It’s a rare thing for me to scour as far as Western Jakarta (somehow Bali or Saigon feels nearer), but it’s a good thing. You get to know one or two new things, especially the bustling restaurants around Taman Ratu vicinity. Marina Prawn Mee being one of them invited several bloggers to let them know ‘Singaporean’ they are.
It’s an easy task to find the place thanks to the GPS and we didn’t even afraid to ask the locals. Good thing that Marina Prawn Mee is located within the main road, making it easier for everyone to find it. The owner later told us that they had replaced the signboard with red color. The previous one had been a fluke since after several months of its existence, many people thought that they’re still new to the neighborhood! Well, lesson learned I guess.
If you look at the place from the front, it’s probably like the usual Chinese food restaurant with the open kitchen preceding the entry to the restaurant. But once you’re inside, it’s a kopitiam-themed restaurant. All whitewashed but not too bright. The owners happen to be very fond of IKEA products and they hand-brought many stuffs here for the decorations and lightings straight from Singapore.
In all, Marina Prawn Mee presents a fresh look of a restaurant but lacking in three so far.
The first one is more dilemmatic– tables and chairs. They had to find local furnishings and didn’t match that much with the whole kopitiam and IKEA decorations. To bring them here would be extra cost, not to mention the problems with customs, but it’s very understandable since IKEA’s not here yet – or never.
The second problem is that the restaurant was too humid that night. I braced myself originally with a coat and seeing the all four air conditioners will instill chills to your neck but not all of them operated that night. People in Jakarta desperately need AC and comfort during their stay over the course of their meals. This is also a matter of customer’s satisfaction where one does not always derived from the goodness of the meal but also the level of comfort when they’re having dine-outs. I was happy that the owners promised us to give more concern over this matter and hopefully the next time I visit the place, it’ll be cool and gives everyone more spirit to dig in!
The third one was that they’re in short of employees due to Lebaran holiday, where usually some staffs don’t return afterwards for unknown reasons. This made the service slow but certainly not as slow as our disastrous Nannini visit months ago – a ridiculous case of a high-profile restaurant with the so-called experienced chef who kept us hungry for three hours straight over a silly reason. Luckily, our wait here was worth it.
Among the dishes that we ordered, the highlights for me were between the mie goreng belacan (belacan fried noodles), which appeared enticing with plenty of condiments such as meatballs, shrimps, with decent belacan taste, and the nasi goreng ikan asin (salted fish fried rice). The rest of the food bloggers were quite contented with the rich appearance of the Marina mie udang (Singaporean style prawn noodle), with huge prawns, vegetables, and braised pork – if I’m not mistaken. Read more about this dish at my fellow bloggers posts – Oh My Good Food, Yummy For Dummy, and Anak Jajan.
The owners are now personally nurturing the growth of their venture and have been planning for several expansions in the future. In terms of taste, they have managed a decent level and have acquired many loyal customers – some of them even ordered two or three times of those huge portions of goodness! Under current interior, hopefully soon enough Marina Prawn Mee will also provide the customers with interesting kopitiam menu. Well, they might have to change again the signboard but kudos for the continuous effort and hopefully it will stand the test of time.
MARINA PRAWN MEE
Halal-friendliness to be confirmed (some dishes contain pork)
Some menu might be suitable for vegetarians
Address: Taman Ratu Blok D11 no. 22 – Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening Hours: Daily, 10 am – 10 pm
RSVP: +62.21.950.5895 (also for delivery)
BB Pin: N/A
Atmosphere: A kopitiam-like Singaporean Peranakan restaurant. Everything’s great except for the humidity.
Service: Currently slow but concerns have been noted.
Pricing: Around IDR 5o,000 – IDR 75,000 for two.