because I can't cook

Garamerica in South Melbourne

Address 230 Dorcas Street


Opening Times         

Tue-Sun     noon-9pm   

Cuisine Indonesian
Visited 23 September 2011

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When I think of Garamerica I think of home; their gentle, friendly environment, their delectable home-cooked meals, their warm, welcoming staff.

With simplistic wooden table and chairs located in what seem to be a dining room of a flat/house, sure the setting was not that of a flashy, upscale restaurant or even your typical, everyday eatery, but Garamerica was easily one of my favourite Indonesian restaurants in Melbourne.

The Garamerica name itself derives from ‘Garam’ and ‘Merica’ which means salt and pepper in Indonesian. Their ordinary service was nothing to be bragged about, but their authentic Indonesian cuisine certainly was. Due to my numerous visits, I managed to taste many of their dishes and so far none of them failed to excite me. Below are those meals I had on my most recent visit:

The Jakartan style beef soup, Soto Betawi, was high on my favourite dish list. The soup was thick, rather sweet, coconut-flavoured, came with generous vegetable, and great to be enjoyed with rice.

The hawker-style beef meat ball soup, a.k.a. Bakso, was similar to what you would get from a food vendor on a random street in Jakarta, minimalist – with only meat balls served in clear soup – but it was as it should have been!

Then there was the Ayam Bakar (grilled chicken) served with salad and rice which was not too uniquely Indonesian but delicious (and well-portioned) nevertheless. Served in a similar way with salad and rice was the Ayam Cabe Hijau (fried chicken covered in green chilli) which, despite the name and appearance, was only a little spicy.

Listed as an entrée but big enough portioned for a main, I actually loved having their Batagor as a side dish. Batagor was fried fish and tofu cakes covered in rich peanut sauce that went really well with Indonesian sweet soy sauce. I loved how crunchy they were and despite the fish cakes, I could hardly taste fish – which suits my tastebuds.

Another favourite side dish to share was tempe goreng tepung which was fried soy bean cake. Came in fours, tempe goreng tepung was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside that was also served best with the sweet soy sauce.

To complete my Indonesian dining experience, I would also always have their traditional-style hot, sweet tea to go with my meals. Aah – perfection.

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