Sendok Garpu, one of Brisbane’s best spots for Indonesian food, has moved to The City
If you ask us, Indonesian cuisine is due for a moment in Brisbane. The city already boasts a small yet deeply loyal fanbase for Indonesian food, which is experiencing a spike in popularity in recent years thanks to the work of several beloved eateries. Chief among them is Sendok Garpu, a long-running institution (formerly based in Indooroopilly) that recently brought its massive menu of Indonesian eats to The City. This relocation is a big deal for lovers of nasi goreng, aromatic rendang and sizzling sate – read on to find out what else is on offer!
With more than 1300 ethnic groups scattered across 6000 populated islands, the sheer amount of regional variations and the impact of foreign influences ensure that Indonesia’s culinary complexity is hard to encapsulate neatly. That said, if any restaurant in Brisbane manages to succinctly showcase a nice cross-section of Indonesia’s gastronomic diversity, it might be Sendok Garpu. What started life in 2010 as a tiny takeaway joint in the heart of a Coopers Plains industrial complex has grown over the past decade into a highly regarded resource of Indonesian specialties, frequented regularly by visiting delegates, athletes and members of Brisbane’s own Indonesian community. Owner Alicia Martino has gently nurtured the eatery and its following from the beginning, turning it into a fully fledged restaurant (located in Indooroopilly) in 2014 before a recent relocation brought the concept to the inner city. On Friday June 17, Sendok Garpu quietly opened the doors to its new 200-sqm headquarters in the Elizabeth Street Arcade, a laneway home to a number of Asian street-food dispensaries, taking over the space previously occupied by Thai eatery Na Bangkok. Though the bones of the venue remain unchanged (a satay station sits at the entry, with ample seating available upstairs), Alicia has repurposed part of the dining area to make room for a small grocery section, which will soon sell the likes of homemade rendang paste and packs of Indonesian coffee.
Sendok Garpu’s soft opening saw the kitchen introduce itself to Brisbane City lunch hunters with serves of nasi padang – a dish originating from West Sumatra that features steamed rice ringed by various sides like cabbage and green bean curry, corn fritters, beef rendang and chilli eggplant. The eatery’s full menu has since become available, expanding to include a mind-boggling array of regional and rural dishes that draw inspiration from the street stalls and markets of Indonesia. Starting small, diners can snack on the likes of Sendok Garpu’s crispy pastels (chicken, vegetables and glass noodles in crispy puff pastry), mini martabak telur (crispy crepes filled with seasoned beef, eggs, shallots and onion) and flaky roti with curry sauce. Iconic street-food dishes like batagor (deep-fried chicken and fish dim sum), gado-gado (steamed mixed vegetables with tempeh, tofu and boiled egg) and pempek (Palembangnese fish cakes) make way for larger share-style plates of gulai kikil (West Sumateran-style slow-cooked beef tendon curry), ayam kalasan (slow-cooked Javanese style Maryland chicken with a sweet marinade), an assortment of sate skewers, and rendang sapi (a signature beef curry made using a family recipe). From here, Sendok Garpu’s menu spreads even further outward, encompassing a host of rice-based meals, wok-fried dishes, soups and a sensational array of plant-based dishes, including vegan-friendly versions of nasi goreng, rendang and mie aceh. A lengthy drink and dessert list features thirst quenchers like cold-pressed mandarin juice, Indonesian black iced coffee and home-brewed jasmine iced tea.
Want to take your tastebuds on a tour of Indonesia? Sendok Garpu is the place to do it. Opening hours can be found in our dining database, the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.