Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

The family behind fast-casual Indonesian diner Yoi offers an even deeper look at the food in their home country with the second restaurant Kata Kita, which opened on Friday in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD with a diverse spread of dishes from the archipelago.

“Our family is committed to transforming the experience of Indonesian food in Australia. It’s about much more delicious food beyond AND nasi goreng,” says Gideon Sanusi, who has worked at the higher 80-seat venue with his mother Lie and brother Michael.

While nasi goreng appears on the hefty menu, it is joined by regional specialties such as Madura-style duck, known for its black spice paste of lemongrass, candles, shallots and other aromatics.

The Sanusi brothers share family recipes like this with Belitung, a noodle soup with shrimp and beef, which their ...

The Sanusi brothers share family recipes like this mee Belitung, a noodle soup with shrimp and beef that their grandmother makes. Photo: Griffin Simm



There are also several Sanusi family recipes, including one from the small island of Belitung, where Gideon’s grandmother grew up. Mee belitung is a noodle soup with a rich prawn and beef stock in the lead role, fresh prawns, slowly cooked beef, fried potatoes and bean sprouts.

Where Yoi’s menu is ideal for solo diners chasing a taste of home, Kata Kita is all about the party, a key component of Indonesian culture. It has also affected the restaurant’s name, which means “together we say”.

“Before we start eating, we say ‘kata kita makan’ [eat]’, when sitting at a large family table and no one wants to be the first to serve themselves,’ ‘Gideon explains.

Gideon (left) and Michael Sanusi, the brothers who opened the Kata Kita restaurant with their mother Lie.

Gideon (left) and Michael Sanusi, the brothers who opened the Kata Kita restaurant with their mother Lie. Photo: Griffin Simm



Live Australian mud crab, served in a spicy coconut milk-based sauce common in cooking in Padang, is accompanied by other large plates such as grilled pumpkin marinated in turmeric and shallots. Balinese dishes like babi guling (fried pork) are also a focus based on Gideon’s frequent visits to Bali from Jakarta, where he and his family lived.

The spacious restaurant and extensive list of tropical-inspired cocktails by Dewo Saputra are part of the family’s desire to relocate Indonesian food to Australia.

“It’s not just street food; it’s actually really refined, the flavors are complex. It should not be treated like cheap food.”

Those in small groups do not have to miss it, thanks to a hanger with 12 snacks covering minced pork satin on lemongrass skewers, Semarang-style spring rolls bursting with bamboo shoots and homemade Balinese pork sausage.

Six desserts close the menu, from sweet potato buns to bao filled with nutella and ice cream.

Open Tuesday-Thursday 11.30-16.00 and 17.30-22.30, Fri-Sun 11.30-10.30

Babi guling, Bali's famous dish with slow-fried pork with crispy skin, is one of several Indonesian regional dishes on ...

Babi guling, Bali’s famous dish of slowly fried pork with crispy skin, is one of several Indonesian regional dishes displayed at Kata Kita. Photo: Griffin Simm



226 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, (03) 7064 5389, katakita.com.au

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