Heading to Darwin and seeking a place to dig into a tasty halal meal? Then you can’t go past the plentiful Indonesian options on offer. Given the Top End’s proximity to Indonesia, the prevalence of Indonesian cuisine is no great surprise, although the added benefit for diners is that you can count on authenticity. All the usual Indonesian fare, including beef rendang and nasi gorang, are available, as well as a range of Middle Eastern-inspired dishes to mix things up.
Don’t bother with the suit and tie for Sari Rasa – thongs and shorts will suffice at this intimate, bare-basics Indonesian restaurant, pressed into a shopping mall corner. It’s so basic that the food is served straight from a bain-marie, but, as the lunchtime queues attest, Sari Rasa serves up some of the best Indonesian fare in the Top End. Apart from the usual favourites, try the spicy kari ayam pedas chicken curry and the zippy eggplant dish, terong pedas. And they’re open for dinner from 5pm if you have early dinner cravings.
Come lunch time, Sumatra Café is always full of eager curry fans, so get in early to grab a free table if you plan on eating in. The chilli eggplant is a flavourful option and many of the locals make it a favourite lunchtime haunt for curry. In a convenient location with an extensive menu, Sumatra Café serves quality food at very reasonable prices. On a hot day, you’ll be pleased to finish off with the red bean, jelly and fruits with shaved ice Es Campur dessert.
Ayuriz Café Restaurant
Rounding out the trio of small, simple Indonesian restaurants is Ayuriz Café Restaurant in the Darwin Central Hotel Building. Like the Sumatra and Sari Rasa, it serves Indonesian staples as well as dishes that can run from young jackfruit curry to bakso komplit, a meatball and broth combination.