This venue has closed.
The basement of a mall isn’t the most glamourous location for a new restaurant, but Indonesian outlet Bumbu manages to come off looking pretty snappy nonetheless. The dining room feels calm and serene with a lot of wooden furniture and green upholstery. Set in the bowels of the Pacheer Commercial Center, it’s a pleasant spot for lunch when you want to get away from the madness of Nanjing Xi Lu.
Large windows give way onto a huge kitchen, which looks almost bigger than the dining room, while behind the glass a horde of Indonesian and Chinese chefs busy themselves with preparing dishes from the lengthy menu. There is a couple of pages of starters, soups and salads alongside an array of meat, vegetables, noodles and rice. Spices, especially turmeric, feature heavily as do ingredients such as lemongrass, garlic, ginger and chili. Many dishes combine similar ingredients but use different cooking styles and techniques to deliver distinctive outcomes.
The first dish to arrive, the Lumpia Basah (30RMB), is sadly underwhelming. The four Indonesian-style spring rolls combining beef, cabbage, spring onions and carrot are battered and deep-fried, sounding great on paper but failing to excite the taste buds in reality. A better option is the Orak Arik Tempe (38RMB), which is a sweet and sticky combination of tempe, garlic and dried shrimps, with the addition of peanuts for crunch and chili as a counterweight to the sweetness.
Another good indication of the kitchen’s capabilities is the Gepuk (68RMB) from the mains, a little pyramid of pounded beef with garlic, lemongrass and a sweet soy dressing. The meat is slow braised making it tender, and then pounded and lightly fried, giving it a smoky-sweet flavour, balanced by a side of rice cakes and pickles.
The Ayam Bakar Rica-Rica (55RMB) is another tasty main, offering up eight large pieces of boneless chicken covered in tomato and chili, and topped off with spring onions and fried shallots. The juicy meat melds perfectly with the sweet and spicy sauce, and the combination is further enhanced by hints of garlic and kaffir lime.
The dessert list also provides a host of options, including some Indonesian classics. The Martabak (30RMB) is like a pancake-cum-sandwich-cum-doriyaki. Two large fluffy pancakes are filled with roasted peanuts, condensed milk, chocolate sprinkles and cheddar cheese for a tasty treat, albeit one that may be slightly confusing to Western taste buds.
The six balls of Klepon (25RMB) are another good order from the dessert menu. The rice balls have a green colour from the use of pandan leaves and a sweetness from a melted palm sugar stuffing. Coated in coconut, this dessert makes for a satisfying but quite sweet finish. Bumbu is a solid addition to Jingan’s dining options, especially if you like food made with a lot of spice. Making it even more appealing is the 50RMB lunch set, which includes a welcome dish, rice, sambal and tea, as well as a main. Overall, good value food and sweet and interesting desserts make this one to check out.