I don’t often go to press events or launches. Part of the reason is that I don’t get invited nearly as often as my fellow Catalan bloggers and the other because I find it difficult to form an impression when I spend half the night chasing down bite-sized reductions of the menu.
I arrived on time (which in Barcelona is way too early) and passed the storefront numerous times when it didn’t lurch out at me as obviously Indonesian. The team behind Sate took over an existing restaurant, a nondescript local.
The team behind Sate is made up of Paty, a young Indonesian woman who was born in Jakarta and whose parents have always had restaurants. Her mother, Siska, beautiful in an emerald coloured silk blouse with a dinky apron and carefully applied lipstick, sent out delicious dishes all night, without sustaining so much as a one stain on her blouse.
Then there was Paty’s husband who is Austrian. He helped ferry out some of the plates and each time he passed the stereo, he turned up the music (the place is called Sate Bar & Cocktails after all so the music must go with the “bar & cocktails” part). The music being close to the small open kitchen, either Paty or Siska would quickly turn it back down.
The saté Siska made for us was delicious, Pyrenees pork neck (Saté Babi) and organic chicken (Saté Ayam) skewers (€6 for 4 sticks) in a puddle of savoury peanut sauce with a side dish of homemade spicy sambal sauce for me. A large dish of noodles and minced pork which made me silently renounce Bolognese forever. The elfin Indonesian dumplings that were sent out later looked delicious but I never got to try them as the basket was ferried around in search of ever better light to be photographed by the bloggers and journalists.
A watermelon cocktail, made for us by an extremely serious man of clear hipster affiliation with a well-groomed (waxed even?) pointed beard. He muddled, he poured and he garnished with wedges of carefully carved lemon.
I ask Felipe if the lack of Indonesian kitsch is a conscious choice or one of budget? He tells me that there are two photographs coming but that apart from that, they are going to keep it low-key and eschew the general trend to lay it on amusement park thick – lest people don’t get that they will not be serving paella.
Paty, ever the businesswoman, has plans to serve breakfast. Things like London Calling (€7) or a Breakfast Burrito (€6.50). For this segment of the menu, she will be the cook and although she has never cooked in a restaurant she enthused that she always cooks for friends and expects to adapt quickly.
Listen, if Siska stays in the kitchen, you need to try this place because you will actually be getting “home-cooked” Indonesian food. And Paty wants to use organic and/or high quality sourced products.
It will have to evolve of course, I jokingly asked Paty whether she will get her mother a Pot Wash or whether she intends to let her mother do the cooking and the washing up. Siska was quick to interject that, of course, it’s not a problem and it’s only the first night. She is right but to survive and flourish, this small matriarchy (because to me the mother and daughter seem to be the powerhouse of the restaurant) need to evolve from casera to restaurant quickly.
My (unsolicited) advice is: TripAdvisor reviews go up so fast; it’s important not to make people wait and deliver a consistent product because everything else is spot on.
See this and more addresses on my Foodie in Barcelona Map