One of the most popular places to eat in Yogyakarta is the House of Raminten in Malioboro. The place is owned by Hamzah Hendro Sutikno and named after the drag queen he played on a TV show. Famous for its Javanese dishes served at a very low price, traditional Javanese interior, and shows featuring Yogyakarta’s drag queens, every night is a crowded night there. However, there’s actually another, more quiet, and lesser-known place belonging to Raminten.
Located at the small town of Kaliurang, Waroeng of Raminten is another branch of Raminten’s eatery and gives off the same charm from the House of Raminten without the long queues for a seat. With Mirota Batik (Raminten’s boutique) right next to it, the place appears to be rather small from the outside. But once you get in, it’s actually quite large. The whole place was built in tiers with three tiers in the indoor section, a huge pond with a runway on top of it, and two large semi-outdoor areas.
Just like the House of Raminten, the Waroeng of Raminten also builds a quirky yet traditional Javanese feeling with their decor. Numerous statues which look eerily like real humans are placed around the indoor area. Old posters and photos are hung on the wall. Flower petals are laid out in front of the runway and near statues. Even a part of the traditional Javanese instrument of gamelan is used as the decor for the customer’s response area which has its own corner decked out in green. The lighting in the entire place is really dim which made it feel like being in an old house. The whole place smelled strongly of incense and flowers. The sound of soothing Javanese music played the entire time we were there. It was quirky, somewhat creepy, yet very much Javanese.
We chose to sit at the semi-outdoor area because it had a more laidback feel to it. We were seated on a mat with a backrest contraption made of bamboo. I can’t tell you much I appreciate that backrest since most places that have mats as seats don’t normally have them and really torture my lower back.
Let’s talk about the food now. Waroeng of Raminten has quite a range of dishes – from deep-fried street food as appetizers to traditional Javanese dishes upgraded in terms of presentation. We ordered several things to go with white rice.
Jamur Crispy (deep-fried mushroom)
After tasting the crispy mushroom served by jejamuran, I can’t help but feel a bit let down by this one. Even though there wasn’t too much flour and too little mushroom like how most people cook the dish, it wasn’t as addictive as jejamuran’s. The coating flour could use more seasoning though.
Ayam Koteka & Telur Bumbu Raminten
I ordered Ayam Koteka just because I thought the name sounded funny. It turned out that the dish was one of the most sought-after dishes at Raminten’s places. It was basically shredded chicken cooked with scrambled eggs in a piece of hollow bamboo. The chefs really got the seasoning right with this one and it was savory in the most pleasant way.
Another dish that was Raminten’s specialty was Telur Bumbu Raminten – scrambled eggs cooked in soy sauce, a mixture of onions, and a bit of chili. This was one of the best things I had that day because the combination of various onions with soy sauce was just brilliant. If you eat it with white rice, the rice actually tones down the very vibrant taste of the eggs and makes the taste hit that sweet spot between too spicy and too bland
We also ordered dessert: Ice Cream Bakar (roasted ice cream) which the waiter actually gave to us before our dinner was even served.
No, the ice cream itself was not roasted, but it was served on top of a fresh, warm toast. The ice cream had two flavors: chocolate and strawberry and it was topped with grated cheese. Both flavors tasted nothing like a factory-made ice cream but had a lot of rustic, homemade taste to them. They were sweet, but not overly sugary. The toast tasted a bit weird for me but I couldn’t pinpoint what was so strange though.
As for the drinks, they were all served in really huge glasses. And by huge, I mean really, really huge. I ordered Watermelon Juice and the waiter served it in a glass taller than your usual bottle of beer.
I thought this only goes for Raminten’s fruit juice and cocktails, but apparently it goes for all drinks with the exception of tea and water. My dad ordered Coconut Water and the waiter gave him (literally) a fishbowl of it.
The problem most restaurants have with serving big portions of drinks is that its tastes are often screwed up to make up for the portion. I mean, have you ever ordered a glass of juice and it came out in a really big glass but tasted more like flavored water than juice? But I didn’t find this flaw in Waroeng of Raminten’s drinks. It was good, its portion was humongous and it was cheap (IDR17.000 for that big of a glass!)
As for service, the place actually took a really long time to serve our food. We waited for about 45 minutes for the drinks to be served and 15 more minutes for the first dish which was ice cream and not the main course itself. However, Waroeng of Raminten’s place was so cozy that I didn’t mind waiting at all.
Overall, I enjoyed the food and vibes of Waroeng of Raminten. All of Raminten’s eateries were built out of a love and passion for Javanese culinary and culture and as a diner here, this love is evident. I hope that Waroeng of Raminten would improve in their service quality even though there are no lines of people waiting to be served here. But I hope that it would not lose its essence of what Javanese culture is all about: steadiness, embrace towards diversity, and respect for the past and its traditions.