“Other nations now lay claim to sate (satay), but Indonesians consider it a national dish conceived by street vendors and popularized by Arab traders.” CNN
Top of our favoured travel destinations is Bali, the Indonesian archipelago that is immersed in natural beauty, sunshine and amazing aromatic and mouth-watering cuisine. When the invitation arrived last week to sample the special month-long Indonesian menu at Teatro located at the Park Rotana we were salivating at the food memories. Banana leaf wrapped fish, fresh vegetable salads, satay with sweet peanut dressing, jackfruit, fiery curries and not forgetting of course popular street food Nasi Goreng.
East meets West at Teatro, the menu is a fusion of dishes from around the globe with an emphasis on Far Eastern cuisine combining an incredible assortment of dishes, made from the freshest ingredients. Under the direction of new Executive Chef Thijs Van Rhoon, Teatro Sous Chef Antonio Lopez and Saptianronny Yahya (aka Ronny) who hails from Central Java have devised a special menu for November with six Indonesian delicacies that reflect the flavours of region.
The other half was particularly excited about the promised Indonesian feast based on his knowledge of the culinary delights of the region and our day spent at a Balinese cooking school. He started with South Indonesian specialty Sate Campur, a platter of mixed satay served on a wooden box topped with a banana leaf. The assortment included chicken, king fish, beef and prawn skewers that are traditionally marinated and grilled over hot charcoal served with dips. He followed that with a main of Sapi Rendang, a spicy caramelised beef curry made with coconut milk and an abundance of spices that originates from West Sumatra.
Considered Indonesia’s national dish, Teatro are serving a traditional Nasi Goreng, wok fried rice topped with a fried egg and served with satay, sambal (hot chili sauce) and krupuk (deep fried crackers). The chefs kindly made me a vegetarian version compete with tofu satay and mango salad, it was hot, delicious and extremely filling. Also available on the reasonably priced Indonesian menu that ranges from just AED 70 to AED 115* is Ayam Tuturuga. a sour, spicy and savoury chicken curry with pandan and basil flavour from the East region of Sulawesi and Ikan Bumbu Kuning, a tangy South Sumatran dish of king fish, tamarind and turmeric and coconut milk. Last but not least is Udang Bumbu Bali from our beloved Bali, sweet and spicy grilled prawns served with rice and green mango salad.
A creature of habit and testament to Teatro’s consistency I had my favourite vegetable spring rolls with mango-dijo dip from the main menu to start and another Teatro favourite to finish, hot banana wontons dusted with cinnamon sugar served with creamy dulce de leche dipping sauce, both of which were as good as always. We both ordered cocktails that we remembered from our last visit too, the other half had a non-alcoholic version of Teatro’s popular Downtown Tokyo served in a sake jar placed on a bed of ice in an authentic wooden sake box along with a garnish of lime leaves and an infused cherry in a ice cup. I enjoyed an Asian style Pina Colada with malibu, dark rum, coconut, orgeat (almond syrup), green tea and pineapple.
One thing that’s always guaranteed at Teatro is a warm welcome, restaurant manager Sabine Reisinger and her team are adept at customer service and ensuring guests fully enjoy their Teatro experience from start to finish. The low-lit ambient venue was quiet when we arrived on Monday evening but steadily filled up with guests patronising the bar, lounge area and dining spaces. I love the elegant and theatrical decor influenced by the Far East. Vintage masks, oversized vases of flowers and bold patterned wallpapered ceilings are part of the unique look that includes traditional Japanese and Chinese artefacts and accessories inherent to the restaurant’s regional influences.
Teatro is an elegant dining location offering its guests a global dining experience, the unique opportunity to sample an abundance of diverse dishes influenced by the characteristics of several cuisines from around the world in one place. If you are a fan of Indonesian food or just fancy trying something different this month head down to the Park Rotana, I recommend you try the Asian infused cocktails and always save room for banana wontons!
Location: Park Rotana Hotel near Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 657 3333
The Teatro Indonesian menu is available until 30th November.
Teatro is open daily from 6:00pm till 1:30 am.
*Prices are subject to 10% service charge, 6% tourism fee and 4% municipality fee.
I was invited to dine at Teatro. All the views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. Additional photo used courtesy of Teatro.