Where is Krakatoa York? Simple question you’d think but lets not take anything for granted given it’s history of geographical misfortune. Krakatoa York is on Tanner Row, right opposite the new council offices and Cedar Court hotel. Having managed to at least accurately locate my subject I can at least feel I have one up on Hollywood’s attempt at detail. For the record, the island from which this restaurant takes its name is west of Java, not east.
Claiming to be Yorkshire’s only Indonesian restaurant Krakatoa York has been on ‘the list’ for months but it was only this week I finally got round to checking it out after some positive reports from friends.
Strolling along the river we paused in Dyl’s under Skeldergate bridge to enjoy a cold Budvar in the sun and make the final decision on our food destination. A bit more of a walk, navigating through The Kings Arms typically well lubricated clientele, and we were seated ready to go through a nicely balanced menu.
The choices appeared, to my untrained eye, to strike a good combination of traditional dishes and neatly anglicised descriptions. While deliberating an unexpected bonus came when we looked up and spied a couple of friends to join. The staff were entirely happy to reseat both couples at a new table for four.
Both couples went for a combination of Bakwan Jagung (Sweetcorn patties) and Bala-Bala Keju Dagin (Pork, Cheese & shredded vegetable patties) to start. Mains selected were Acar Kuning Krakatoa (a mild pork stir fry), Bebek Betutu (duck slow cooked on the bone then stir fried with chilli), a notably spiced fish dish and a Nasi Goreng.
The sweetcorn patties were subtly flavoured with lime leaves and coriander. Cooked in a batter made from a combination of rice and tapioca flour they were a perfect start, pleasingly light and offset nicely against sweet chilli sauce. The pork dumplings were my personal favourite, not as heavy as one might fear the dish justified its place as a starter very well. The proportions of pork, cheese and vegetables were extremely well judged, in fact I’d have happily taken a couple more of these with some rice and a couple more dipping sauces as a main course.
Moving through our mains we agreed the Pork stir fry had a lovely depth of flavour. Elements of sweet & sour didn’t overpower the tender meat and the sauce clung onto beautifully fluffy coconut rice. The quality of the meat in the duck dish was also extremely high. While the heat didn’t overpower the flavour it was a little spicy for my taste, though this probably reflects my rather moderate tolerance for spicy food than anything more specific to the dish. I didn’t taste the Nasi Goreng or the fish dish but they were immaculately presented and the recipients spoke well of them.
I can’t say anything particularly interesting about the Pinot Grigio we shared with the food. It was certainly nothing worth complaining about but it didn’t particularly bring anything new out in the food. Perhaps a couple of cold beers would have been a better choice.
A very pleasant venue, friendly and attentive service that stayed perfectly on the right side of invasiveness, excellent food with an interesting choice of dishes, reasonable prices – we thoroughly enjoyed our evening, particularly with the unexpected bonus of friendly dining companions. I may have chosen poorly but perhaps the wine list could be a little more exciting, that aside we certainly had no complaints. Two courses each and a bottle of wine came to £25 a head. We’ll certainly be back!
On a side note, I was hoping to work in some terrible eruption puns in this piece. While I may have singularly failed to do so (for which you should be grateful) I still thoroughly recommend Simon Winchester’s excellent book on the eruption of Krakatoa.