Restoran Trio: ACCOMODATING WITH BALANCE

One of the most appealing things about Restoran Trio is its simplicity. They serve food that put emphasize more on balance than extremes.

One of the most appealing things about Restoran Trio is its simplicity. They serve food that put emphasize more on balance than extremes.

TO PASSERS-BY and untrained eyes, Restoran Trio may appear to be unappealing. The exterior is painted with green with Restoran Trio sign hanging above and that’s it. It has always been painted in green, only one time it was painted blue in 1957.

The interior is best described as straightforward with low ceiling, red paper lanterns, small fans, no AC, tables covered with checkered cloth, old clock, and few other things. Inside, I was greeted by classics keroncong songs blaring from old gigantic speaker. It was 11 am and it’s still pretty empty inside the restaurant, the calm before the lunch rush when customers, young and old, swarm the place.

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Restoran Trio is located on Jalan RP Soeroso, inside the elite but nondescript area of Gondangdia, Central Jakarta. It was established in 1947, a venture started by Lam Khai Tjioe who came from the southern mainland China to Batavia (Jakarta’s old name during the Dutch Colonial era) in 1930.

The story started when a wealthy merchant Tan Kim Po offered Lam Khai Tjioe a chance to open a restaurant. The restaurant was a hit and popular with the Dutch. The picture of a fat man with mustache on the menu even was created by a Dutch man. Now, the restaurant is managed by Lam’s son, Lam Hong Kie or also known as Effendy Sumartono. At the restaurant, he can be found behind a desk sitting or chatting with customers.

The food served in Restoran Trio is diaspora cuisine, adapted by immigrant chefs for outsiders’ palates and slowly adapted to its host country. Effendy said this place mainly focused on Cantonese which emphasizes on the use of oyster sauce, sesame oil, marinated black soya beans (tausi), ginger, onions, and tauco.

“Without those ingredients, it isn’t Cantonese,” said Effendy.

However, you can find the touch of Dutch or Europe and of course Indonesian in it. There are more than 200 dishes written in Indonesian and Mandarin on the menu. If you not sure about what to eat, just check the blackboard that contains 42 dishes such as asparagus soup with crab eggs, chicken nan king, bird’s nest soup, and gohiong. These 42 are the best seller among the 200. However, I  recommend you try the noodle, fried shrimp rolls and wud kee chicken.

The noodle has a good bite and is topped with enough proteins and vegetables on the side. A lil bit salty but still taste good. While wud kee chicken is vegetable mixed with chicken that induce a nostalgia of home cooked food. For me, the champion is the shrimp rolls, it has the right amount of shrimp and seasoning. It taste so good even without the sauce.

Restoran Trio has found its way to be accommodating, without straying away from the various roots that inspire much of the menu; that is the key to its longevity.

RESTORAN TRIO
Jalan RP. Soeroso No. 29A, Menteng, Jakarta
T: +62 21 31936295
OPENING HOURS: 10.00–14.00, 17.00–22.00


Written by Tatu Hutami December 5, 2016.

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