Ma Pa Me is a fast-paced Southeast Asian restaurant anchored in Alfan “Alfie” Musthafa’s experiences growing up in Indonesia’s West Java. During school holidays, the ex-Paw Paw chef would escape the city to a farm in the country owned by his grandparents – the Ma and Pa from the restaurant’s name – and immerse himself in its fresh produce.

Musthafa would go on to study food production management at university and then develop his skills in Bali in hotel kitchens at Nusa Dua Beach Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton and Grand Hyatt Bali, learning to cook other cuisines such as Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

All that nostalgia and experience is on show here. Occupying the open-air tenancy formerly occupied by French Martini, the space is fitted out with ceiling fans, heavy timber tables and turquoise banquettes.

The menu spans Southeast and East Asian flavours. Start with small plates like kingfish sashimi and fried tofu skin chicken-and-crab rolls; then follow up with chicken grilled over coals or twice-cooked Bali-style pork belly with bumbu genap (a Balinese spice paste), and served with steamed vegetables and pork crackling.

Many of the dishes are gluten-free and there’s also a good selection of vegan options: jackfruit rendang curry, a tofu yellow curry, and a gado-gado salad prepared without eggs.

To drink, there are beers on tap and a short sharp wine list that favours Australian and New Zealand drops served by the glass. But we love the party-starting house cocktails, like the Spiced Mango Daiquiri finished with Thai basil, bitters and charred lime.

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Updated: May 12th, 2022

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