Utrecht already has some delicious Indonesian restaurants, but only recently there’s a newcomer in town: Spekuk! The misspelling of the name for Indonesian ‘Spekkoek’ is an indicator of what you can expect: Indonesian food, but not quite as you would expect it. The dishes that chef Jitske Jongendijk serves in her restaurant are Indonesian dishes with a dash of Dutch sobriety, just as layered as the ‘spekkoek’ that they serve. Coming from a mixed Dutch and Indonesian family myself, I had definitely gotten curious!
A warm welcome
You can find Spekuk in the Drieharingenstraat, where you can shamelessly people watch from the comfort of their terrace. On arrival we were greeted by our host Kiki, donned in an apron for the night! Kiki explains that everyone that works at Spekuk has to work in the kitchen with chef Jitske to get a feel for all the dishes they serve. This sounds promising!
Once seated on the terrace, Kiki shows us the (renewed) menu. A simple design with a clear concept: you pick the size of your meal and proceed to chose the dishes you would like your meal to consist of. You can pick from several meat, fish or vegetable dishes, even for vegans and vegetarians there’s plenty of choice! If you like surprises, you can also leave your meal entirely to the chef.
An Indonesian feast
We start the evening off with a delicious duo of skewers; saté. One skewer made with goat meat and one made with beef. You could tell that both of them were made with high quality meats. There was a wonderful smoky flavor to them, like they were fresh off the BBQ!
While enjoying a Spekuk Special cocktail (rum, ginger ale and spekkoek liquor) and some delightful ice cold chendol (coconut milk, cane sugar syrup and strings made of rice flour) we start our next course: a plate filled with various little bites. Pangsit (a fried wonton packet filled with meat), a corn cookie, an egg pancake filled with langoustine and leek and a vegetarian spring roll. All of the bites were rich in flavor, but for those who are in need of a little more spice, it was served with two kinds of spicy sambal (chili paste). One with lime, which was nice and fresh, and one with shrimp paste, which was rich and full in flavor.
The icing on the cake, however, was the main course: a big plate filled with all kinds of different dishes from Spekuk’s menu. My personal favorites were the spicy stewed beef and the braised endive, a personal recipe from chef Jitske’s grandmother. You can really taste the love and memories in every bite. Even the rice, that serves as a base to this feast is perfect: amazing in flavor and nice and sticky, just like I remember it from home.
To finish it all off I ordered a cup of coffee, of course accompanied by a little piece of spekkoek. Homemade, baked layer for layer, to a cake that is just as layered as the flavors in their dishes.
Images: Susanne Sterkenburg and Lisa Peters
Tuesday: 17.00 – 22.00
Wednesday: 17.00 – 22.00
Thursday: 17.00 – 22.00
Friday: 13.00 – 22.00
Saturday: 13.00 – 22.00
Sunday: 15.00 – 22.00