I’ve never been to Indonesia, but I think I would really enjoy it there. I have read about it’s natural beauty filled with rain forests and beaches that calm your senses – a place to relax and take in your surroundings. I imagine the food being quite memorable, something similar to Kasih, a new Indonesian restaurant in downtown, Los Angeles.
Kasih, pronounced Ka-see, means love in Indonesian and Chef Hamel is making his mark on the LA food scene. Hamel, having spent his childhood in Thailand, grew up eating the flavors of the region, which are present in his cooking. The menu is modernistic in presentation with plates that look like portraits of your favorite art. The flavors aren’t exactly traditional, so it seems, but have new-age Indonesian flair which is quite surprising at times.
Kasih is located in Little Tokyo, just right down the street from The Los Angeles Times. The industrialized open space offers a clubby feel with full bar and extended hours for the late night diners. The open kitchen has a view of chefs preparing plates giving the restaurant a pleasant waft of what’s to come.
The Snapper Ceviche was magnifyingly fresh with pickled celery and Thai chilies to counter balance the heat on the plate. The light lemongrass oil provided a mild citrus canal for dipping as you prepared your fork for another bite.
Asinan Kelapa or Indonesian slaw had a crunchy texture from the cabbage, crispy noodles and toasted coconut chili flakes, but watch out for the extended heat on your tongue – wow! It was one of those dishes that if you stopped eating – it kept burning, so don’t stop!
Rendang Sapi – a traditional Indonesian beef dish, was different. Not a curry swimming in sauce, but chunks of slowly braised meat with a tang of turmeric, ginger and galangal. Roasted potatoes, sauteed spinach and pearl onions created a soft balance of flavors that were delightful to eat with the beef. I recommend a plate of Turmeric Coconut Rice with this dish.
Kasih is open nightly, except Sundays with breakfast coming soon. Happy Hour is from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. and a reverse Happy Hour after 11:00 p.m. Validated parking in the building – definitely a fun dining spot.