Pondok Padang @ 1Casuarina, IpohJune 21, 2010 | 8,275 views
If you have been driving around Ipoh city lately, you must have noticed the many buntings hanging from the lamp posts along the road promoting a certain “Pondok Padang” restaurant situated at the new business centre named 1Casuarina beside Impiana Hotel on Jalan Gopeng (Jalan Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah).
Sate Ayam (10 skewers at RM9.00/USD2.70) – Notice the difference between these and the usual Satay? No side serving of peanut gravy, but instead the black “Special” sauce was drizzled over the grilled meat on skewers.
Pondok Padang is new to the Ipoh’s food and beverage scene, being the second high-profile “Hidangan Nasi Padang” restaurant after the booming Restoran Simpang Tiga over in Greentown.They claim to serve the most authentic form of “Hidangan Padang“, or “masakan Minangkabau“, originating from our neighbouring country, Indonesia.
A genuinely rustic, ‘kampung’ ambience was relived in the decor of the restaurant. Aside from utilizing the skillful hands of Indonesian chefs, Pondok Padang also imported the handmade bamboo furnitures! Talk about committed to the true essence of enjoying a Minangkabau feast.
The restaurant operates 24 hours, supposedly. But as of now, they’re only opened from 10am until 3am (yes, more than 12 straight hours!) to test the waters, so to speak. So, wondering how did Pondok Padang fare against Simpang Tiga? Read on to find out …..
The counter with glass display for you to pick your preferred dish(es) to go along with your rice.
The restaurant did exude a comforting ambience, fully air-conditioned (unless you choose to dine al fresco on the outside), spanning two floors with ample parking spaces, and one can’t help but wonder how much the management must have invested in creating such a splendid interior.
But we were not ushered to our seats, nor greeted the instant we walked in. The restaurant was empty aside from a couple of diners seated on the outside. The staff were busy chatting in full view of the customers (or lack thereof), and some chose to walk around instead of coming to us. Minor gripes, but a customer’s first impression plays a vital role in ensuring future visits, so they should be aware emphasize on this issue.
Clockwise from top left : Gulai Daun Singkong (RM3.60/USD1.10), Ikan 3 Rasa (RM5.00/USD1.50), Rendang Sapi (RM7.80/USD2.40) and Terong Bakar Belado (RM3.50/USD1)
Currently, Pondok Padang is offering a promotional lunch set at only RM8.50/USD2.60 per person. So those who wish to sample their cooking without going all out, or going in a small group can opt for the value for money sets. The set comes with a choice of beef/kampung chicken/fish or lamb with vegetables and a drink as well as a dessert.
I was there for dinner, hence was presented with an ala carte menu. But here’s the problem.
You cannot choose the dishes as you please from the menu, for it depends on the day’s dishes which are readily-cooked and displayed in the glass counter ala ‘nasi berlauk‘ fashion. This means that you are not getting freshly cooked food, but instead some meager leftovers from lunch or whenever they cooked them. Of course, in their defense, it may not possible to cook everything per order, since their menu is rather extensive.
There is a separate ala carte menu however, where you can choose to have some dishes cooked on the spot, and served hot from the kitchen. Trust me, you SHOULD go for these instead of the cold options from the counter.
The Ayam Goreng Bumbu (RM5.20/USD1.60) which was already cold, and far from crunchy.
Hence I picked 6 dishes from the counter, and ordered another 2 dishes from the kitchen. The fresh, piping hot serving of Kacang Panjang Masak Sambal Udang (Long bean stir-fried with Prawns in Spicy Sambal Paste) cooked per order fared so much better than the already cold, mash of Gulai Daun Singkong (Tapioca Leaves cooked in a Coconut Milk-based gravy).
The Gulai Ayam (Kampung Chicken/Free-Range Chicken cooked in a spicy and rich turmeric-based gravy) and Rendang Sapi (Beef rendang) were the better choices amongst the others. The Ikan 3 Rasa (Three-Flavoured Fish) was the poorest; a heavy stale, fishy taste and extremely salty sauce made up the disastrous ensemble.
Gulai Ayam (RM5.20/USD1.60) was good, the gravy perfect to drench your white rice. But preferably served hot, or at least warm, rather than cold.
Kacang Panjang with Sambal Udang (RM5.50/USD1.70) – Good choice to have your dishes cooked from the kitchen, as in this case. And the plump, succulent prawns were nice additions too.
White rice is free-flow, meaning you can ask for extras if you feel like going for a carbo overload. Some hits, some misses; Pondok Padang does offer something different from the usual Malay style of Nasi Berlauk served at various warung‘s all over Ipoh.
Jus Apulkat (Avocado Juice) @ RM5.90/USD1.80
The avocado juice appeared a lacklustre, gloomy light green with chocolate sauce drizzled sloppily. Definitely not as interesting as say, the ones we had back in Bali. Looks aside, the avocado juice at Pondok Padang was creamy, of the right consistency, and none of that artificial taste like Simpang Tiga‘s version. Surprisingly … and the chocolate sauce added just a touch of sweetness to the beverage.
Elegant from the inside out, Pondok Padang is a good choice if say, you wanna hold a function, or just wanna dine in style the HALAL way.
If they can iron out the laments such as the slightly disappointing quality of service and food being served cold rather than piping hot (they could have offered to reheat the dishes), I am sure they will be a force to be reckoned with amongst the Ipoh’s Halal food scene.
PONDOK PADANG (HALAL)
Bangunan Perdagangan Casuarina 1,
Block A-G-9 & A-G-11, Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah,
30250 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Telephone : 605-243 1618, 6016-533 8691 (Mr. Albert)
Business Hours : 12pm until 3am (from their advertisement in Star Metro), 10am until 3am (from the staff)
Here’s a GOOGLE MAP to Pondok Padang
Directions : Situated at the new 1Casuarina business centre, next to Impiana Hotel (previously Casuarina). Next to Pondok Padang is the equally new Wasabe Japanese Buffet Restaurant.