Japindo: Indonesian Food in Bermondsey

Japindo is a small Indonesian/Japanese restaurant/garage in the middle of a residential area in Bermondsey. I was there with a group of friends recently for a celebration of Indonesian cuisine and there don’t seem to be many options in London for some reason. Japindo doesn’t look like much from the outside, but sometimes that can be a good sign so we didn’t let it stop us!

We got off to a rocky start having to wait for a long time to make our order and eventually resorting to going over to the bar to get the job done. After a few interruptions for the waiter to take phone calls for deliveries, we had ordered what we were fairly sure was what we wanted. Japindo clearly prioritise their takeaway business, where presumably they are bound to service agreements with the various take-away services, at the expense of their eat-in customers.


After a bit more coaxing we were presented with delicious tempeh and some tasty spring rolls to start. We also tried the aubergines which were also quite nice.


As was becoming the theme of the evening, we then had an unreasonably long wait before our mains started to arrive. They then came in slow waves with an occasional nudge of the staff. I have to say, the biggest hit was the beef rendang which to be honest didn’t look like much on the plate, but the beef was succulent and tender and the sauce was absolutely beautiful. The ayam bakar, which is chicken in a thick, sweet soy glaze, was also delicious. I really enjoyed the little bowls of kapau kale curry that were served alongside the mains – I could just eat a meal of that!


The big miss was the Dendeng which in its menu description sounded alright: “Fried beef steak with spicy sauce” In reality it was dry and tough blackened beef that didn’t taste great and was difficult and not very pleasant to eat.


Now on to desserts…only we weren’t actually able to order any. It had taken so long to make our order and to be served our food that the kitchen had closed before we got that far! I did however manage to twist the waiter’s arm to make me a sirup bandung which was described on the menu as a “milky rose water syrup”. What came was a glass of pink milky liquid that, if I closed my eyes, could have just been cereal milk. It was sweet and fairly tasty, but not what I was expecting.


Overall, the food was really good apart from a couple of options, so it makes it all the more crazy that I still can’t bring myself to recommend this place – it just wasn’t worth the wait. I don’t think service that terrible is worth enduring even for the best tasting food in London. If you really want to try the food here then it’s probably better to grab a park bench nearby and get it delivered! You might actually get your food that way!

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