You'll have to go a little out of your way to get to ATL Maranatha, but I can assure you, it'll be worth your while. It's located along Todman Avenue in Kensington, on the way to the SupaCenta.
The service is DIY; when we sit down, the waiter places an ordering pad and a pen on the table along with the menus, indicating that we should write our own orders down. Napkins and cutlery are self-serve and available at the counter. Along with the friendly staff and relatively small restaurant, it certainly makes for a charming dining experience.
Their specialty dish is deep-fried soft-bone chicken, – or ayam tulang lunak, which the ATL in their name stands for – an interesting twist on a classic Indonesian dish. It's exactly what you would expect: chicken deep-fried to such extremities that the bones soften to the point of edibility. The dish also comes with a dipping sauce, which I recommend you try only if you have a thing for spicy food.
It's really strange and oddly satisfying to be able to cut right through a piece of chicken, and eat it, bones and all. At first sight it seems like some other homogeneous foodstuff shaped into a very convincing chicken thigh – until you take a bite and discover the tender flesh, complimented by the chicken's crispy skin, and you're in deep-fried heaven.
While the bones themselves don't taste like much of anything, I think the novelty of being able to reduce a quarter chicken to a few crumbs on a plate, as well as the deliciousness of the dish itself is fairly impressive.
For an authentic Indonesian dining experience, you should order the dinner special – ¼ ayam tulang lunak, sayur asem (a mixed vegetable soup), tempeh and a bowl of white rice. Or you can try the many variations of their fried chicken including ayam goreng telur asin (fried chicken with salty egg sauce), or if you're looking for something a little more spicy, ayam goreng cabe merah (fried chicken with red chili sauce). If chicken isn't really your thing (gasp!), they also serve duck (grilled and deep-fried), as well as the usual Indonesian soup, salad, and rice dishes.
I recommend you finish off your meal with one of the desserts – es cendol (shaved ice with jelly and coconut) and es campur (shaved ice with fruit) being my personal favourites.
So if you're a chicken-lover, or just looking for a quaint dining experience with a little twist, you can't go wrong with ATL Maranatha.