Quite accidentally I read about this new eatery in a local magazine a few months ago. Dapur Alam opened in February and has been steadily increasing its clientele mainly due to the high quality of food and, I consider this to be the reason why it has become so popular now with locals, domestic and foreign tourists. Dapur Alam means ‘natural kitchen’ in Bahasa Indonesia. Located on Jalan Patih Jelantik, Dapur Alam is nestled in a gully and can be easily missed. However, you will find most taxi drivers know about the place. I went there with my Javanese wife and a Swiss friend of ours who considered himself a connoisseur of Javanese cuisine having spent some months in Jakarta. The first impression of Dapur Alam is one of warmth mainly because of the two open-air pavilions where people sit and eat, and the general friendliness of the staff who come from various islands in the archipelago. The seating arrangements are purely simple. Wooden benches with mock, marble-topped tables give Dapur Alam that, well, natural ambience. There is even a special playground area set aside for kids.
Along the side of the pavilions there is a long row of small kitchens each being signed with the delicious temptations from the archipelago. Each small kitchen (dapur) has their menu displayed and you can order from each kitchen or if you like, just sit at a table and one of the staff will take your order from the extensive menu. I walked around and had a good look at the clean kitchens and chatted with the respective owners. The selection of cuisine is brilliant. For instance, there is food from Makassar (Dapur Makassar), East Java (Dapur Jatim), Central Java (Dapur Jateng), food from Manado in Sulawesi (Dapur Manado), delicious choices from Bali (Dapur Bali), food special in Jakarta (Dapur Betawi), and, there is even Chinese food (Dapur Cina) and if you like your food very spicy then there is Dapur India. Actually, it was mind-boggling trying to select a dish or dishes!. Eventually we decided to have a selection of dishes and have it all laid out on the table so we could individually help ourselves to each dish.
As I inevitably do, I decided that a fish dish has to be on the table and I ordered a very nice 7lb Gurami Bakar (Rp50,000). The flesh was cooked to perfection and the meat literally fell of the bones. My wife, Candika, decided on local and chose the Sate Ayam (Rp30,000). This was soon devoured by the three of us and two more servings ordered!. It was a very spicy (pedas) sate and the meat extremely tender unlike the tougher version one can purchase of the street vendors (kaki lima). Our Swiss friend thought that another chicken dish would be another good addition to the table and ordered the Ayam Goreng Lala and at Rp27,000 it was excellent value. Naturally, we ordered Nasih Putih (Rp7,500) of which there was really too much but it was all eaten, eventually. Of course we all had to have the side dishes and Kangkung Tumis (Rp6,000) and Perkedel (Rp6,000) was ordered in copious amounts, too much in fact. Having completely been satiated we all relaxed, drank Bali Coffee (Rp10,000) and absorbed the atmosphere of the natural kitchen.
Jl Patih Jelantik 81,
Tel: 361 757506
There are no hesitations in highly recommending this eatery and quite happily give it a big 5 stars for the quality of service, the exquisite food, and the general ambience of the establishment.