MELBOURNE | Kenangan is an Indonesian restaurant at Queen Victoria Market. By day the space is home to katsu cafe Meet Sando. It’s during the evenings when owner and head chef Nicholas Liu switches the concept to deep dive into the home-style dishes of his Indonesia heritage. I first discovered the restaurant during lockdown, and visited again recently for What’s On Melbourne.
Rather than focusing on a specific region of Indonesia, the menu at Kenangan draws inspiration from the popular comfort dishes of the entire country. Five different types of sambal are available, for example, including the lesser known (in Australia, that is) sambal balado that’s found in West Sumatra’s Padang cuisine.
A great starting point if you want to try a bit of everything is the Balinese style nasi campur. This dish gets you Balinese mixed rice with shredded Plecing chicken, urap (Balinese side salad), Sambal Matah, an omlette, and crispy chicken skin. It’s an exciting medley of textures and flavours, with vibrant sweet, sour, salty, savoury, and umami notes.
Satay is another highlight here, with the sweet peanut grilled chicken sate ayam, chilli sate grilled chicken plecing, and minced chicken sate lilit providing a great trio that shows why the familiar peanut satay is great, while highlighting how satay is about much more than that.
There’s quality versions of popular dishes like beef rendang and nasi goreng, along with lesser known things like Soto Madura, a yellow beef and tripe soup served with vegetables and a side of chillies; and the wonderful Iga Bakar Kecap. The latter is a fall off the bone tender grilled beef rib with a sweet soy sauce glaze. It’s served with steamed rice, a side salad, and your choice of sambal.
To drink, it’s Indonesian drinks like es kelapa (iced coconut drink with coconut chunks), es cincau (iced grass jelly drink), and soda gemibra (a tasty mixture of carbonated water, condensed milk, syrup and ice).
507 Elizabeth Street
Telephone: (03) 9328 3213
Tue – Sat: 5:00pm to 9:00pm