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Padi, Homestyle Indonesian, Open in Berkeley

As reported here, Padi, a new Indonesian place, took over Berkeley's Holy Land space.

It's open now. What's the word, 'hounds?

2965 College Ave
Berkeley CA 94705

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  1. Went there last Saturday. Great pempek (fish cake) and empal (marinated fried beef). Flavors are almost just like back home. Friendly chef too that comes out and chat.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Crunchyapple

      Their website is a confusing mess.

      However the food looks and sounds tasty,I hope to try it for lunch this week.

      1. re: Mission

        The menu is there, it's a weird Flash thing, you have to drag the cover to the left to see the menu proper.


        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          the in house menu looks nothing like the online menu. calling it a "soft opening", they have a menu that fits the category i've described.

          the online menu seems geared toward catering and investors.

          1. re: shanghaikid

            The weird Flash menu on the Web site is almost identical to the one we ordered from today and to the takeout menu I'm looking at right now, just a few dishes are different.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              i'll take your word for it. not getting a flash. no menus are dragging. must be missing an upgrade somewheres.....

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  thanx.. yep. looks similar to the inhouse menu.

    2. Padi offers sumatra style indonesian food. it's spicier than jakarta style.

      menu: "starters, soup & more, vegetarian & vegan, all time favorites, hot & spicy choices, mild choices, sweets and drinks"

      not sure what to order so picked "Nasi Campor Special" -rice combination plate (8.95)
      -menu implies and some reviews complained of small portions.
      -got one boiled egg, one soy sauce marinated drummete, a potato pancake, and small bowl of curry vegetable rice cake soup, sliced tomatoes and large scoop of jasmine rice..
      -flavors vibrant with random bursts of hot spiciness.
      -items on special change daily, most come from menu.

      expect to spend $$, entrees seem to be of the "small plate" genre. fresh, tasty food, halal meats, no msg tasted.

      4 Replies
      1. re: shanghaikid

        Comparisons to Jayakarta? Mainly just the Sumatran difference?

        1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

          haven't been to Jayakarta. Padi's chef refers to their food as "sweet" and following the Jakarta style of indonesian cooking.

          1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

            The biggest difference in the dishes we have had a both restaurants was in spicing.
            Padi more Chilis, not as sweet, less Southeast Asian spicing (Lemongrass and Lime Leaf) more of "South Asian spices" (Turmeric, Coriander, Cumin Etc..)
            Jayakarta not as Chili hot, slightly sweeter and more complexity mostly from the Lemongrass and Lime Leaf and the like

            1. re: chefj

              Happy to see so many positive reports on the food so far. And especially your drawing a bead on the differences in cooking style.

              The nasi tumpeng section on the catering menu looks fascinating.

        2. I stopped in a few days ago, but did not get food. There was a "soft opening" sign -- not all menu items available. I asked about beer and wine, they had none, and are not likely to get a liquor license. I don't recall whether Holy Land had a liquor license -- we always brought our own.

          It's not legal for restaurants without liquor licenses to allow BYOB but some places don't care as long as you are discreet. Other places, perhaps this one, do not allow alcohol for religious reasons.

          1. Most of the dishes weren't familiar to me. Ordered rendang ($11), best I've had, very nice spice blend, good level of heat, would definitely order again. Pempek palembang (fish cake with spicy vinegar, $8) was two small balls and one big one with an egg inside plus some noodles, nice heat. Ayam penyet (smashed fried chicken with spicy chili, $10) ordered spicy, good but not exciting, sauce was very good, spicy enough that I probably won't try the "crazy spicy" level. With rice that was more than enough food for two.

            They don't seem to be Americanizing this at all. Nice addition to the neighborhood.

            1. Ate dinner here last night before a movie across the street. They had run out of the rendang, so I ended up getting the fried rice combination plate. Very good flavor and a good value, I thought.

              1. Melanie always scopes things out first! Yay to her!

                Finally ate lunch here yesterday. Delicious! Chef from Sumatra and super-happily brought me out extra spicy sambals which he makes in house, different ones for different dishes. Much much better than Jayakarta in my opinion even taking into account the differences in cuisines (somewhat subtle). Food made with more care, friendlier staff.

                Had beef rendang (gotta try it in every restaurant), nasi goreng (ditto), smashed chicken (as people raved about it), ayam bumbu bali (the chicken simmered in sauce--much better "taste of Indonesia" than the smashed chicken, imho as fried chicken is fried chicken and there's plenty of sambal at the table). We took home purchased small amounts of the sambal for rice and that for meat, neither of which is routinely put on table as they are quite deliciously hot.

                If only I wasn't supposed to watch my salt, I'd eat here once a week.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rccola

                  Thanks for the shout-out, but you've beat me to eating there! Sounds good so far, I've gotta try harder to squeeze in a meal at Padi.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    And I wouldn't have eaten there if you hadn't scoped it out. So yay, Melanie! I'm in love. Now it will be Da Nang once a week alternating with Padi.

                2. Linking up with the reports on the new branch in San Leandro,


                  1. Tried the Elmwood branch tonight, finally. Thought it was good, but not as great as I was expecting. Thought the smashed chicken was tasty, but a bit on the dry side. Next time would get it spicier. Potato pancakes (more like soft croquettes) fine with an interesting eggy coating. Friend ordered the nasi padang which looked like a good way to try a bunch of things. Tasted the curried jackfruit which was somewhat sweeter than and not at all like that in the nasi gudeg I had in Yogyakarta, which makes sense given that this is Padang-style food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bigwheel042

                      a lot of the cooking and cooks in Yogyakarta are from Sumatra, and variation from what you had there could have many other factors in play, including the type and freshness of ingredients, and variations in styles among Padang cooks as well. we thought their smashed fried chicken was among the best fried chicken in any style we've had in the area, including Miss Ollie's.

                    2. Wondering if those who've been regulars at the Berkeley branch have noticed any change since the owner opened a branch in San Leandro last month.

                      1. I had lunch there Saturday, food was if anything a bit better.

                        Got the mini-rijstaffel, 12 items for $46 for two. I liked everything except the jackfruit curry, which is made from immature fruit so it's starchy. Maybe something you have to grow up with. The smashed chicken was definitely better than last time. They gave us some balachan (spicy fermented shrimp sauce), excellent, be sure to ask for it if you like that sort of thing.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          The balachan was particularly good on the mie goreng (vegetarian noodles), which is pretty bland as it comes to the table.

                        2. It appears that the Berkeley location has closed.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mdougherty

                            yes closed. guessing lease was up and padi didn't renew.

                            would caution heading to san leandro to dine. would advise calling first. many times drove by near lunch time and dinner time and they weren't open. (they was before berkeley closed).

                            1. re: shanghaikid

                              we trekked down to san leandro a couple of saturdays ago. the cafe there is a bit smaller, not that the one on college ave. was large. ambience is more spartan as well, with all the serving ware plastic. only about eight other folks dining around 7.30. we enjoyed the food but thought it was a different cook and a notch below what we had enjoyed in the other spot. against my advice mi espousa cara wanted all the dishes 'spicy' and a couple of the dishes were beyond her tolerance, though the unique nuances of each still came through for me. for those who enjoy high, complex spice levels it's worth trying.