Pondok Jawa Timur @ North Bridge Road
North Bridge Road is another makan place worth exploring as there are many interesting offerings. I was invited to Pondok Jawa Timur for dinner one night. Opened by Mdm Indah from Surabaya, this Indonesian restaurant used to be located in Wilkie Edge. Mdm Indah arrives in Singapore in 2006. Armed with her home recipes and passions for cooking, she set up a eatery house at Indonesia Embassy in Singapore one year later and only moved to a full restaurant setup about 4 years back.
The halal restaurant uses only fresh ingredients with their Indonesian chefs cooking up tasty and authentic Javanese cuisine. Bakwan Jagung (Prawn & Corn Fritters, $5.70 for 3pc) is a popular snack sold on the streets. It is a savory treat with a mix of fresh, sweet corn kernels and tiny shrimp in a moist batter with a golden brown finish. A fabulous appetizer to kick start the meal, I prefer it to come in smaller size as it is easier to eat. Nonetheless, these are absolutely delicious when served with a variety of spicy sauces.
One of the main characteristics of Indonesian cuisine is the wide usage of peanuts in many of its signature dishes, such as satay, gado-gado, karedok, ketoprak, and pecel. Bumbu Kacang (peanut sauce) is used greatly for flavouring. In Pondok Jawa Timur, they make 3 different kind of peanut sauces for different dishes.
First is the Gado Gado ($6.90), which is paired with a lighter and sweeter peanut sauce. Then they have the Tahu Telor ($6.90) which has a more sophisticated and earthy petis peanut sauce to go with the fried tofu and egg. I am quite a huge fan of Tahu Telor, and honestly speaking, I still prefer the one I had in IndoChili for their omelette gave a more fluffy texture. Last but not least, Sate Ayam ($8.90) has well marinated chicken meat with peanut sauce that has a delicate balance of savoury and sweet flavours. I was told by my makan kaki that the previous version was much darker and more smoky flavour.
Pondok Jawa Timur’s signature is Fish Head Curry ($32.90). The tender fish cheeks are quite irresistible and I really adore the flavour of the curry that mingled with lemongrass. Instead of using coconut milk, the owner uses fresh milk to cook the curry, so you get somewhat similar taste and texture, minus the calories from coconut milk. However, it lacks a fiery punch which I was expecting. You can pair with any 3 types of rice – normal white rice, pandan rice and yellow rice.
Of course, if you only want to have a quick meal, go for the Mie Goreng Jawa ($6.90). Honestly speaking, I am not a big fan of mee goreng, but this restaurant’s version is pretty good. It is the ‘wet’ style noodles and very flavourful with wok hei.
I also ordered Ayam Penyet ($6.90) that is served with freshly made sambal. The chicken is crispy and tender, but I wish their sambal was more spicy.
If you are looking for Indonesian restaurant around North Bridge road, Pondok Jawa Timur may be one of your consideration. There is not service charge nor GST.
Pondok Jawa Timur
Address: 737 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198705
Tel: 6884 5853
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