PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Indonesian-born Junaidi Djapri established this delightful eatery a decade ago after arriving in Australia 20 years prior. Having first worked as a computer consultant, Adelaide is still thanking him for shifting from keyboard to chopping board within the kitchen of his own restaurant. Pondok Bali (Bali hut) is a vibrant space with sea-blue walls, potted palms and pretty parasols leaning over tables. Obviously decorative, they could still easily be there to provide shade in a room that effectively evokes a sunny island feel and, sitting in its centre, you feel like you might actually be in a hut. Several tables are housed within a wooden structure with a billowing roof. Wall tables are separated with thatched dividers, allowing a more intimate meal.
Junaidi wanted to provide an atmosphere that is not overcrowded and a menu that is not overloaded – quality not quantity on both counts – and so there are only around a dozen choices in each of the entrees, mains and side dishes. Martabak is a stand-out starter. A delicate home-made pan-fried pastry with a spicy savoury meat filling is complemented with pickled cucumber, carrot and sambal. The entree platter brings bakwan udang (prawn and corn fritters), spring rolls and your choice of skewered chicken or beef with spicy peanut sauce. Moving on to the mains, the Ikan goreng impresses as a crispy whole fried barramundi with a Javanese hot chilli soy sauce. Sambal goreng udang are king prawns pan-fried in garlic, chilli and tastebud-sizzling spices, while bakmi goreng serves as a meal in itself with a stir-fried combination of noodles, chicken, shrimp and vegetables. Room should remain for a banana-filled pancake sprinkled with sugar, lemon juice and served with ice-cream.