Nowadays, what defines a good “dining” is not only based on the quality of food. It’s also about the ambience, the place.
What’s more prevalent in today’s culinary landscape is also about experience. People is willing to pay more to have a complete dining experience. The more unique and pleasant the experience, the more chances it is to be sold at premium.
This particular concept applies for Suwatu Jogjakarta. It is owned and managed by Mil & Bay, who also owns several popular culinary outlets in Bali. Located in a rocky hill south side of Prambanan castle, it offers authentic Javanese culinary experience with a beautiful view.
This place only accept reservations. No go-show is allowed. You can look up at their Instagram profile for Whatsapp contact, and make reservation there.
They also only serve 2 types of set menus. You have to pay it in advance for make a booking. The price of these 2 types of set menus: Sojiwan (IDR 150k) and Prambanan (IDR 250k). Honestly, looking at menu, I don’t see big difference. Just a different starter and dessert. So we booked for the cheaper one, Sojiwan.
We booked and arrived in Suwatu at 5 pm. This is arguably the best time for visiting this place. Because it promises the magnificent view of Prambanan temple and its surroundings during sunset. When you’re lucky, the shades of yellowis sunset will make a great photo.
Unfortunately for us, we’re not that lucky. Jogja was raining hard, and barely lighten when we arrived there. Hence the scenic outdoor tables are not available. We had to sit indoor. It’s a traditional Javanese house with white decor. Combination of rustic and modern artistic. With several hanging lights in the hallway, it’s not difficult to look for good angle for your Instagram snaps. Like I did here with Elok 🙂
Once we took seat into our table. the server explained to us what we can expect. About the set menu and where we can get our food.
Based on our set menu, we’re served of appetizer which is a platter of “Gorengan” (fried tempeh and tofu). There are also snack table which you can freely take while waiting for your dinner time. It’s quite generous and ample. The “Gorengan” also tastes nice.
As for dinner, they actually serve the same buffet for the 2 types of set menus. It is an authentic Javanese dishes. There are quite a few options to choose. Chicken, beef, various vegetables and soups. Suwatu explains it’s their mission to preserve Javanese traditional dishes, prepared and served by local community in the area. And for that reason (if it’s true), it is very commendable.
I chose “Mangut Lele“, a smoked cat fish dish, which is a traditional local dishes. I combined it with “Botok Tempe Tahu Teri” (mixed dish of vegetables, dried fish, coconut meat and wrapped into banana leaves and steamed) and “Sambal” (chili). I found it very delicious. The mixed tastes of hot, salty and a bit sweet brought great result.
I didn’t try the other dishes, as we just had very late lunch, hence the food capacity was at minimum.
During the dinner, Suwatu presented two traditional Javanese dance: “Gambyong” and “Srimpi”. Performed by two teenage girls, it was surely a great entertainment and experience, especially for foreign tourists.
As it was still raining, they had to perform inside the main dining room where we sit. In the normal day, they would perform in open theatre, which would give even better viewing experience, as it is displayed in front of Prambanan view as background. It is also another part of Suwatu’s mission to preserve traditional culture and introduce it for foreigners and younger generations.
Shortly after the second dance, the dessert is served. It is a sweet jelly cake which is nice, but nothing special. To cap it off, we ordered additional cappuccino. Yes, it’s additional, as it’s not part of Set Menu. You can only choose infused water or tea. Here the coffee cost you IDR 28k per cup.
So from the dishes point of view, I find the price of set menu is rather on high side. As the buffet only serves you a traditional dishes, which you can buy in small warung with perhaps 1/10 of the price.
But as I wrote in beginning of this article, dining experience is not only about the food. It’s about the ambience and experience. And from that point of view, I guess Suwatu is successful in providing you an alternative to experience traditional Javanese dishes and culture in a beautiful setup.