Dapur Babah Élite, the first culinary outing by Indonesia’s acclaimed Tugu Hotels & Restaurants Group, is set in a pair of refurbished 1940s shophouses located just off Jakarta’s central Merdeka Square on Jalan Veteran 1. This historic location was once one of old Batavia’s (former official name of Jakarta during the Dutch East Indies period) most fashionable streets, with most of its buildings owned by a rich sheikh from Yemen. The restaurant exudes a floating out-of-the-world kind of romance from every single corner, filled with beautiful artworks.
The decor is a menagerie of period mementoes and paraphernalia, such as reclaimed teak furniture, rustic housewares (scales, meat grinders, pestles and mortars), and the signboard advertising Hap Liong Tailor, the shophouses’ original tenant. Rooms are painted in bold pastel-crayon combinations of red and green, black and red, purple and blue, while stone statues of Chinese, Hindu, and Buddhist gods smile down on diners.