Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rice Table, South Yarra by Big Fil

Rice Table advertises itself as specialising in Risttafel, a multi-course Dutch Indonesian banquet where you are provided with a large number of small dishes of different taste and texture. Armed with glowing reviews from colleagues who tried this style of meal in Amsterdam, I'm not quite sure what I was expecting ... maybe some sort of epiphany about Indonesian cooking. Needless to say Rice Table did not live up to this expectation. What it did provide, however, is a chance for some of us who hadn't previously tried much Indonesian cooking to try some solid examples of typical dishes.

Illness on the day reduced our numbers from 10 to 6. As one of us wasn't that hungry, five of us opted for the risttafel and one a set meal.

This caused the first service confusion; exactly how many risttafel meals we were ordering. The risttafel comes as a meal for two, and we thought we were ordering for five people (ie 2 1/2 serves). This was originally interpreted as five full serves ... far too much food for us. We were talked down into ordering four meals (which we thought meant two full meals) and were a bit concerned when a huge number of entrees came out. After a quick conversation with our waitress this was sorted out and we were only charged for the 2 1/2 meals.

The entrees were fairly simple dishes, such as fried chicken winglets and spring rolls, but as they were freshly cooked they were better than similar dishes available from typical food courts or bain-maries.

The mains included some old favourites such as beef rendang, soto ayam and satays. While tasty the amount of fried food served was a little overwhelming. Also some of the dishes that require hours of cooking at a low heat, such as the rendang, were not as tender as they could have been.

For desert we were served a dish very similar to pulut hitam (black rice in coconut milk), although I don't think this was the name used in the menu. I liked this and it was generally popular around the table.

A little disappointing but then my expectations were probably unrealistic. One of us didn't enjoy her meal very much, but I suspect it was more the unfamiliar style of meal rather than the way it was prepared. Not the best Indonesian meal I have had in Melbourne but not the worst, its somewhere I'd think about visiting if in the area and with a hankering for Indonesian food.

One thing which did let them down a bit was the service. On the plus side there was no issue raised with the fact we booked for 10, dropped the number to 8 the night before and then were only 6 on the night. Also, once the number of meals was sorted out, we weren't charged for the extra entrees we were originally served, when the confusion was probably on both sides. But on the negative side our set meal was forgotten and we had to remind them, the rice was only brought out right at the end of the meal, and the water we asked for when ordering was only brought out after the mains. These were all things that could be fixed very easily but impacted on our enjoyment of the meal.

Ambience - 6.5
Service - 5
Food - 6.5
Price - 6

210 Toorak Road Shop 6
South Yarra Vic 3141
Tel: (03) 9827 6777

Rice Table on Urbanspoon

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