The most famous Minang restaurant in Indonesia

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Natrabu restaurant located on Jalan Haji Agus Salim, Sabang, Central Jakarta. (photo: IO/Aldo)

IO, Jakarta – As a country which is rich in spices, Indonesia is a country which has a diversity in regional cuisines. One of the regional food which uses a lot of spices is Minang cuisine. Minang cuisine or commonly known as ‘Nasi Padang’ is a food derived from the island of Sumatra. West Sumatra to be precise.

To enjoy food from West Sumatra region, customers can come to some  Minang restaurants  in Central Jakarta; however, one of the recommended Minang restaurants is Natrabu Minang. The restaurant which was established in 1967 is located  at Jalan Haji Agus Salim, Sabang, Central Jakarta. This place is used as a place of business as well as a home for the late of Rahimi Sutan, the owner of the restaurant, and his family. Choosing the location in Sabang,  Central Jakarta,  he had not  mistakenly chosen this area as there are many very famous restaurants are located in this area..

Natrabu was pioneered by Rahimi Sutan, who  started his business as a travel agent. Lately, his travel business has been experiencing a very hard competition with other various travel agents in Indonesia. Natrabu travel agents offices around the world such as Japan, San Francisco, New York were forced to close. All business were cultivated by Rahimi after he took an early retirement as a police. He became a police officer in the era of Sukarno who then became President of Indonesia. He was an officer in DPKN (Dinas Pengawasan Keselamatan Negara- State Safety Supervisory Service). he was in the screening section of people who would go abroad. This experience made him a businessman in the field of travel.

With the support of his colleagues, the young Rahimi  changed his profession from a police which had been cultivated since 1951 becoming a travel agent entrepreneur, which was established in 1958. Another business,  ‘Nasi Padang’ Minang Restaurant, was also established at the same year as as a side business. Over the course of time, this Minang restaurant even much more successful compared to the travel agent business.

Being active in tourism, the grandfather of 11 grandchildren had been appointed as  the chairman of two organisations, Perhimpunan Hotel dan Restoran Indonesia PHRI (Association of Hotels and Restaurants Indonesia) , and the Association of The Indonesian Tours & Travel Agencies (ASITA) Jakarta.

In the early days of Minang restaurant establishment, Jasni Yahya’s mother, who is the wife of Rahimi Sutan, participates in the business of mixing spices, especially in some food. The Side dish which can not be paralleled by other padang restaurants to this day is Rendang It is the Natrabu’s flagship main menu. In addition to Rendang, Dendeng becomes the favorite dish in Natrabu. Unlike in other restaurants, the Dendeng and red chili are separatedly served.

Similar to another menu, the Kampong  fried chicken with deep penetrated seasoning to the bone is also the favorite dish. No wonder, a prominent politician, such as , Doctor Mahathir Muhammad who was the Prime Minister of Malaysia often visites this restaurant every time he comes to Jakarta.

The family relationship of Rahimi Sutan with the family of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir is very well intertwined due to their tastes the same food.  Since Mahathir found his ‘love’ in the cuisine of the Minang cuisine and the only restaurant which can cater his taste is Natrabu,  he also takes his time to come and enjoy the food in this restaurant any time he is in Jakarta. Even more, his family becomes close to the children of Rahimi, and they became quite familiar with Mahathir Muhammad’s family.

After  Rahimi Sutan passed away in 2012, Natrabu is now passed on to his daughter. “she is also close to Mahathir’s daughter. She’s my only daughter. I sent her to Switzerland to study about restaurants and hotels, “said Jasni Yahya. Of course, as a student of tourism, she knows very well that Switzerland is the best place in the world to study about restaurants and hotels.

As the oldest Minang restaurant in Jakarta, Natrabu is a great place for us to taste authentic food of West Sumatra. The typical flavor with spices herbs taste in this restaurant will spoil your tongue with the mainstay menu that Natrabu has. Natrabu has many branches which are located not only in Jakarta, but also in Sanur and Nusa Dua Bali.

Having very special menus, Natrabu can be  your good weekend reference to try the sensation of the spices richness of Minang food.

(Muhammad Akbar)