I’m currently in Yogyakarta, for the third time during my Indonesia stint, because I’m attending language school where I’m hoping to have my terrible Indonesian grammar whipped into shape by the team of helpful teachers at Realia Language School. The teachers can amazingly write everything upside down on pieces of butchers paper so that a sheet never needs to be turned around as we face each other over a little desk for our one-on-one lessons. Today I had my first six hours of classes and it was good… but intensive! Rather tired tonight!
I really like Yogya. It’s a good place to study, and it is home to some of Indonesia’s top universities. It has great food, which is significantly cheaper than in Jakarta. It’s got an artsy cultural vibe and its just more laid back in general… with much less traffic and pollution.
One of my favorite places to eat in Yogyakarta is Milas Vegetarian Restaurant. An outside lesehan affair, where you sit at low tables on cushions and mats on the floor in outdoor huts, it’s got a beautiful garden, cool music, super friendly staff and best of all — a social conscience.
The restaurant helps train local youth from low socio-economic backgrounds in organic farming. Milas grows a large portion of its own vegetables, as well as training young people in service and in cooking skills too. You can buy homemade museli and biscuits in the shop, as well as fresh vegetables from the Milas garden twice a week.
I spent a good part of Saturday curled up on a mat at Milas, charging through my book. I actually couldn’t leave, because of the heavy rain, which meant I could eat two meals, so it was all good really.
The first picture is the Milas Salad, with a yoghurt dressing and tasty vegetarian cheese made in the Milas kitchen as well as toasted organic cashew nuts. So good and so very healthy-tasting.
The second pic is a vegetable curry, which came served with steamed rice and was also delicious… and had barely a drop of oil on the surface, so once again, very healthy. I also drank a mixed fruit lassi and the Milas coffee, which is a local organic coffee served with local palm sugar and coconut milk… a very unusual taste, but delicious. The grainy coffee had these strong mocha overtones and the dash of coconut milk added another dimension of flavor entirely.
The garden at Milas even gave me the opportunity to see an Indonesian tree frog, a creature that you rarely see around Indonesian cities.
One last thing that I love about Milas is the price… for all the food and drinks I mentioned above, plus some water, plus a big tub of their homemade muesli that will last for weeks and a couple of coconut cookies for later from their shop… the grand total was around Rp 100,000… around AU$11.50.
That only makes me love Milas even more.
Milas Vegetarian Restaurant, Jl. Prawirotaman IV, Yogyakarta
Open Tuesday to Friday from 3pm for dinner. Open for lunch and dinner on weekends, from midday.