Paying a homage to Taman Ismail Marzuki is not always have to be art-related. For FoodieS, there is one interesting visit after the legendary soto Betawi restaurant that resides here. It is the Ikan Mas Bakar Rica Ny. Filly.
Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) is an establishment of utmost importance for the citizens of Jakarta and the whole country. For decades, it has been known as a strong bastion of art and education.
Over the past few years, TIM has also seen a number of improvements from the recently refurbished cinema, a modern building for the art institute, and a new public library for family. It also houses the one and only planetarium in Indonesia as well as hosting festivals or art and theater shows regularly.
In addition to these wonderful perks that people can enjoy upon their visit to TIM and the dynamic changes outside on the busy street of Cikini, there are two things that actually remain timeless here.
The first one is the legendary restaurant of Soto Betawi H. Ma’ruf which is widely renowned as one of the oldest in Jakarta, paving its way to prominence now since the early years of independent Indonesia. Back then, Haji Ma’ruf himself carried his merchandise on his back and serving soto Betawi nearby Gondangdia Station.
The second timeless eatery inside Taman Ismail Marzuki is a Manadonese-style grilled fish shack. Serving the hungry Jakartans since 1984, the restaurant stays true with the old recipes of Ny. Filly’s – the late matriarch of the family. It is actually rare to see a Manadonese restaurant specializing fully with fish since most of these restaurants of this genre usually serve the whole cuisine, especially here in Jakarta.
The use of freshwater fishes such as carp and gourami is another interesting aspect from Ikan Mas Bakar Rica Ny. Filly, while other seafood restaurants in Jakarta would normally introduce the use of saltwater fish instead as their signature dishes. In addition to that, the fact that this establishment has been in the business for more than thirty years intrigues us further.
Upon our arrival, it’s clearly seen that the restaurant maintains a classical look with the use of bamboos that dominate the whole interior. Despite of the age, it is kept neat and clean. While it is comfortably air-conditioned inside, feasting a hearty lunch or dinner on the alfresco side of the restaurant sounds like a good choice too. After all, visiting the leafy and relaxed neighborhood of TIM is a good change of pace once in a while.
However, it is best to reserve first if you wish to visit during the rush hours. Mind you that especially during lunch, Ikan Mas Bakar Rica Ny. Filly is a famous choice for students, the patrons of this art institution, office workers from around the vicinity, and up to top government officials.
The signature menu here is the carp, grilled in a very rustic stone oven and smeared with the all time favorite rica-rica sauce. Additionally we can ask for the carp to be fried, served with sour broth, or cooked with the rich and spicy woku sauce.
Alternatively, if you are not up with the challenge of eating the bony carp, you can always opt for other fish such as gourami, kuwe (trevally), or the baronang (spinefoot).
The result from cooking in a stone oven is unimaginably beautiful. The fish, while very fresh, possesses the appetizing smoky feel thoroughly. It was also well marinated and the application of rica-rica sauce makes it not just savory with a hint of spiciness, but also refreshing. The flesh itself was well-cooked, moist, and tender. At this stage, nobody will mind with the small bones from the carp and that’s exactly because Ny. Filly’s recipe works really well.
What comes next is to savor it while it’s hot with rice, a simple stir-fried water spinach with garlic, and more rica-rica sauce with another favorite Manadonese relish – the sambal dabu-dabu.
Clearly, what the restaurant offers and the whole atmosphere are the nostalgic values for Ny. Filly’s fans since its humble beginning some 32 years ago. It may have struggles at the beginning but its perseverance and the wonderful recipes behind the food are what that brought them through until this very day and we hope, far to the future.
IKAN MAS BAKAR RICA NY. FILLY | Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jalan Cikini Raya no. 73, Jakarta | T: +62 3193 6535
Unsuitable for vegetarians
Opening hours: Daily, 10am – 9pm
Spend: IDR 50,000 – IDR 75,000 / person
Featured on FoodieS Apr 2016 & Qubicle May 2016