ing, so­phis­ti­cated and sen­sual, and this is a won­der­ful place to dis­cover it. – A.L.

Djakarta Bali 9 rue Vauvil­liers (1st), 01 45 08 83 11

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