I've been wanting to do a Rijsttafel pop-up for many years. I almost featured this banquet at a supperclub, but other events and activities have always meant the idea gets sent to the back burner again. Following our hugely successful Xmas Extravaganzo pop-up, I'm joining forces again with dessert-maker extraordinaire, Charlotte O'Toole (aka BakeOrama) to create a unique and elaborate Rijsttafel Night right here in Manchester. This Indonesian Banquet will feature over 25 vegan and vegetarian dishes, where guests can enjoy an intimate dinner or a celebratory supper with friends. This one-off event will be hosted at The Beagle in south Manchester, so you can be sure of some fabulous craft beer and Chorlton vibes for the evening. Buy your event tickets here.
When we reflected on our Xmas event, Charlotte and I knew that we had set ourselves up with impossible service, trying to serve so many people at once. So this time we have staggered the timings, so diners can join us at different times, allowing us plenty of time to serve up such a complex array of dishes. We have both sampled the Rijsttafel banquet in Holland, and I once came across it at a fancy hotel in Bali, but for the most part I have never seen this in the UK. So what exactly is Rijsttafel or to anglicise the spelling, Ristaffel?
A Dutch-Indo word meaning rice-table. The Rijsttafel was a colonial feast to celebrate the best array of Indonesian food. Although mostly now served in the Netherlands, this elaborate banqueting enjoyed centuries of popularity in the Indonesian archipelego when it was occupied as the Dutch East Indies.
Rijsttafels are seen to represent many things, from the abundance of produce to the multi-ethnic diversity of this string of South East Asian islands. The dishes feature an array of flavours, colour and degrees of spiciness, as well as a range of textures: crispy, crunchy, chewy, slippery, soft, hard, velvety, gelatinous and liquid.
Like British-Indian food, there can sometimes be little resemblance to the original but the focus is about the flavours, textures and produce. Our aim is to showcase an array of the best ideas, flavours and produce from Indonesian food and across my favourite archipelago. I fell in love with Indonesia on my very first visit to Sumatra in 1994, and have since returned for two extended stays along the Nusa Tengarra (from Bali through to Flores). If I could pack a bag and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, I would fly to Sulawesi in a heartbeat. One day soon I hope!
10% of the profits from this pop-up event will be donated to the Priscilla Hall Memorial Foundation, an Australian-based charity supporting underprivileged children in Indonesia. Specifically, money raised from this event will help support the Days For Girls project providing 30-40 kits for girls in remote areas of West Timor (The Foundation for Mother & Child Health).
Sticky things & things on sticks
Cassava cakes, fried dumplings with fragrant herbs
Balinese satay skewers with smoky tofu & tempeh with peanut sauce
Sticky tamarind ‘chkn’ skewers
Tempeh bacem, twice cooked tempeh
Tahu Bakar, stuffed tofu pockets
Bowls of things
Daun ubi tumbuk, pounded cassava leaves
Macadamia sambal, nutty, hot & sticky
Padang-style little laksa, with mock fish & yellow noodles
Jungle curry, spicy & fragrant country-style veg
Jackfruit rendang, slow cooked with coconut, lemongrass & chilli
Assam-style curry, fiery broth with lotus root & cucumber
Rice & things
Nonya dumplings with oyster mushroom & purple pea flower
Banana leaf pocket, stuffed with fiercely spicy seitan mince
Rich coconut rice
Lontong, compressed rice cakes
Loaded cassava chips with sambal mayo & Indonesian salsa
Pickled things: cucumber & chilli - spiced pineapple - beetroot & thyme - fermented rainbow cabbage - turmeric ‘flower’ pickle - tie-dye mooli - fennel & anise
Chilli things: 5 sauce 'flight', including sambal terasi & sambal kecap
Sprinkly things: Toasted coconut and peanut – Caramelised spicy cashews - Deep fried chillies - Chilli peanuts
Peach & Indonesian long pepper sorbet
Mini doughnut with lemon thyme sugar, filled with lemongrass & kaffir lime custard
Rainbow fruit salad with sugar cane rum & anise
Pandan cake with ice-cream
Banana fritter with peanut caramel
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