[Jakarta, Indonesia] A travel agent or a restaurant?
This is what went through my mind the first time I stepped into this eatery. There are tons of Minang and Padang restaurant throughout Jakarta, but nothing look like this, from the façade to the name.
Instead of food menus, you would be greeted with travel schedule and prices. Do not worry, you are probably at the right place.
Located in Central Jakarta’s Jalan Sabang which is a popular culinary street destination, Natrabu is actually a famous Minang (Padang) eatery, considered one of the best in the city.
Founded in 1958 by Haji Rahimi Sutan, there are now 8 Natrabu restaurants, in addition to 2 in Malaysia.
Its fame has reached far, that even 3 of Malaysian Prime Ministers had their receptions there. To top it up, one of the dishes was named after them eventually.
Yes, you can have a Dendeng Mahathir over there.
The main restaurant, adorned with Minang songkets cloths and embroideries, is able to handle a wedding party of 500 guests. It also has two meeting rooms that can accommodate 25 and 60 persons.
In terms of the interior, Natrabu meticulously puts up full-on wedding decoration, complete with the bride and groom mannequins wearing traditional Minang wedding attire.
Can be considered a unique eating experience with those bright gold costumes as points of interest.
So where’s the “Sinar”, “Minang” or “Sari” – a common terms that usually used by Padang eateries?
It turns out that Natrabu is an abbreviation from National Travel Bureau which is actually the family core business since the late 1950s before they decided to concentrate in F&B business in 1960s.
To these days, their travel agents are still in operations.
You can have your fill of dishes from Nasi Putih, Nasi Goreng Minang, Ayam Gulai, Rendang, Kikil, Telor Balado, Salada Minang, Sambel Hijau to Kerupuk Udang.
What makes Natrabu different from other Minang or Padang food restaurants is that most of their ingredients are fresh and sourced directly from West Sumatra.
Even their rending is made of wagyu beef.
The pieces were cooked rich in spices, resulting in juicy and tender finish with the seasoning well absorbed into the meat.
Other recommended dishes include the Gulai Ayam (chicken cooked in curry-like spicy), which can be described in three words – savoury, thick and rich.
The Dendeng Mahatir which is a type of Beef Jerky, named after Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, has a chewy, agreeable texture that is not too dry. You can’t have a dish name after a PM, and taste bad. Well…
One thing I love about Padang restaurant is that you almost feel like royalty once you are seated.
For tourists, take note that there is NO menu available.
I love the fact that they actually carried the plate “The Padang Way” where a waiter would stack plates of food dishes on their forearms, and roam around the dining room. Can be an eye opener to many.
Glad to see that Natrabu is still maintaining this Minang tradition.
Other Related Entries
Sari Bundo (Jakarta)
Lucky Cat Coffee & Kitchen (Pasar Festival No. 1, Jakarta)
HolyDuck (Pantai Indah Kapuk, Jakarta)
Benedict (Grand Indonesia, Jakarta)
Maple And Oak (Menteng, Jakarta)
* Written by DFD͛’s Jakarta Food Correspondent Wilson who loves exploring NEW food places in both Indonesia and Singapore. DFD pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.