Cempedak Island’s chefs have excellent cooking skills and produce some amazing food, so I couldn’t help but to dedicate a post just on the food itself!
We jumped straight into lunch when we arrived at the island and were immediately impressed by the food and also the polite and friendly service by the wait staff!
You can either dine at the restaurant itself or at more “private” tables located nearer to the water’s edge. Three of these tables are available on a first-come-first-served basis.
The dining menu is handwritten on little blackboards placed on the table, which is located at the entrance of the restaurant and usually only the menu for the current meal and the next will be displayed, unless the boards haven’t been changed yet, to show what you can expect for the next meal.
Apparently, the menu is fixed for each day of the week, so if you are staying there long-term, you will probably see the same dishes come the same day in the new week. However, guests always have the option to request the staff to prepare something else to their liking, but you’ll have to give them advance notice so that they’ll have ample time to prepare it.
With the aim to prevent food wastage, a standard portion of food will be served to all diners, but those who have larger appetites can ask for second helpings. If you like a particular dish and want more of it, the staff will also gladly oblige to your request.
This was a really tasty soup, with fresh ingredients and a rich chicken broth that is much more flavourful than the average Soto Ayam that you’ll find in Singapore. I have to say that it was a nice start to the meal!
Steamed Fish Pepes with Sautéed Veggies and Sweet Corn Rice
This Gurame fish was fresh and very meaty, plus it was almost a complete meal by itself! Prior to this, I’ve never had steamed Gurame before, as most places usually serve it deep fried “flying fish” style.
I was extremely impressed by this dish as it was deboned for us! This was probably my first time being served with a whole fish (except for a missing tail) without the fish bones! However, I still found a bone near the stomach area, so you’ll still need to be careful when you eat the fish, as the kitchen staff could have missed removing a couple of the bones.
Nonetheless, I felt like I was being pampered by the extra effort that was put in for our dining experience! (and this was only our very first meal there!)
The sautéed veggies were a nice accompaniment to this main course and we found sweet kernels of corn hidden in the mound of rice on the plate.
Do note that one fish serves two persons at the table.
Haha…fancy a western dessert to end an Asian meal! I had no complaints as it was good and tasted exactly like how a strawberry tart should be. However, it felt more like a chocolatey strawberry tart to me, as its pastry shell was lined with chocolate. The plate was also decorated with a strawberry coulis, which we mopped up and devoured together with the tart.
We ended our meal with some coffee and tea. There are several standard options that you can choose from, so do check with the staff for the complete list of available choices.
These are served at every meal only during dinnertime, so I won’t be repeating the picture of the breadsticks in the subsequent meals listed in this post. There are two types of breadsticks served, one flat and one a bit roundish, like an oversized pretzel. I preferred the flat version as it had more flavour in them. Bread is also served at the same time as the breadsticks.
Not being a fan of tuna salads, I was initially wondering whether I should have this for dinner, but since I didn’t ask the staff to prepare something else, I decided to just try whatever was on the current day’s menu. To my surprise, it was really good and my hubby was shocked that I actually ate it!
Grilled King Prawn with Nanyang
Loved the presentation with the three fresh and plump king prawns intertwined and stacked to make a “prawn tower”, which sat atop rice mixed with wild ferns (paku pakis), seasoned with Indonesian spices. Melinjo cracker bits were scattered next to it.
We couldn’t quite figure out what the “Nanyang” meant in this dish, but overall the harmony of flavours could bring a song to my lips.
Papaya Gaul (pictured below on the left)
Lemon and coconut sorbet, with fresh papaya hidden beneath.
I don’t like papaya and had informed the staff during the previous meal, so they suggested replacing it with mango and I was fine with that, as I love mango! The combination was very refreshing and I loved my dessert! (pictured above on the right)
It isn’t everyday that you get breakfast with a view (yes, we managed to get one of the “private” tables this morning!)
We were served with a selection of fruit, as well as pastry.
The items labelled as “pastry” were served in a quaint little basket, which I absolutely adore!
Bread Butter Pudding
Somehow this looked more like a muffin to me.
Literally translated as “Ant’s Nest”, this cake derived its strange name due to its cross section resembling the appearance of an ant’s nest.
Although the piece of cake doesn’t look appetising, its dark brown colour is due to the caramel in the cake and its taste is actually quite nice! In terms of texture, it was springy to the touch and chewy, so it wasn’t exactly my favourite choice of cake, but I have to say that this cake probably requires some skill to be able to create the nest-like appearance.
I would consider this to be one of those experiences where you travel to a foreign country and try their local food, which is unfamiliar to you.
A blend of fresh mango and yoghurt.
As my stomach sometimes doesn’t agree with yoghurt, I opted to just have the mango juice by itself, so as not to jeopardize the rest of my holiday. Pure fresh blended mango juice is just heavenly! (oh yes, I am biased to mango)
Cempedak Style Nasi Goreng with Sunny Side Up
A hearty breakfast and the fried rice was delicious.
Indonesian Food – (clockwise from top left:) Ayam Bakar, Udang Sambal, Yellow Fish Curry, Beef Rendang, Nasi Kuning, Urap; with Sambal Bilis Kacang and some extra sambal chilli (upon request) in the centre.
This was a seriously huge lunch for two people! Judging from the reactions that I happened to notice around me, most people were taken aback when presented with the portion of food at this meal!
Here’s how it looked after I put a bit of everything on one plate!
The Sambal Bilis Kacang (i.e. spicy anchovies with peanuts) was so good that we asked for a second helping! My other favourites were the Ayam Bakar (i.e. grilled chicken) and Beef Rendang, but I was too stuffed to ask for more.
Pisang Goreng with Coconut Ice
This was a nice and sweet ending to the meal, although I would say that the fried banana may have been a bit heavy, especially after such a huge main course!
A refreshing salad with the calamari and crackers providing a different dimension of crispness from the vegetables.
BBQ Lamb Loin with Cous-Cous and Pita Bread
I was initially quite skeptical about this main course as I generally don’t like cous-cous, but this was really good!
The lamb was tender and the pomegranate seeds provided an extra crunch to each mouthful. Overall, the entire dish was a burst of flavours on the taste buds.
Spicy Chocolate Tart
This chocolate tart came with a surprise message, as we were celebrating our wedding anniversary a few days earlier with this trip. There was just a hint of spiciness in the chocolate and it was quite nice.
One of the traditional cakes in this country, it tasted alright but wasn’t exactly my favourite of cakes.
This wasn’t the best muffin that I’ve had in my lifetime, but it will taste just fine if you aren’t a fussy eater.
A blend of rock melon and yoghurt.
Again, mine was just pure melon juice without the yoghurt.
Fancy having this as a main course! I usually think of having pulut hitam as a dessert, but this version only had a small amount of coconut milk over the black glutinous rice and was topped with cubes of fresh mango. It was a savoury dish and was quite filling.
Omelette, Mushrooms, Roasted Tomato & Toast
This mushroom omelette was cooked just right and it was a satisfying breakfast.
Indonesian Beef Spring Rolls
Crispy spring rolls with a beef filling and the combination of ingredients had a nice balance of crunchiness.
Chicken Taliwang, Sauteed Vegetables and Steamed Rice
An Indonesian style roast chicken, which was quite nice.
Lemon and Basil Tartlet with Lemon Sorbet
The lemon sorbet tasted similar to the one from Saturday night and the tart was alright, but nothing to rave about. Overall, it was nice citrusy ending to the meal.
Broccoli Orange Salad
I liked this salad, as it had a nice balance of flavours.
Poached Fish, Sauteed Asian Beans and Baby Potato
The fish was minced and shaped like the potatoes on the plate! Although it didn’t look that appetising, the fish was well marinated with Asian spices and the flavours shone through.
A plate for sharing, but we were reminded we could ask for more if we wanted extra. It was a little too sweet for me and not really the type of chocolate that I like. I felt that the taste of the macaron could be improved and probably the best thing on the plate were the slices of banana, which were slightly caramelised.
This is one of the better versions of carrot cake that I’ve tasted.
Not the usual type of Onde-Onde that I’m familiar with! This one is coated with sesame seeds and was quite chewy.
Jamu Beras Kencur
A herbal tonic of sorts and somewhat an acquired taste, this was served warm.
Absolutely delicious! The crepe filling was juicy and the pineapple was cooked with spices like star anise. Overall, it was a savoury delight!
Soft Baked Egg with Roasted Tomato Sauce and Toast
This one took me by surprise, as it sounded ordinary, but tasted so wonderful! The tomato sauce really whet my appetite and the medley of flavours pleased my stomach so much that I felt tempted to ask for seconds! I’ve never been as satisfied with a breakfast egg dish as I have with this one!
An appetising salad that whet my appetite for more food!
Grilled Butterfly King Prawn with Coconut Rice Cake and Veggies
Here’s another look at the dish with the coconut rice cake.
The prawns were not overcooked and were done just right, while the coconut rice cake was more like an enhanced flavoured ketupat.
It was my first time having this dessert, which seemed more like a type of rice pudding, served with a palm sugar syrup.
Apart from water, the beverages served during breakfast, plus coffee and tea, are included in the meal package. All other drinks are charged separately.
These were some of the drinks that we had tried…
Soursop Soda – this wasn’t great as I felt it needed more soursop in it.
Alice’s “Drink Me” Potion (fresh pineapple, coconut cream, rosella syrup) and Island Temple (rosella syrup, lemonade) – both drinks were quite refreshing.
Banana Fantasy (banana, milk, honey) – probably a banana lover’s dream come true! Haha.
Orange and Pineapple – freshly squeezed juices that tasted great!
In order to be eco-friendly, instead of plastic straws, bamboo straws are used for the drinks. It was my first time encountering these bamboo straws, which can be washed and re-used.
In conclusion, the food on the island exceeded our initial expectations and there were more hits than misses! The wait staff were very friendly and polite, plus they took time to explain what the dishes were and also tried to remember our food preferences. Overall, the dining experience was great!