Trio Cantonese restaurant at Gondangdia Street

“Boy, oh boy, oh boy!”

We finally headed to Trio Restaurant one Sunday noon, only to find ourselves disappointed.

To me, Trio Restaurant is like the fabled Phoenix, an institution, an eternal restaurant (openened in 1940s, mind you) manned by, perhaps, a Wu-Tang trained master cooks– or something.. But nope.

Trio restaurant's façade

The eatery can prized itself as one of the nostalgic restaurants (restoran nostalgia) in the capital. The menu board seemed to have been hanging there for decades, the menu books are written in old Bahasa Indonesia and Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese, not sure), and the pomade-laden waiters looked like they’ve been working there long before their facial lines and grey hairs even appeared.

Hubby and I were expecting to be swept off our foodie feet, with the food they’re serving at least, since the interior was obviously not their strong suit.

I was expecting an old haunt with kitsch diningware, but what we found there was.. all that plus more.

Undermaintained was an understatement in describing the restaurant. It looks as if I could fall apart if its guests sneeze on the same time.

The dark corner made me fear of dengue mosquito would feast of my sleeping baby’s arms and legs.

What bursts my bubble the most, okay, two things that burst my bubble the most were, the quality of the food and costly tab we had to pick up by the end of our lunch.

The sweet and sour pork (Kolobak) and Angsio Tofu on the background

Hubby and I shared two dishes: Kolobak (sweet and sour pork) and Angsio Tahu (Chinese silken tofu with Ang Ciu sauce), and cucumber pickles (yes,  we have to pay for this).

Acar Ketimun

If you’re wondering what Ang Ciu (red wine) is, it’s a cooking wine made from fermented sticky rice. In the west, cooks use Sherry, in the east, we use Ang Ciu (Mirin in Japanese cuisine).

Halal Chinese Indonesian eateries usually dismiss Ang Ciu (because  it’s a non-halal), and replace it with glutomate (MSG) or sugar.. But most likely glutomate, mighty lots of glutomate.  Here, it’s common for diners to ask the cook to “hold the msg”.


Sweet and sour pork is one of our favorite dishes. We were super looking forward to savour it. On the first bite, our excitements ruled out the bizzare taste of the meat. But then the funky taste just keep on returning.

It was just too obvious to ignore.

Then we realized that there’s an obvious staleness on our Kolobak. Determined to be impressed, we finished our Kolobak, only to wake up to an unsettled stomach the next morning. A failing cold chain in extention to the falling  ceilings 😦 😦 :(. Disappointed to no end.

Angsio Tofu

The Angsio Tahu was nothing special. Tofu, despite its appearance, is a very special protein. To have silken tofu reach  its stardom, it has to be brined in salted water for a while. The Angsio tofu was left saltless by the cook, too bad.

Not much to tell about the fruit juices, except that it has too much water mixed into them.

Pink Guava Juice and a forgettable lemony thingy


Sadly the pricey foods  failed to shine. Why the restaurants always packed left me wondering. Were we just being unlucky for having the bad produce on our plate or Jakarta nostalgic diners were very permissives?

The restaurant play this “organ tunggal”-ish songs from circa 1970s. We walked out of there having a couple of sworn enemies– electone keyboard and hi fi with cassette player.

Billed: 100K something for food and drinks.

Food: 4 out of 10 emphasis on taste and price. The quality of the foods are the downfalls of Trio. Wallet was frowning and stomaches were suffering the next day.

Service: 7 out 10 emphasis on attentiveness and warm towel.

Overheard at the dining table: “Isn’t the owner related to the Paramount restaurant owner?”