I met an Indonesian girl recently at the Social Media Club breakfast and after we talked about her studies and my work, the conversation turned to food. Specifically, where to find authentic Indonesian food in inner-city Melbourne.

Sally told me that in fact she eats a lot more Singaporean/Malaysian food in Australia given the paucity of Indonesian restaurants here (Old Town Kopitiam Mamak gets a good rap). One place that she did mention was Blok M, so I duly took note in my ‘to-eat’ list and went one evening for a quick pre-show dinner.

Blok M is a student-y cafeteria named after a business and shopping quarter in South Jakarta with cheap goods, vibrant nightlife and the one of the biggest bus stations in Jakarta (wooh!). As for the food, Sally had specifically recommended the satays and gado gado, but since I was dining alone I didn’t fancy eating a plate of satays by myself. So for curiosity’s sake I ended up with a Nasi Gudeg ($9) consisting of a drumstick of fried chicken, a stew of tofu and what appeared to be fatty pork skin (with some research I think it’s actually crispy beef skin), some stewed jackfruit, a boiled egg topped with sambal and somewhat stale flourescent crackers.

The chicken and rice bit were quite tasty – really, you can’t go wrong with Asian-style KFC. The tofu/beef skin combo was unexpected for me, especially the gelatinous texture of the skin, and the mild coconut curry flavour married well with yet more rice. Unfortunately, I didn’t really like the most special part of this dish, the gudeg. I don’t think it’s necessarily because it was done badly, but it appears that stewed jackfruit is not really to my taste – it was kind of like stringy stewed apple (and I dislike apple sauce with meats generally). All in all, a successful dish in some, but not all, parts.

However, Blok M gets a HOT because it’s piqued my curiosity enough for me to return. There was a table next to me being guided through the menu by their Indonesian friend, so it seems that the expats give it a thumbs up.

For more cheap-and-cheerful dish with rice options in the city, try Jolly J’s Curry Shack (Sri Lankan), Malaysian Oriental Wok (Malay) and Don Don (Japanese).

  • Blok M, 380 Little Bourke St, Melbourne +61 3 9600 2534

Blok M on Urbanspoon