Jakarta Ropang Project is a new ’gram-worthy cafe in Somerset with authentic Indonesian dishes under S$15

By Phyllis Leong March 8, 2024
Jakarta Ropang Project is a new ’gram-worthy cafe in Somerset with authentic Indonesian dishes under S$15
Jakarta Ropang Project dishes up authentic Indonesian fare. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

111 Somerset has an abundance of drool-worthy food options offering both international and local cuisines. And while it isn’t as widely popular as other nearby malls in the precinct, it’s still a haven for good food — sans the crowd and long queues. 

Joining the ranks of other prominent names in the mall such as Rise Bakehouse and So Good Char Chan Tang is Jakarta Ropang Project, the newest entrant along the stretch with legit Indonesian fare.

The cafe is spearheaded by a cheery 27-year-old, Ian Soros Benedict. A banker-turned-businessman, he ventured into the culinary scene in 2022 to share the authentic, hearty flavours of Indonesian gastronomy with locals — hence the birth of Jakarta Ropang Project.

For those wondering how its unique namesake came about, Ian says that “ropang” is Indonesian slang that translates to “never stop eating”. It embodies the dining culture in Jakarta, of how food is the glue that ties people together. 

A place that reminds you of home 

Jakarta Ropang Project Singapore
The interior is furnished with warm, rustic elements. Photo: Jakarta Ropang Project

The cafe interior is stunning — it’s thoughtfully designed to incorporate warm, rustic elements that remind one of home. You can tell that a lot of effort goes behind furnishing the space, as it’s a naturally lit, trendy space that is perfect for snapping pictures for the ’gram. 

It’s not overly pretentious, either, and exudes a cosy, welcoming ambience that you can bask in as you gather with your family and friends over delectable fare. The tables and chairs are also arranged to accommodate a group of four or larger. It ties in with a fundamental aspect of Indonesian dining culture, in which food is always enjoyed with company.

A vibrant medley of Indonesian flavours 

Jakarta Ropang Project Singapore
Pempek Palembang. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

We were first introduced to pempek Palembang (S$12.90), a traditional Indonesian delicacy that spotlights three varieties of fish cakes: Lenjer (long fish cake), keriting (curly fish cake) and kulit (fish skin). It’s a commonplace dish in Jakarta that is often paired with a spicy-and-sweet sauce. 

The fish cakes are made from a homemade recipe — courtesy of Ian’s grandfather — where the golden-hued mounds are paired with a secret soy sauce. Ian also says that the gravy is specially flown in from Palembang and adds a piquant savouriness to the chewy fish cakes. 

While the taste and flavour are similar to the usual fish cakes that you can find at run-of-the-mill hawker stores, the texture of the fish chunks is unlike any other. It’s on the bouncier, creamier end — especially the lenjer variation, which we thought was the most delicious of them all.

Jakarta Ropang Project Singapore
Nasi Bali. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

The nasi Bali (S$12.90) is Jakarta Ropang Project’s take on traditional Balinese rice. It features a colourful combination of ingredients, such as chunks of crunchy baby squid, a hard-boiled egg and shredded chicken slices. It’s also complemented with onion crackers, which are tinged with vibrant green and red hues. 

We found the shredded chicken pieces to be tender and juicy, while the bits of baby squid were fresh and succulent. When paired with the fragrant white rice, all the elements came together nicely to create a dynamic dish.

Jakarta Ropang Project Singapore
Ayam bakar. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

Indonesian cuisine is known for its big, bold and aromatic flavours, and one classic dish that you cannot go wrong with is the ayam bakar (S$12.90). It features a large charcoal-grilled chicken alongside tahu goreng (deep-fried tofu) and tempeh (fermented soybeans). 

The chicken is coated with a spicy, yet savoury marinade, made from spices that are also air-flown from Indonesia. The dish also comes with a homemade chilli paste, which lends an aromatic lift to the rice. It packs a little more heat than we’re used to, though, so use it sparingly!

Jakarta Ropang Project Singapore
Sop bakso. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

Nothing says comfort food more than the sop bakso (S$11.90), which is an Indonesian delight crowned with beef balls. The latter is handmade by Ian’s aunt, who prepares them fresh daily before they’re served at the cafe. 

The meaty beef balls are then laden over springy rice noodles and doused with a light, fragrant broth. It’s surprisingly easy on the palate (and stomach), and it’s a warm and hearty dish that we’d turn to on a cold, rainy day. And for an extra twang of spice and zest, mix some chilli paste with the noodles and give it a good stir. 

Jakarta Ropang Project Singapore
Ovomaltine banana fritters. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

While we do appreciate a good bowl of traditional desserts, the fried banana fritters immediately caught our attention. It’s a snack that we don’t often get to savour, so we knew we had to try Jakarta Ropang Project’s version — especially when they come loaded with different luscious toppings.  

We had the Ovolmaltine banana fritters (S$7.50), which see banana slices thoroughly coated with a creamy Ovomaltine spread. Chocolate and banana is certainly a winning combination and the dessert had us devouring it in seconds. 

Ian shares that there are plans to also include a night bar concept at Jakarta Ropang Project, though they’re still in the works. He estimates that it will be ready for launch at the end of 2025.

This was a hosted tasting.

For the latest eats, check out our list of must-eats at Kampong Gelam Ramadan bazaar 2024, or read about The Feather Blade’s upcoming promotion with S$5 steaks and highballs. Alternatively, catch up on the newest openings in town

Book a ride to Jakarta Ropang Project at 111 Somerset. 

Do explore the GrabFood Dine-in service for awesome deals.

Jakarta Ropang Project

111 Somerset, 01-08, 111 Somerset Road
Nearest MRT station: Somerset
Open: Monday to Friday (11am to 3pm, 4pm to 9pm) and Saturday (12pm to 4pm)

111 Somerset, 01-08, 111 Somerset Road
Nearest MRT station: Somerset
Open: Monday to Friday (11am to 3pm, 4pm to 9pm) and Saturday (12pm to 4pm)

Picture for WP

Phyllis Leong


The resident sweet tooth with a severe addiction to desserts.

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