The recently renamed Marco Padang serves more than just titular West Sumatran delicacies that we often find in restaurant chains around big cities of Indonesia. Finally, we got a chance to see how Minangkabau dishes can be transformed with a modernist twist but still preserving the honorable old values that have always been of the biggest part of its greatness.
While cooking is something that is passed on through generation to generation in West Sumatra, it is also a fact that the men are the ones who mostly do the cooking there. That’s the case for Marco Padang’s owner, Chef Marco Lim.
This native of the city of Padang has seen a lot since he began to cook when he was little. Born in a family that naturally loves to eat and cook, Chef Marco also began to roam around the countryside in search for old recipes that he could learn and tweak to perfection in his own aesthetic way. He would stay at certain rural areas in West Sumatra for weeks to learn directly how to cook dishes from the locals.
Now as we can see from Marco Padang, not only that Padang restaurant has reached a whole new dimension in terms of appearance, but the food served there is an eloquent yet beautiful adaptation of homestyle recipes with modern presentation with a touch of elegance.
To add the important element of authenticity, Chef Marco decided to import most of the ingredients from West Sumatra itself from the notable spices including the chilies and the vegetables. Further taking it to the next level, the chef also uses native rice, coffee, and even the crackers. That we believe also as something that you cannot trade with other ingredients even though bountifully found – especially in terms of how it tastes, the texture, and how the scent should feel when cooked.
At Marco Padang, usually it all starts with a plate of nasi sayo or the steamed rice with curry, sambal, vegetables, and crackers. From here, you can move on to his signature proteins such as the delicate, moist, smoky, and highly recommended grilled barramundi with lemongrass marinade. Aside from his glorious take on Bukittinggi style black rendang, Chef Marco also serves fish head curry, thinly sliced and deep-fried stinky beans or pete, eel with lado mudo, and of course – the one and only dendeng batokok.
It will be a never ending journey if you happen to fall in love with this restaurant as Chef Marco himself is a man of who adheres on perfection and the importance of exploration. His last word when we met last time was, “Watch out for my new dishes coming up soon!”. Yes, that’s the result of his research done at a remote mountainous region of the eastern part of West Sumatra quite recently. We can’t wait!
Suitable for vegetarians
Setiabudi One, 1st fl, Jln HR Rasuna Said Kav. 62, Jakarta
Lotte Shopping Ave., 3rd fl, Jln Prof. Dr. Satrio, Jakarta
Everyday, mall opening hours
Spend: IDR 75,000 – IDR 100,000 / person
LOTTE SHOPPING AVENUE
Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE Jun 2014 edition
Download it for free here via SCOOP!
Photos by: Dennie Benedict