Great Indonesian Food @ ISTANA Indonesian Restaurant, The Hague
My quest for good Asian food brought me to this little Indonesian restaurant, ISTANA situated in the heart of Chinatown in the Hague. The word 'istana' actually means 'palace' in Indonesian language. Contrary to its name suggested, Istana restaurant is neither opulently decorated like a typical palace nor serves any royal Indonesian cuisine. Nevertheless, Istana is definitely a little gem that serves great Indonesian cuisine at an affordable price.
You may either opt for the set lunch menu or order a few ala-carte dishes to go with rice. There is also the famous 'rijsttafel' set on offer which literally translated as 'rice table' in Dutch. We opt for the set lunch menu which is available from Monday to Saturday. The price ranges from €4 to €7 per set. For those who are on shoe-string budget, set lunch is the way to go as it comes with either coffee or Pickwick tea of your choice too.
If you are a beef lover, the beef rice set comes highly recommended. It consists of a portion of rice serves with mixed veggies with tofu, crackers, fried egg and two types of beef i.e. beef rendang and beef roedjak. The flavorful beef rendang is the indeed the highlight of this dish, soft and tender and almost melted in my mouth. The rendang is also not overly spicy and goes very well with rice. A big thumbs up.
|Beef rice set: Fried rice with beef rendang, beef roedjak, egg & veggie|
Chicken satay set was pretty good too. The satay in ISTANA is by far the best satay I ever tasted so far in the Netherlands. The tender chicken cutlets were well marinated and at the same time expertly grilled until lightly charred. Topped with spicy peanut sauce, it makes you crave for more after the first bite. This is definitely a satay with Malaysian's taste which I like!!
|Chicken satay set|
The Ikan Pepesan (fish in chili paste and spices wrapped in banana leaf) seemed interesting as it is not usually served in Indonesian or Balinese restaurants back home. Hence, we ordered a set to try. The dish was surprisingly good. The fish was fresh, flaky and without any trace of fishy smell. Loaded with generous chili paste and spices, it was another winner when paired up with rice.
|Ikan pepesan, spicy fish wrapped in banana leaf|
Traditional Malaysian cuisine has the closest taste profile to Indonesian cuisine, where spicy, deep and complex flavour is highly emphasize. So, when a Malaysian restaurant is nowhere to be found, just opt for Indonesian restaurant like Istana instead and you will not be disappointed!
ISTANA, Indonesian Restaurant
The Hague 2512 AR
Mon - Sat 12:00 - 21:30
Sun 14:00 - 22:00