HOT on the heels of Malaysian restaurant Mamak, Shalom Indonesian Restaurant is the latest to open in the city, tapping into the tastes of Melbourne’s international student community. Hadi Ismanto shares his experience.
A stone’s throw from Flagstaff station is Shalom Indonesian Restaurant.
Inside, it’s what most international students have come to expect of the many popular Asian eateries in Melbourne – the decor is simple and the furniture is functional. Aesthetics aren’t the main priority, the dishing up of authentic meals that remind you of home is. That’s what you’re here for.
The restaurant’s name Shalom is a reference to a common Indonesian greeting, and at its Sydney’s flagship store, the restaurant has long been a popular meeting place for the Indonesian community.
The menu offers a respectable range of classic Indonesian dishes including Batagor – a fried fish dumpling with tofu drenched in peanut sauce, Martabak Manis - a thick spongy pancake folded around layers of chocolate, chopped peanuts, cheese or condensed milk and served with a variety of satays.
But what Shalom is really famous for is its Ayam Bakar Bumbu Shalom – a grilled or fried chicken topped with lots and lots of chilies.
For those unaccustomed to the painful pleasure that comes with consuming copious amounts of chilli, you have been warned.
On the first mouthful of the Ayam Bakar Bumbu Shalom, you taste the lovely smokey char that is deliciously characteristic of meat that’s been cooked on the grill. The flavours are balanced, not too salty or sweet. And then… the hit from the heat of the chillies, which intensifies with every subsequent mouthful.
My suggestion is to come prepared with tissues to wipe away the beads of sweat forming on your forehead, and the occasional tear.
In terms of pricing, entrees like the Batagor are around $5.50 with a few exceptions, noodles and soups are between $9 and $12, and mains including the Ayam Bakar Bumbu Shalom start at a reasonable $10.
Drinks and desserts will set you back an additional $4 to $5.50.
On a final note, the speedy service you’ll get at Shalom is worth a mention, which is ideal if you’re looking to get your Indonesian food fix on the fly.
Shalom Indonesian Restaurant is located at 474 Little Lonsdale St and is open every day from lunch to 10pm.