Artful Dining at Dapur Babah Élite
Art is a paradox. Paintings and sculptures may look dead and inanimate, but they’re not really soulless. Art in all forms contains a piece of its maker, a slice of life in it. Having said that, have you ever wondered how it would feel to dine surrounded by artworks? To savour your food while taking in all the artsy beauty around you? This is what Dapur Babah Élite, Tugu Hotels & Restaurants Group’s first dining establishment, at Jalan Veteran is offering.
Take one step inside Dapur Babah Élite, and you can see that this is no ordinary dining place. The restaurant is sectioned into rooms, where each room is in different theme, and every wall is exclusively decorated with one-of-a-kind antiques: relief sculptures of Hindu Gods, classic portrait photographs, and vintage cooking utensils, just to name a few. Pick a room, pick a theme, pick a story.
Chefs and foodies would agree that food itself is art — an edible art. Here at Dapur Babah Élite, the celebrated art is Babah Peranakan cuisine, a unique hybrid that resulted from the marriage of male Chinese immigrants — the Babah — and Javanese women. Since this took place when the Dutch ruled Indonesia, it’s no surprise that Dapur Babah Élite’s menu celebrates Chinese, Indonesian, and Dutch flavours.
For first-time visitors, order a plate of Dapur Babah Élite’s signature dish “Nasi Tjampoer Babah”: fragrant green rice, fried shrimps, pickles, shrimp paste, chicken, perkedel, and a huge cut of rempeyek — the ever-important crunch element. We’re also a fan of their crab dishes and “Bitterbaletjes”. Each dish is crated with Dapur Babah Élite’s whole vibe in mind: traditional, unique, classic. We should warn you though, Dapur Babah Élite does have an eerie air to it, and wait until you hear stories about some of the antiques…
Photo © Dapur Babah Élite
Text by Alexandra Karman