Have you ever laid eyes on some thing that is absolutely gorgeous? Some thing that sparkles and captivates you in an instance and draws you in so deep until you can’t take your eyes away from it. So beautiful you’d wish for it to be all yours and nobody else’s. So beautiful, you’d never want to share it with anybody else. I’m not talking about the iPhone 4, although that’s constantly on my mind. IR1968, an unconventional and colourful Indonesian restaurant, was that thing to me. I remember visiting it for the first time with my Watermelon (long story short, I’m currently naming the Queen after the wonderful juicy fruit) one beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon.
We walked into this place and I was immediately drawn to the faux-vintage white washed wooden furniture contrasted with coloured cushions and dark walls. There were plenty of natural day-light flowing through from every direction, vibrantly painting every surface of the dining room into a psychedelic piece of pop art. It was as if a rainbow has exploded in here. I was immediately in love with the place. Don’t even get me started on those gorgeous white and blue china plates! As the Queen has proclaimed, “a far cry from the stereotype frequently associated with Indonesian restaurants.”
Its owners tell us that this is an Indonesian restaurant that was first established in Hong Kong in 1968, hence its name. If you share my taste in aesthetics, you’d agree that the owners, Hudson and Debbie, are both one of the the most perfectly-formed creatures to roam the surface of this planet.
The food here is not typically Indonesian; most of its dishes have Chinese influences and recipes have obviously been tweaked to suit the Hong Kong taste buds. However, having said that, the food here was still impressive during my last few visits. A good way to start off is with a Tauhu Goreng Telur – the one served here is almost like a fragrant and crispy fried beancurd omellette with shredded cucumber and carrots and topped nicely with a spicy peanut sauce and fried shallots.
If you find yourself highly strung out and in need of a quick mid-day fix, I’d recommend you to head over for their affordable lunch sets. Start with either a very tasty and hearty Chicken Sup that I guarantee will momentarily soothe your troubles away, or the tiny Crispy Spring Rolls with sweet chili dip. I was delighted to find both my favourite noodle dishes of theirs included in the set menu. The Bakmi Goreng Kuah Laut, delicious crispy egg-noodles topped in a Cantonese-styled seafood sauce consisting of the freshest ocean picks; and the Meehoon Goreng, a simple stir-fried noodle dish with seafood, egg and sambal that hits the spot every time. The lunch sets starts at an incredible low price of RM18.90!
Desserts, however, I must say is not their forte. Alas, one just can’t possibly be good at everything. The Banana/Pineapple Fritters with Es Krim was nothing too exciting, while the fancy looking Es Cendol failed to impressed. It was somewhat lacking the rich flavours of the coconut milk and palm sugar. You’re much better off heading downstairs to Espressemente by Illy for some good coffee.
I have no qualms about not getting my sweet endings at this establishment, because that’s not the real reason why I come here for. I’m here to hide away from the bustling city outside, to be among the beautiful decor and admire its colourful furniture. Above all, I love the serenity the place offers as its usually very quiet in the day. Perhaps, that’s the reason why I’ve been selfish and have kept this place away from you up until now. I didn’t want to loose my little piece of tranquility within the city.
This review is a combination of a few meals enjoyed at the restaurant including a review organised by Poesy Liang (via Ah Pa). Thanks!
Hock Choon Terrace
Off Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2141 3550