Nestled in a quiet street of Paris 1st arrondissement, Djakarta Bali offers you to taste a sophisticated but rather unknown food: Indonesian food.
As soon as we’re inside the restaurant, the hustle and bustle of the Parisian life seems to be far. Here we are, cut from the world, intoxicated by the jasmine incense fragrance that perfumes the place. Thick velvet drapes conceal the large windows giving the place a muted atmosphere. From the outside, we can’t hear anything at all. We feel completely somewhere else. Like in a dream, we let ourselves be ushered to our table. We feel like in a temple, at peace. If at the beginning we almost feel like we have to whisper, we end up feeling like at home. Djakarta Bali magic has happened.
To each place its story, and Djakarta Bali story deserves to be known. This restaurant has been created by A.M. Hanafi, former Minister and Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia who, following Suharto’s coup, has been exiled from his homeland. Welcomed in France as a political refugee, he settles in Paris. Since he can’t go back to his native country, he manages to bring Indonesia to Paris by creating his restaurant in 1985, Djakarta Bali was born. From now on, Nin Hanafi is running the place and keeps promoting Indonesian cuisine in Paris.
Here, we find a cuisine prepared with love and in line with products and traditions. Here, everything is homemade, yes even the prawn crackers. Since the place is a true embassy for Indonesian food, everything is calculated to promote this culture. At the bottom of each page of the menu, tiny notes allow guests to learn some words.
The menu perfectly suits indecisive persons and invites them to discover new tastes: each menu is like a tasting, with more or less dishes, fitting all tastes and hungers. Before we get started, you can go for a cocktail. The restaurant has several original creations including the Djakarta Bali based on pineapple juice, blue curacao and rum. For tea lovers, it’s hard to resist the Sumatra with fresh ginger, a specialty of the place.
If you’re more of a meat eater, you can go for the Rijsttafel Bandung menu for €35 that includes a starter, a Soto Ayam soup with chicken and Indonesian herbs with a bit of vermicelli, a Lumpia and a fried roll with prawns and very lightly spicy vegetables.
As a main course, you can taste the Sate Ayam, chicken skewers glazed with soy sauce and peanut, that will leave you speechless as well as the Rendang Daging, beef stewed for eight hours in a sauce that mixes varied spices and coconut milk.
If you’re more into seafood, the Rijstaffel Djawa menu for €30, should win all votes. On the menu, a vegetable and coconut milk soup, Ikan Balade, fried fish with Balado sauce that brings a sweet and savory taste as well as huge prawns served with coconut sauce.
These two menus are served with vegetables and a sweet and sour sauce, fried vermicelli as well as white rice served in a tiny basket lined with banana leaves on which we can sprinkle home-roasted coconut, a process that requires about 3 hours of work.
We discover a food with a complex taste. We must say that each dish stands out because of a skillfully weighed spice mix. We can say it: it’s art, culinary art. Dessert can bring a sweet ending note to this tasting. The restaurant has – among others – rice pudding, red sticky rice with coconut milk, a Balinese pancake flavored with coconut and even ice cream with a strong taste and a creamy texture.
Once this sweet touch is over, we end this exotic meeting with a cup of coffee. We’re not ready to return to the Parisian life yet: the restaurant wants to show us the gustative pleasures of its country until the very end. You can taste the fineness of the Topi Tubruk or the power of the Kopi Jahé scented with ginger.
When it’s time to go, we almost feel surprise to see the French capital again. We left Paris without really leaving it. We leave from Djakarta Bali and we just want to go back again. By the way, have I told you that on Friday night, it’s Balinese dance show night?
Open on Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
From Wednesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Closed on Monday
9 rue Vauvilliers – 75001 Paris
9, rue Vauvilliers
75001 Paris 1
Cocktail Djakarta Bali: 8 €
menu Rijsttafel Djawa (poisson-crevette): 30 €
Rijsttafel Bandung (boeuf-poulet): 35 €
Spectacle de danse balinaise tous les vendredis soirs