When we go to Indonesia to visit my parents in Malang, East Java, we tend to visit restaurants that we went to in previous trips. Of the various eateries, our favorite place is Hungry Kitten Cafe & Resto, which is a Western restaurant, and to be exact, an American restaurant.
Hungry Kitten Cafe and Resto is located at Jalan Belitung No. 12 in Malang. Not too far from the city central and located in a residential area, this small restaurant will surprise you with its potential. The owner, Andre Hedisetiono, studied Culinary Science at the Community College of Philadelphia and also received a certification from the American Culinary Federation.
You probably wonder why I would spend time blogging about this restaurant. For one, Hubby and I commend Andre for being able to whip up real American food in such a small town surrounded by four mountains. What I mean by “real American food” are foods that taste genuinely American, for American taste buds, not for local Indonesian taste buds.
Malang is located in East Java, about 90 kilometers south of Surabaya, the closest port. Finding a source of fresh, good quality meat, as well as seafood, can sometimes be a challenge in this town. It took my mom a week to find fresh shrimp to make her dragon meatballs. So, I know it can be a challenge to find fresh ingredients, especially for a restaurant that is open daily.
Andre started his small business in the garage behind his house. At the beginning, he converted his garage into a small restaurant with several tables. Metal and hard plastic sheets served as an awning for the restaurant. Wooden barriers and bamboo curtains served as a privacy screen from the street.
When we visited last August, Andre was renovating his restaurant by erecting a wall to replace the wooden barrier and bamboo curtains. This year, we were greeted by a dining room with walls with cute wooden windows, as well as a ceiling fan and air conditioner units to combat Malang’s unseasonably hot weather. It’s textured plaster walls were painted yellow and there were more tables and chairs and even a short bar table.
A poster was hung on one of the walls for an upcoming event. Other walls were decorated with pictures of winners of the “Challenge Burger”. There is also a certificate from SCTV, one of the Indonesian private TV stations, for his involvement as one of the contestants for the Top Chef TV show, as well as pictures of Andre with other contestants decorating the walls.
His menu ranges from French Fries and French Foie Gra as appetizers, to pasta dishes and hamburgers for main courses. Other meats include chicken, lamb and fish. He also has a Daily Special board for a tempting dish using the fresh ingredients that he happened to secure that he wouldn’t have been able to secure regularly. Sometimes, new recipes will be on this board as well.
Looking at the menu, you can see that his menu is centered around beef. If you have been to Indonesia, you know that Indonesian beef has that beefy taste to it. The beef tends to be tough and most Indonesians will prepare beef with lots of spices. Andre uses Australian beef that is of a better quality than most of other restaurants that serve Australian beef. His hamburgers are delicious, tender, moist and just simply irresistible.
The first time we tasted his burger was last year, when Hubby heard that Andre has a “Challenge Burger.” This “Challenge Burger” consisted of 660 grams of beef patties, melted cheese, crispy potatoes, sandwiched between two slices of gigantic homemade bun. 660 grams is about 1.452 pounds, or about six quarter-pound patties. This burger costs Rp. 135.000 which is about $11.25 at the current currency conversion, which is not a bad price. As you can see from the picture below, this burger is almost as big as a regular iPad.
Why is this burger named “Challenge Burger?” Well, if you can eat the whole burger, along with its trimmings and clean your plate, the burger is on the house. The other thing is, if you can eat it faster than the current “Challenge Burger” winner, your picture will be put on Andre’s Hall of Fame wall.
The smaller version of the burger comes in different weights. The smallest is 110 grams. You can double it or even triple it up. You can add cheddar cheese and even an over-easy egg.
Another variety of the burger that we have eaten was the Buffalo Style Burger. It was prepared with Blue Cheese dressing and a tangy Buffalo Sauce. This burger is definitely suitable for local taste buds due to the spiciness of the Buffalo sauce.
The other burger that we recently had was the Explosion Burger. This burger consists of two, stuffed-cheese and bacon wrapped hamburger patties, served with vegetable chips, ketchup and some spicy mayo on the side. Andre had to serve some sort of spicy sambal or hot sauce to accommodate the local taste buds.
Below is the variety foods that Hubby, my family and I had the pleasure to eat.
Fish and Chips – this is my niece’s favorite. Every time we go to Hungry Kitten, this is what she orders.
Fisherman’s Platter – My nephew’s preference.
House Salad – When you just want to have something light…
Philly Cheese Steak – Complete with the au jus to dip your sandwich in…
Aglio Olio with Seared Chicken Breast
Pan Seared Sumbawa Parrot Fish – A delicacy and pleasing to the eyes. The fish just melted in your mouth and was served with fantastic potatoes. I found myself wanting some more when there was nothing else left on the plate.
Parrot Fish Po Boy – Spicy Po Boy
Pan Seared Salmon – served on wild rice
Surprise Truffles – Both Hubby and my niece cleaned the plate up.
So if you happen to be in Malang, be sure to give this restaurant a try. If you like Western food, you will find yourself wanting to go back there. At least we do. Until my next post! 🙂