You’d think that the season’s heat would dissuade you from wolfing down spicy food. That may hold true more often than not, but a whiff of the aromas that permeate inside Warung Indo restaurant in Makati’s Salcedo Village would instantly change your mind.
Offering Indosnesian-Chinese cuisine to anyone game, Warung Indo has dishes in its menu that pack a quite a bit of heat. We’re talking about different levels of it, from the kind that comes from spices that creep up from inside or the ones from devilish chilies that scorch on contact.
The great thing about this place is that it’s hidden, like what hole-in-the wall restos should be.
You get an idea that a place serves authentic flavors when most of the diners are from abroad. This spot is the closest thing to home for some with its tastes truly transporting the senses into places far and free.
We ordered Wanton Soup to start with, mains of Seafood Fried Kwie Tiaw, Special Fried Rice with Chicken Satay (both set to mildly hot), and Vegetable Curry to lighten the palate.
The Wanton Soup (Php120) was surprising. Instead of the soggy, meat-filled wraps we were expecting, it was deep-fried wanton balls swimming in clear, flavorful broth that was left on our table. Hearty yet light, the soup soaked into the crispy wonton through and through making each bite a burst of savor.
The entrées started with a plate of Seafood Fried Kwie Tiaw (Php240). The dish is a mouthful. Unlike conventional Asian strings, the rice noodles used gave it a chew that made the flavors, especially the heat, cling onto the mouth longer. The Fried Kwie Tiaw also prepared with chicken (Php180) for a slightly heavier craving.
The Special Fried Rice with Chicken Satay, Fried Egg, and Prawn Crackers (Php225) can stand alone as a big breakfast, midday meal, or an awesome nightcap. The special rice, fried with seafood umami started out sweet, but the spices infused into this mount of carbs warm you up from the inside out. The satay packs a subtle punch, enough appetite excitement to keep you shoveling the heavy rice in.
As if on cue, the Vegetable Curry (Php180) offered the palate a respite from all the heat. The curry broth, stretched with rich coconut milk, was refreshing. The gentleness of the sauce is broken with refreshing crunch from the carrots, cabbage, young corn and cauliflower cooked just right.
The funny thing is, while we only shared four dishes, it was more than enough for a long, fun, and filling meal. Fortunately, we didn’t over order but anyone could easily do so with close to 60 dishes (excluding drinks and dessert) on their menu.
We did get a good palate cleanser with a glass of Watermelon Iced Tea. It was different in a good way. It reminded us of the aratilis fruit. Sweet, distinct, and nostalgic enough to whisk you away from all the intense flavor.
If you ask me would I go back to Warung Indo, the answer is yes. But do brush up on your Indo-Chinese food knowledge so you get exactly what you want. But then again, half of the fun from dining is being surprised with textures and flavors that hit you full on, unapologetic and damn good.
Warung Indo is open 24 hours a day (except Sundays) and is located at the ground floor of the LPL manor, near the corner of V.A. Rufino and San Agustin Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati City.