IKAN MAS BAKAR RICA NY. FILLY

A trip down to Taman Ismail Marzuki does not always have to be art-related. For us FoodieS, there is the legendary soto Betawi restaurant that resides here and the Ikan Mas Bakar Rica Ny. Filly.

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A trip down to Taman Ismail Marzuki does not always have to be art-related. For us FoodieS, there is the legendary soto Betawi restaurant that resides here and the Ikan Mas Bakar Rica Ny. Filly.

THE ICONIC Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) is an important venue for the citizens of Jakarta and the whole country. For decades, it has been known as a bastion of art and education in the country.

Over the past few years, TIM has also seen a number of improvements from the recently refurbished cinema, a modern building for the art institute, and a new public library for the family. It also houses the one and only planetarium in Indonesia as well as hosts festivals or art and theater shows regularly.

In addition to these wonderful perks that people can enjoy upon their visit to TIM and the dynamic changes outside on the busy street of Cikini, there are two things that actually remain timeless here.

The first one is the legendary restaurant of Soto Betawi H. Ma’ruf which is widely renowned as one of the oldest in Jakarta, paving its way to prominence now since the early years of independence. Back then, Haji Ma’ruf himself carried his merchandise on his back, serving soto Betawi near the Gondangdia Station.

The second timeless eatery inside Taman Ismail Marzuki is a Manadonese-style grilled fish shack. Serving hungry Jakartans since 1984, the restaurant stays true with the old recipes of Ny. Filly’s – the late matriarch of the family. It is actually rare to see a Manadonese restaurant only serving fish since most Manadonese restaurants usually serve the whole cuisine, especially here in Jakarta.

The use of freshwater fish such as carp and gurame is another interesting aspect from Ikan Mas Bakar Rica Ny. Filly, while other seafood restaurants in Jakarta would normally introduce the use of saltwater fish instead as their signature dishes. In addition to that, the fact that this establishment has been in the business for more than thirty years intrigues us further.

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Upon our arrival, you can immediately seen that the restaurant maintains a classical look with the use of bamboo that dominate the whole interior. Despite it’s age, it is kept neat and clean. While it is comfortably air-conditioned inside, feasting on a hearty lunch or dinner on the alfresco side of the restaurant sounds like a good choice too. After all, visiting the leafy and relaxed neighborhood of TIM is a good change of pace once in a while.

However, it is best to reserve first if you wish to visit during the rush hours. Mind you that especially during lunch, Ikan Mas Bakar Rica Ny. Filly is a popular choice for students, the patrons of this art institution, office workers from around the vicinity, and sometimes top government officials.

The signature dish here is the carp, grilled in a very rustic stone oven and smeared with the all time favorite rica-rica sauce. Additionally we can ask for the carp to be fried, served with sour broth, or cooked with the rich and spicy woku sauce.

Alternatively, if you are not up with the challenge of eating the bony carp, you can always opt for other fish such as gurame, kuwe (trevally), or the baronang (spinefoot).

The result from cooking in a stone oven is unimaginably beautiful. The fish, while very fresh, possesses the appetizing smoky flavor throughout. It was also well marinated and the addition of rica-rica sauce makes it not just savory with a hint of spiciness, but also refreshing. The flesh itself was well-cooked, moist, and tender. At this stage, nobody will mind the small bones from the carp and that’s exactly because Ny. Filly’s recipe works really well.

The best way to savor this amazing dish is to eat it with steaming hot rice, together with  simple stir-fried water spinach with garlic, and more rica-rica sauce with another favorite Manadonese relish – the sambal dabu-dabu.

Clearly, the dishes at this restaurant speak for themselves, add to it the whole atmosphere of nostalgia which the fans of Ny. Filly have been enjoying since its humble beginning some 32 years ago. It may have had struggles in the beginning but its perseverance and the wonderful recipes behind the food are what has brought them through until this very day and we hope, far into the future.

IKAN MAS BAKAR RICA NY. FILLY
Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jalan Cikini Raya no. 73, Jakarta
T: +62 3193 6535

OPENING HOURS: Daily, 10am – 9pm
SPEND: IDR 50,000 – IDR 75,000 / person


Written by Rian Farisa Photographs by Rian Farisa July 26, 2016.

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