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Authenticity Comes First

Anna Azarova
15 June 2018

With more and more Asian restaurants popping up all over Ukraine’s capital, the food boom shows no sign of fading. It’s one thing however when a place is run by locals who have been to some exotic locale on vacay, and completely another when the chef himself keeps it authentic thousands of kilometres from home.
A new dining spot has emerged in one of the busiest of city centre streets not far from the Olympic Stadium. The venue’s long and odd at first sight name – 17.804 Indonesian Social Kitchen – reveals its distinctive concept.

First and So Far Only
You’ll be interested to learn that the numerals refer to the number of Indonesian islands – who would have thought there would be so many? Each island has its own history and multi-layered culture influenced by Chinese, Indian, and the Dutch colonists. As such, the spot presents a variety of cooking traditions inherent to the entire region.
What you won’t find are high-end fusion experiments. On the contrary, the venue treats guests to the best-loved dishes Indonesian people eat daily, which is where the term ‘Social Kitchen’ comes in. Nevertheless, it is far from the most ordinary of options – many of the ingredients they use need to be shipped in from Indonesia.

Strong Background
Launched just in April, the venue has already started winning the hearts of Ukrainians and foreigners alike. One of the reasons is its Jakarta-born chef and cofounder Eko Koesprananto, who has worked in many luxury hotels around the world – including our own Hyatt! The other co-founder is our enthusiastic gastro guide tonight – Oleksiy Kykot, who also has extensive experience in different Horeca establishments from Jakarta to Shanghai, and Beijing to Hong Kong.
Going through a well thought-out and imaginative menu, we soak in the cosy ambience of the place, which also boasts a bar and a summer terrace. Neither glaringly posh nor extremely minimalist, the modern interior evokes a feeling of warmth thanks to the use of wood and dominant shades of black and brown. Endearing details such as a white patterned wallpaper, gold-coloured piping on the ceiling, and Asian-themed decorations heighten the impression.

Contrasting Tastes
Not (yet) closely familiar with Indonesian fare, we rely on Kykot’s advice. Jumping ahead, I can say it is not regretted
Tuna Dabu-Dabu is a perfect starter. Unlike classical versions, this one is chopped into bigger cubes, served on a salad leaf, and mixed with tomatoes, red onions, and chili salsa. Fresh and good, the fish whets our appetite for Laksa Udang, a famous specialty, which features thick coconut milk. The creamy concoction is dotted by pink shrimps, green basil, and yellow-and-white hard-boiled eggs. Thin rice vermicelli and tofu make the broth rich and intense in flavour. It offers an explosion of contrasting tastes – sweet, bitter and spicy.

Reasonably Spicy
The fried rice is a must-try here, so we take Nasi Goreng steeped in their signature sweet-and-spicy sauces – sambal and ABC. The dish includes satays that deserve our special attention: well-done skewered meat served with in a peanut marinade. Its taste is amusing yet so unusual I can’t recognise at first that the meat is chicken.
To indulge more, we decide to order the Tumis Sapi – chunks of stir-fried beef tenderloin garnished with ginger, onions, garlic, and champignons. Red and green chili adds a piquant bitterness to the entire bouquet.
Important to note is that all dishes at 17.804 can be adjusted in spice to cater to the palate of each guest. Just don’t forget to include a glass of white Argentinian Pinot Grigio with fresh apple notes – it pairs well with all platters. For those behind the wheel, let me suggest the virgin Mocktails – homemade, refreshing, and delectable lemonades.

Before the Curtain Falls
Lumpia Pisang Cokelat – warm banana spring rolls with chocolate toping, cinnamon, and a tender taste of caramel, makes our gourmet journey even more memorable.
As we finish, the restaurant’s owners claim they don’t sell food. Rather, they invite guests to experience the authentic culture of Indonesia. Welcome!

 

 

 

 

Edible Inventory

Tuna Dabu-Dabu                                                                                                165 UAH
Nasi Goreng 256 UAH
Laksa Udang              218 UAH
Tumis Sapi 245 UAH
Lumpia Pisang Cokelat                                                                                 99 UAH
Masi Tupungato, Passo Blanco, Pinot Grigio-Torrontes, Argentina (glass)         188 UAH
Moctail Bajigur                                                                                                                      120 UAH
Moctail Bir Pletok                                                                                                                  120 UAH
Total  1 411 UAH

 

17.804 Indonesian Social Kitchen
V Vasylkivska 82
FB 17.804.indonesian.kitchen
+ 38 097 824 6453
11.00 – 22.00 (kitchen), 11.00 – 23.00 (bar)

 

Make sure you try
Grilled chicken with ABC sweet soya sauce                                                                     246 UAH
Baked filet fish West Java style                                                                                          395 UAH

 

The What’s On Checklist

English Menu Yes
English-speaking staff Yes
Wifi Yes
Price $$$
WO Rating 5 Star

 

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