Ponkok is a hole in the wall on Commercial serving homecooked style indonesian.
Mrs. Chasiubow and I were looking for pizza on the Drive, so naturally we ended up in an Indonesian restaurant. Pondok looked interesting, and the nearby Jamaican pizza place seemed too odd for gentle diners, so it was time for a visit to the Orient.
The restaurant is not exactly posh, but it looked comfortable enough. There was soft Indonesian music playing in the background, the manager seated us at our table before the wooden door chime stopped tinkling, and suddenly we had menus in our hands. We started with the pangsit goring, which are crispy wontons filled with chicken and shrimp. They were accompanied by a sweet sauce that had a little chili in it. Tasty. Next we had the lamb curry stew, which arrived in a little chafing dish to keep it hot. It was curryish, but not too much, and the boneless lamb nuggets were tender. We also enjoyed the orak arik, which was a minced cabbage and carrot dish. I expected bland veggies, but it had an interesting flavour. We also had Indonesian chicken fried rice. It was packed with flavour, even at the medium hotness setting. You can get it hotter if you prefer.
All the dishes were well prepared and savoury. We gobbled them up, and washed them down with mango juice and young coconut juice. I don’t think the juices were fresh, but they were acceptable.
The service was great, but the place could use a reno. The w/c was particularly scary. This restaurant is a little pricier than I am used to on the Drive, but you get what you pay for, and the food was worth it.
I’ll be back.
I live on Commercial & went to get a bottle of wine beside this restaurant. I was hungry and thought I'd try this, since I've never had Indonesian food, and walking by it all the time, it looked ok. I saw many diners, so decided to grab some take out.
What I wanted to order was "Gulai Kambing" on their menu...Lamb stew simmered in coconut milk, curry leaves, herbs & spices. $13.25. I asked the nice waitress if I would need a "side" with this entree and she said yes, and pointed me to the side dishes on the menu.
I ordered "Bihun Goreng" - rice noodles with shredded cabbage, green onions & tomaotes. $9.95. I paid, then I left to go get my wine.
I waited about 10 minutes more when I returned, and I asked for a paper menu incase I liked it and wanted to return. She gave me one, a glass of water & told me to call & pick up anytime. She was very nice.
However, for $25 I did not find that a good meal!!!! I almost thought they forgot something when I got home as the lamb stew was in a styrofoam cup you'd get ordering Miso soup! There 6 or 7 little bites of lamb, tasty...but $14? Come on...and it was a soup, not a stew! Granted, I don't know what Indonesian food is, but that sorely disappointed me.
The noodles were good. Tasty, maybe a little too sweet, but paying $25 for that meal, I felt really ripped off. I don't think I would go back because of this. Spending $25 for that made me register & write this review!!!
I have an Indonesian background so I will be very harsh with this review. I've passing this restaurant many times but have heard bad reviews amond the Indonesian community. i decided to give it a try for myself anyways. My first impression as I walked into the restaurant is mediocre. The ambiance and decorations are nothing special. The servers are quite courteous and welcoming. I then opened the menu and noticed the prices of the meals. It is quite high. Places that charge these kind of prices better serve good food to back them up. Among the things we ordered were the nasi goreng (fried rice), spicy chicken, and tempe bacem (soya bean cake). The fried rice, I have to say, is just mediocre. The spicy chicken is tasty buy they used too much bell pepper to create the spicy sauce. Surprisingly, the soy bean cake and the chilli paste that comes with it were very good. We really enjoyed that and the price for it is quite decent for the portion they give us. But the rest were too expensive for that kind of prices. I think in the future, I would come back here if I have cravings for Indonesian food. I still have not found a decent Indonesian restaurant in Vancouver. There are a few is Seattle area that have got it right but none here.
i have been to pondok many many times over the last 6 years and continue to go 3-4 times a year. its become the place for family dinners, large group dinners and intimate dining. i love this restaurant very much and is special to me and many friends. i lived in indonesia for 12 years and find that stepping into pondok i am able to recall a taste of home. many people that i have brought to this restaurant who also lived in jakarta with me have raved about its excellent menu. the servers are always nice to me and my family and friends (while it doesnt hurt to speak bahasa with them and reminisce about indonesia) they are typically indonesian in their warmth and kindness to all their customers.
the decor is simple, with various batik and ikat hangings and tablecloths, wayang kulit and wayang golek as well as some topeng on the walls. sometimes traditional indonesian music will be playing, and sometimes pop music of some kind. even with simple decor, it manages to be comfortable and memorable allowing you to fantasize about the food to come while talking about the old days.
i highly recommend getting one of their riijstafel dishes (a large cone of fried rice, surrounded by 4 different complimenting dishes), they are delectable and will fill up every corner you have (to be shared between 2 people). while the experience is slightly incomplete without a cold bintang, they do have dry asian lagers to wash it all down with. they will vary the spice of the dishes for you if you ask, but if you like it hot just say "pedas".
if you love south-east asian cuisine, this is one of the best in town and if you love indonesian food specifically it is the best.
The restaurant was warm and had so much character. Although it was old, they manage to spice it up with some beautiful batik and artwork. I was with a some friends who kept ranting and raving about their food and boy were they right! It was awesome. So tasty and savoury. The ricetables were outstanding in taste and presentation. They had these fried tofu stuffed with veggies which were so yummy. I reluctantly ended my meal with an advocado shake. Yes advocado! But it was the best shake I've had and I will definitely go back for more.
Is there another Indonesian Place in Town???
First time into Pondok, I found the prices a bit high. But after comparing it with other places... it is pretty comparable. This was years ago...
I cook Indonesian and SouthEast Asian myself. I would say that their food is yummy!!! Authentic... yes. Maybe add a bit more spice to the Rendang. I cook my Rendang for 4 hours at least... I think their Rendang is a bit watery... but nevertheless... excellent.
I've brought friend here, I've brought family here... and they all love the food. I just come back again and again when I crave for Indonesian and become too lazy to cook it myself. They really love the Grilled Eggplant/Aubergine with Sambal. It is one dish I tried to copy and have not been successful. Maybe... I do not have a grill at home. LOL.
Wish they has Ikan Kari Assam. But their Sour/Spicy Fish is close to it. I once had this exquisite dish in Singapore. It's Fish Head simmered in Assam and Curry... with lots of Tomatoes, KangKung, Okra and other S.E. Asian Vegetables.
I've tried looking for places that serve this Indonesian dish that I crave for but cannot find it.
I'd come back here again...
This is a family restaurant. The daughters help in the kitchen and the front serving customers. The mom cooks in the back and the dad tends the till and the bar. Really friendly...
I took a friend here for a dinner one night. My experience was OK, but I don't think the value was there.
Food: Tasty, but average. Serving rice from an ice cream scoop (big round ball) just brings the presentation down a big notch. My friend and I both enjoyed our large dishes.
Service: Was OK. Nothing bad, nothing good. Average. Not sure if this is family owned or not, but it seemed like it.
Value: One thing that did strike me was that the prices were higher than I expected out of a place like this. For the food and location, I felt like I overpaid.
Ambiance: Some standard decorations. It's a bit of a sketchy part of town (I used to live there), so the surroundings aren't at all pretty.
Overall: You can't necessarily go wrong going to Pondok, but it's more expensive than it should be. If you want standard Indonesian, there are probably better places to go.
I went to the Broadway location, but since there's no section, I will comment here. I saw some food photos from the restaurant's website and was looking forward to try their dishes. The food was not hot, only warm and tasted like it was reheated. Two of us ordered a rice table dish for $29. The price was reasonable, but the drink prices were a ripoff. We ordered two fresh coconuts and were charged $16. I can buy them at the grocery store for a buck or two. I should have asked for the price beforehand, oh well. The service was pretty good though.
My husband and I ate here with a group of two other couples about a month ago. We all ordered the rice tables for two. The ambiance is a bit lacking, but I thought the food and the presentation of the food was good, and overall good value for money. The curry dish we had was mild and complex, the meat was tender. I especially enjoyed the shredded cabbage that accompanied the meat dishes. For desert, we shared the fried wrapped banana with caramel sauce and ice cream, which was delicious and ample for two. Our dining companions enjoyed their meals as well.
I dined here with 4 girlfriends 2 wks ago. One of my gfs never been here so I had to introduce her to the restaurant.
Ordered the whole talapia, eggplant dish and a noodle dish (need to remember the dishes names). And plain rice dish for 4 people. We had one beer each.
Food was very tasty and loved the spices (medium spice was enough for my tastebuds and my gf doesn't enjoy spicy meals). We thought the meals were delicious, and we particularly loved the eggplants. Talapia was crispier than I liked, but with the spicy sauce it made up for it.
Meals was reasonably priced almost $80 with beer each and taxes.
Added the tip and we decided to dine here again in a few wks.
Pondok has decent Indonesian food, but I think they've priced themselves a bit above their market. Servers were polite but rather apathetic.
They would be a great find if they could lower prices, work on the service and ambiance and tweak their recipes to perfection.
The Commercial Dr location is now closed, and what a shame! I loved the cozy neighborhood-favorite feel. This was the best unpretentious place to eat on the Drive but now they seem to have gone faux chic over on Broadway.
The rice table set menus were great - love the presentation and the flavours. Also always had fantastic friednly service .
I will miss our neighborhood restaurant!
i stopped by the broadway station the other day, and decided to take out homecountry meal for my dinner at home. I got nasi goreng which is famous indonesian dish. It is quite decent... for taste i would give decent rate because it's is not great, and not too bad either. the rice is quite soggy and the chips are great. the service is solid, but the ambience was a little bit too dark.
Given the comment below, the original lamb stew from Indonesia is not that watery. I believe there are good Indonesian restaurants in town, however i'm new in town. havent got that much chances to try out all of them
I would choose Pondok's gentle flavored food, after eating out several days outings. Food is solid overall and gently flavored like home cooking. Desert dishes are standard but no complaints.
Been here several times but last time one of my favorite Orak-Arik (Cabbage Stir Fry) had slightly too much white pepper, I'm shure this is an anomaly.
While building itself is old, ambiance is quite welcoming.
We've tried this restaurant 3 times. The first time was really good - the rice tables were around $20 and were enough for two people. Then they went up to $25 and the portions seemed to shrink. The last meal included a greasy, flavourless fried noodle. The chef seems to have lost heart.
Service is OK if rather impersonal. Several times, I seemed to be staring at an empty beer glass, wondering if someone was going to ask me if I wanted another.
Been here twice. It's really homestyle cooking but it's nothing spectacular and the flavour is a bit bland for Indonesian and I would know since my mom is Indonesian. Funny thing about this place is that it seems like it used to be a club since you can see a disco ball still there.
This was the first experience of Indonesian food for my wife and I, but despite our novice I doubt that dried-out chicken is acceptable in that country. The meats were poor cuts, flavourless, and were nearly as dry as jerky. The atmosphere did little for me; the food did even less.