Rumah Rasa

The hype: Rumah Rasa is the first Indonesian restaurant in Singapore to use herbs and spices from its own edible garden in their dishes. It is also a halal certified place that offers dishes not commonly found here, at affordable prices.

The vibe: Decor is not this venue’s strong suit. What you’ll find here is an amicable space for lunch and dinner that doesn’t draw your attention away from the food. Just as well, since the reason why you’ll want to come isn’t for some Insta-worthy set piece, but for the cuisine itself.

The food: Apart from the penyet and nasi padang restaurants dotted around Singapore, Indonesian food is not all that common here. There are the few usual tourist haunts, but now thanks to the reopening of Rumah Rasa (the restaurant became Street 50 back in 2012 but has since reverted into Rumah Rasa in July), you can safely add this establishment into your list of places to have dependably good Indonesian eats like sup buntut ($7.90), ayam panggang ($13.90) and tahu telor ($7.90).

The common tahu telor is exceptional here. Made using six eggs, the towering tofu omelette is best eaten after crushing the fluffy mess with a spoon and drenching it in the puddle of homemade sauce beneath it. Not so common is the sate lilit ($7.90 for four sticks), or Balinese satay, that has spiced minced chicken served wrapped around lemongrass sticks, making it that much more fragrant and juicy. The chewy pempek palembang ($7.90)—fish cake made using tapioca flour served with vermicelli and eggs—is another Indonesian street eat that makes its rare appearance here.

Highly recommended is their ikan kakap bakar cianjur ($28.50), a whole grilled sea bass that is tender and addictive thanks to the use of homegrown herbs and spices as well as the chef’s special sauce. And while the goreng pisang ($6.90) served with vanilla ice-cream is their recommended dessert, we’ve found that the humble bubur hitam ($6.90), served cold with coconut ice-cream, proves to be a better sweet ending.

The drinks: There is the ever-popular es alpukat ($9), or iced avocado smoothie drink, served here, which is yummy, but at the same time, too filling an option if you’re already planning to order several dishes. Go for the soda halia ($6) instead, made using ginger grown in their own garden.

Why you’ll be back: There are only a handful of fine, halal Indonesian restaurants around town, not to mention one that goes the extra mile to operate an edible garden in order to add that extra dash of natural flavour into its dishes. On Friday and Saturday dinners, there’s even a buffet option with all-you-can-eat seafood, satay, rojak, outdoor BBQ eats and more.