Image by Joongla
It is impossible to fully capture the essence of Bandung's gastronomic scene in a single conversation. The city boasts a delightful array of culinary delights, encompassing traditional Indonesian dishes as well as international cuisines. Today, modern dining establishments in Bandung go beyond simply serving delicious food—they strive to provide unique experiences and narratives. This approach not only satisfies taste buds but also contributes to the preservation and celebration of Indonesia's rich cultural heritage through the art of dining.
Nestled within Bandung's lively Cihapit Market, Joongla offers more than just a dining experience. It is a captivating journey where food becomes a vessel for storytelling. Drawing inspiration from the Japanese omakase tradition, Joongla invites guests to entrust the chefs with creating an exquisite, seasonal meal using the finest ingredients available. The very essence of omakase, "I leave it to you," resonates deeply as the chefs weave their culinary magic.
What sets Joongla apart is its choice of venue. While traditional omakase courses often take place in extravagant, dimly lit restaurants, Joongla embraces the vibrant setting of a traditional market—a hub of culture and history. Here, amidst the hustle and bustle, guests are immersed in an unforgettable sensory experience. As each course is served, the flavors tell tales of Java's diverse landscapes and cultural heritage, transporting diners on a sensory voyage through the Island of Java. At Joongla, food becomes a medium for storytelling, creating an enchanting encounter that lingers long after the last bite.
Recognizing the rich storytelling culture of Indonesia, Joongla integrates the art of storytelling into its concept. They have carefully curated two Nusantara omakase courses, one of which is named "Dari Mata Elang Jawa Turun ke Hati," specifically focusing on the culinary heritage of Java. Through this course, Joongla invites diners to embark on a sensory journey that encompasses the diverse flavors and traditions of Java's gastronomic culture.
In the "Dari Mata Elang Jawa Turun ke Hati '' course, Joongla invites diners on a gastronomic journey to explore the diverse flavors of Javanese cuisine. The adventure begins with Lalapan, a popular dish in West Java, often enjoyed as part of a traditional meal. This vibrant dish showcases a colorful platter adorned with basil, red spinach, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and grilled lettuce. The combination of flavors is enhanced by a coconut-parsley sauce, creating a delightful balance of savory, tasty, and sour elements.
Continuing the journey, Mie Lethek Rawon emerges, fusing the culinary heritage of Surabaya and Yogyakarta. Mie Lethek, characterized by its subdued hues, pays homage to the humble dried cassavas, resulting in a dish with a unique grayish appearance. The noodles intertwine with the intense flavors of Rawon broth, enriched by the mysterious coal-colored kluwek spice. This harmonious symphony of robust and aromatic tastes captures the essence of Javanese culinary traditions. As a refreshing interlude, Konyal Granita takes the stage. Imagine a delightful medley of passion fruit-flavored shaved ice, accompanied by mango jelly and fragrant mint leaves. The chewy konnyaku base adds a textural dimension, while the sweet and sour nuances playfully dance on the palate, preparing the senses for the next chapter of this culinary adventure.
The journey takes an intriguing turn with Smoor, inspired by the concept of Rijsttafel. Originating from the Dutch colonial era, Rijsttafel represents the fusion of Indonesian and Dutch culinary traditions. Joongla's Smoor embodies this fusion, featuring succulent beef semur, accompanied by East Javan corn rice (nasi ampok) and symbolic sayur lodeh, believed in Central Java to ward off misfortunes. A sweet sambal dish inspired by Yogyakarta's vibrant flavors and crispy gendar crackers from Surakarta provide delightful contrasts. The result is a spice-dominated dish with a harmonious blend of sweet, savory, and slightly spicy flavors, encapsulating the essence of Rijsttafel. To round out the six-course meal, Joongla presents Strawberry Kombucha, a fusion of fermented green tea and luscious strawberries. This invigorating beverage with its robust flavors complements the previous courses, enhancing the overall dining experience.
Finally, Joongla introduces a dessert that pays homage to tradition with a contemporary twist. Brem, a long-standing Javanese delicacy known for its dry, crunchy texture and sweet-sour profile, undergoes a transformation. Joongla combines yogurt and cream with brem powder, resulting in a soft and velvety treat that melts in the mouth. The addition of candied strawberries provides a delightful sweet-sour burst, while crisp spears and fragrant lime peel sprinkles add texture and freshness. This dessert serves as a fitting conclusion to the "Dari Mata Elang Jawa Turun Ke Hati'' course, showcasing Joongla's commitment to reinventing culinary traditions with innovation and finesse.
In the realm of Joongla's Nusantara omakase concept(s), every meal becomes a chapter in an immersive narrative. From the jungle-inspired name to the carefully curated courses, this pop-up dining experience transcends mere sustenance. It invites you to partake in a cultural exploration, where food and storytelling intertwine, creating an unforgettable culinary journey through Indonesia's rich and diverse heritage.
Joongla is currently in the process of relocating to a more spacious location on Riau Street in Bandung. Over the past year, this dining establishment has experienced a surge in demand, prompting them to move to a larger space to accommodate their growing customer base. Ultimately, Joongla's successful move allows them to further explore the culinary landscape and introduce an avant-garde concept to the Indonesian people. Bandung, being a city that caters to diverse tastes, offers a rich and vibrant culinary experience for food enthusiasts.