In Alvin Saputra and Akbar Thais's hometown of Surakarta (also known as Solo), the food you find at their Newtown restaurant would be considered highly unconventional. The brothers' rendang comes mixed with cheese in a quesadilla, local mussels are stewed in beer and, perhaps most controversially of all, the charcoal-grilled chicken is almost black with charcoal.
What's conventional in Australia or in Indonesia doesn't matter to the pair, or to their chef. They take what they like from Australian culture and from their memories of home and merge them to make something new and, in the case of the chicken, better.
But many dinner options, such as the soto ayam (chicken and turmeric noodle soup), the satay skewers or nasi liwet (shredded chicken, coconut rice and coconut cream), are traditional.
The dinner options are traditionally Indonesian. But the brunch menu is like that of an inner-city cafe. There are pandan pancakes, Indonesian-Dutch hash-brown stacks, Brickfields bread and Welcome Dose roasted coffee. With toasties (including the house special: a rendang and cheese option), fried noodles, sambos and gado gado, lunch is somewhere in-between.
The space straddles both morning and evening moods. The key is a simply decorated courtyard space and upstairs balcony area.