I’m sure most of us are familiar with the famed Montigo Resorts in Nongsa, Batam. But what many may not know is that they have an F&B offshoot of their culinary delights in Star Vista.
Opened in the fourth quarter of 2017, Cafe Montigo serves up traditional Indonesian fare, coupled with a few Western twists, all while putting a strong emphasis on its impeccable quality and making it a space for the entire family.
I was admittedly sceptical of how wholesome Indonesian food could be produced out of a cafe, but I guess the food would have to convince me otherwise.
I was presented the first item on the menu, Salted Caramel Shakeroo ($9). I am not a big fan of salted caramel, and I couldn’t get past one sip. But if you’re crazy about a sweet-savoury flavour in a beverage, this one will get you going.
Then came the Gado Gado Salad ($9), which was a deconstructed version of the recipe. The peanut gravy was thick and luscious, and it had a good spicy kick, no less. Although everything was separated in presentation, all the flavours gelled together very well.
There was a satisfying crunch from the blanched vegetables and crackers, as well as bounciness from the fried tofu, all coated in an amazing sauce that was too good not to lick clean.
I took a brief break from polishing off the salad when the second drink arrived: the Tilo Avocado Espresso ($9.50). Carrying with such an Indonesian identity, I had high hopes for this, to which it didn’t disappoint.
The espresso shot is served separately, so you can choose just how caffeinated you want to get (I dumped the entire shot in). This drink is pure love. The silky smooth and fatty avocado balances out the strong bitterness of the espresso, and to be honest, I reckon it could be a good substitute for a protein shake post-workout!
Taking a shot at the Western fare, I was served the Tadd’s Beef Burger ($9). This burger doesn’t scream “stellar”, but what it is, is juicy, juicy, juicy!
I especially loved the caramelised onions, but I didn’t particularly fancy how soggy the buns got.
Moving on to the next dish, I had the Ayam Panggang Berempah ($13.50). I have to say, the star of this dish is definitely the sauce (and it should be!). Cafe Montigo nailed this dish with a sauce that has lots of depth and texture.
The chicken was tender and soft, and even the accompanying vegetable side was irresistible. Not to mention, the dollop of sambal brought the entire dish together with its spicy kick.
As for desserts, I first of two Martabak Manis ($6), which you can choose your flavours. This one was half cheddar cheese and half chocolate rice (with a side of peanuts, of course). Normally, you’d have just either, but hey, no harm trying to switch things up.
What would have worked better for this combination, however, would be to have the chocolate rice and cheddar cheese mixed together prior to being sprinkled on the pancake, which would give a better taste profile than to have them separately. The martabak itself was fluffy with a crisp rim, but this particular flavour combination didn’t really get me excited.
The other one was a pandan martabak, with kaya and cheddar cheese. The pandan flavour was quite prominent and smoky, which I really liked. However, the cheddar cheese was too strong a contender for the kaya drizzle to stand out, and it left a dull aftertaste.
I really wanted to love the Martabak Manis here, but I feel they still need some reworking done before it’s close to perfect.
I return solely for the Gado Gado Salad and the Ayam Panggang Berempah, but apart from those two, the rest of the dishes on the menu needs improvement. To be fair, it is a pretty new spot, and there will be kinks along the way. As they say, good things come to those who wait, and it’ll hopefully do better in time.
Expected damage: $6 – $20 per pax