Warung Padang – cheap and cheerful Indonesian in Bermondsey
Prince Of Wales Road, London, SE16 4XF
I spend a lot of time (some may say too much) reading about, and looking at, food, and recently, one of the bloggers I follow, The Boy Who Ate The World, published this post about Warung Padang, which made my mouth water so much, I knew I had to try the place. Last week finally presented the occasion, and my cousins and I popped by after seeing the wonderfully nostalgic new Jungle Book film!
Warung Padang is hidden away on a little side street in Bermondsey, but the smell hits you before you even see it. Located inside a hostel, it looked a bit like a run-down deli, but my olfactory senses have rarely been so stimulated, before even entering. This was a bit of an issue once I got home, as all my clothes had to be thoroughly Febrezed, but it was well worth it!
Most of the menu items were unfamiliar, but we were able to take some educated guesses and chose accordingly. Our lone waiter was sweet and friendly, albeit a little confused, as he rushed to tell us there were no more spring rolls, only to come back a few minutes later with a triumphant “We found them!!” It felt more like a cosy family dinner than a meal at a London restaurant, which was a wonderful feeling on a quiet Sunday evening.
Warung Padang doesn’t have a website, and so I can’t do my usual trick of re-checking the menu to remember exactly what we ordered. I do remember that all the mains were around £8 though – an absolute bargain!
So from memory…
The Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk… this was the first time I’ve tried it, and definitely not the last. For somebody who likes the smell of coffee more than the taste, and lives for the sweet hazelnut latte, this was pure and utter genius.
The once-lost spring rolls were really tasty and satisfied some fried cravings – though we had no idea what was inside!
For my main, I tried the Ayam Penyet, or ‘smashed’ fried chicken. I loved the concept and texture of the crispy chicken, but unfortunately the topping was just a little bit too spicy for me! I was able to neutralise with the rice, but not entirely. Loved the presentation though, and the portion was very generous, as were they all.
My cousin opted for the Nasi Padang Special, and whilst the beef was an absolute winner, he felt the chicken and deep-fried egg that came with it were superfluous. Next time, we’ll definitely go for the non-special! The coconut sauce was incredible though, and I definitely stole quite a bit of it from his bowl…
My other cousin is vegan, and so she went for the Gado Gado. Without egg, it’s perfectly vegan, and very, very tasty. And carb-free, apart from the few crispy chips on the side!
Lastly, we also tried the Ketuprak, another veggie option, but with noodles. Using not just tofu, but also tempeh for bulk, both this and the last main were far more flavourful than most vegetarian options.
We decided to indulge in a dessert, which was a coconutty rice paper-y dumpling sort of situation, flanked with vanilla ice cream. I’m not usually a big fan of Asian desserts, and this held true here too, but my cousins definitely enjoyed it. I counted my Vietnamese coffee as dessert instead!
Warung Padang is incredibly good value (under £50 for the four of us), and is a lovely cosy place that bursts with flavour. You’ll need a bit of Febreze when you get home, but it’s nothing more than the sign of an incredible meal. I’ll definitely be back! Oh, and did I mention they do takeaway?