Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mandaga' Canteen at Wijaya

I've always been curious about Mandaga's ever since its opening in Grand Wijaya Center. It is located nearby my family's usual barbershop, Royal Barbershop, and Indomaret within Grand Wijaya Center. You can clearly see it within the row of offices and shops right across the road from K-Mart. As I enter the restaurant, I immediately liked it. I got seated on the first floor of the restaurant, nearby the stairs to the second floor and right by the big windows. The spot is decorated with wooden furniture, sofas, and vintage lamps and plates that were dominated with the color yellow.

Gulai Kambing (IDR 40.000)
This mutton curry is served with rice cakes or lontong and then garnished with crackers and served as is in the bowl. There were a generous amount of mutton slices that goes in a good ratio to the lontong. I did not particularly tried out this dish but by the look of it, it would be best if the curry can get a bit thicker so that it's flavor enriches the whole dish. My brothers liked this dish and stated the same thing, that the broth could've been more flavorful with added seasoning and coconut milk in it.

Soto Padang (IDR 31.000)
Quoting the Mandaga' Canteen menu, Soto Padang is "... A west Sumatran clear soup filled with vermicelli, potato cakes, and crispy beef" and that it is served with rice and crackers. The soto Padang served here were pretty good and there were enough topping to go around. The so-called 'crispy beef' or beef jerky that were sliced thinly were aplenty. Personally, soto Padang is not my favorite food from my hometown but this one is passable. The sambal and lime wedge on the side will also give you an extra freshness to the soup which was pretty light and not too heavy as other soto Padang I previously had.

Nasi Goreng Ikan Teri Cabe Hijau (IDR 31.000)
This dish came out blazing hot and it's portion were good for one. This particular fried rice is not exactly what you will find in a traditional Padangnese restaurant, but the touch of the West Sumatran cuisine can be tasted through the green chili paste that is added to the fried rice. The fried rice is cooked alongside with peas, carrots, and corn and it tasted more similar to Chinese fried rice despite the additional green chili paste slash sambal. The dish is served with emping and a sunny-side up that was unfortunately not runny. This dish was also not spicy.

Mie Goreng (IDR 32.000)
This is a classic Padangnese fried noodles served with fried sunny side up, crispy beef and red crackers (my family always call it "krupuk merah"). I didn't personally try out this menu but this was pretty much what a Padangnese fried noodle is, full of spices but without the use of sweet soy sauce and dark sauce that is identical of the Javanese fried noodles. We also had the Mie Kuah Mandaga' which is basically noodle served with coconut milk broth and topping similar to what is seen on the fried noodles above. I liked the Mie Kuah Mandaga' noodle soup best as it is richer and its soup were delicious and filling -- it was also one of the most recommended menu here.

Sate Padang (IDR 36.000)
The Padangnese beef skewered and drizzled with the spicy savory sauce were a hit on the table. The sauce was a bit too sweet for my taste but I liked the fact that they give out cuts lean beef and beef tongue within the plate to give out a variety. This dish is also served with rice cakes or lontong for added carbs to the plate. The fried shallot gives out crunchy bits and the green onion was served as a garnish instead of being cooked alongside with the sauce.

Ayam Goreng Saus Telur Asin (IDR 35.000)
I think this is the best menu all-around that I tasted on that one day. The chicken is fried with light batter until it is crispy and golden brown, then were drizzled with a heavy amount of buttery salted egg sauce. It was served freaking hot and despite being drizzled with sauce, the chicken skin remained crispy. The balance of saltiness and a hint of sweetness goes out really well. I wish I had eaten this menu whole but I only get a little taste as it was my brother's extra order. This dish is also served with sambal and rice.

Teh Tarik 'Tarik Mang' (IDR 15.000)
Teh Tarik Mang is a local milk tea brand that is now growing in Jakarta. I'm happy that they serve this particular brand of milk tea. Unfortunately, they only offer three out of the variety of flavors offered by Teh Tarik Mang. I like how milky it is, that besides the Green Tea and Original Thai Tea flavor, the rest of available flavor just taste like milk in a flavor of your choice... which I liked! After my visit here I would often get a cup of Teh Tarik Mang from my campus' canteen.

I really liked all the food I tasted that day and the ambiance of the place were just so comfortable. There's WiFi available around the restaurant. It was so simple but it really uplifts me with several notes of old-school vibes and the feeling as if you're at home. The service itself were on-par, but nothing special as many of the staffs were hanging around the counter and cashier at most times. The mains however always come right off the stove and were served hot, if they can do it with better timing it will be even better. There were also other foods aside from Padangnese, but you can still taste the subtle influences. I really appreciate it and for that, I will definitely come again. I wonder... when will be the next time my brother will get a haircut?

Mandaga' Canteen
Grand Wijaya Center
Jl. Wijaya 2, Blok C No. 40
South Jakarta