Menu – The Illusive

Here’s how it goes, now, in most of the restaurants I have been in Indonesia:
I scan the menu, the plethora of yummy sounding food, then I choose an item. The waitress comes up and asks whether I am ready to order. I said yes, I am, I’m one of the ones who are pretty decisive on any choices I make. I mentioned my order, she/he said “Sorry, at the moment we haven’t got any of ….”

This happens, all the time. I have not visited a restaurant that had all the items either my friend or me chooses.

So now, it has become a game for me. I ask ‘ What have you got’ and they would say ‘ it is in the menu’, and I would guess the thing I think they won’t have. My guess works most of the time. I think because most of these kitchens only hold 70% of what they have on the menu. When they say we don’t have this then I say “So now, can you tell me what you actually have in?”


Choices are good, right? But what good are choices when they don’t actually exist. It is some kind of an illusion that will just shatter your hungry dreams.

From my experience whilst travelling, I think restaurants with limited menu have better quality of food. The best food I had in Venice, Rome and London are from non-consequential looking cafés, with 3 only choices for mains at lunchtime. The food was divine.

They serve seasonal food, from items they bought from the market fresh that day or the day before. They cooked limited beautiful portion with care, fresh that day. Not, half-warm microwaved food, fished-out of the freezer.

Indonesia has so many seasonal fruit and food, a lot of which are organically grown, coupled with the breath of recipes, why is it impossible to have freshly prepared menu? Which means a variety of food can be tasted through out the seasons.


What do you think? Would you be more disappointed with a restaurant with little menu, or big menu but half of which is unavailable?