Spice Islands Indonesian Restaurant
3592 West 41st Avenue
(604) 266 7355
Recently lauded in a local city magazine as the top restaurant choice in a strange and contestable category dubbed as “best other asian”, Spice Islands Indonesian Restaurant fills a unique niche on Vancouver’s far west side, with a quaintly decorated room fitting to the type of clientele living in the area.
Seemingly understaffed with a male manager-type who was a one-man pit crew – handling hosting, waitering and busboy duties, and making occasional stops behind the open bar to prepare drinks. Service was friendly, though commentary on dish selections and suggestions came across a bit condescending – a pet peeve of mine with servers who without questioning, assume your understanding (or lack there of) when it comes to certain cuisine and/or your ability to handle some flavorings or strength of them (level of spiciness for example).
The Roti Prata was served with a light curry sauce, and was the highlight of our meal with just the right thickness and a chewy interior matched by a flaky, crispy outer crust – probably the best I’ve had in the GVA.
As one of the mains that were shared, the thirteen-spice slow cooked Rendang Daging had tender chunks of beef but they lacked a deep marination of flavor and the cook seemed to try to compensate for it by adding an overbearing level of heat.
Lastly came the Cumi-Cumi Baso, which was essentially a minced prawn-stuffed squid tube that was breaded and deep fried then covered in a tomato chili sauce. The stuffing was too rubbery and tasted almost artificial in a way, almost like a bland version of SPAM – a poor finish to our dining experience.
With not much in the way of competition for authentic Indonesian cuisine, it would seem Spice Islands has captured solid footing in this space. But for this diner, not enough to warrant a return visit at above-average prices for decent but underwhelming food.