Let me start off by confessing that I have absolutely no clue what Indonesian food should taste like. Last week as I was walking down Yonge Street, I was caught by surprise to see this dim little chic restaurant almost fully packed, which was an unusual sight in the Yonge and Eglinton hood. Immediately I went online to check out what Little Sister is all about, and was rather unexpected on the fact that they are serving Indonesia cuisine. The foodie in me was trying to be adventurous, so I spent the rest of the night playing around on Open Table to find a booking that suits my schedule. Like all things new, they are popular; so I was stuck with a late seating of 8:30pm (well late in my standards anyway). However in retrospect, I still feel that Little Sister is doing something special that it is worth the wait.

The owner has a Dutch-Indonesian background, who was a chef for the navy. It was surprising that this is a sister restaurant of Quince Bistro, serving completely different cuisine (Canadian/French); where I often visit Monday and Tuesday for their free corkage. In general, both restaurants’ food and services are quite good as well, and have earned me as a returning customer.

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After dining at Little Sister, I learned that Indonesia cuisine (or perhaps their version of it) has strong Malaysian and Thai influences.

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$6 Satay Ayam ~chicken, peanut sauce and $6.5 Sumatra Spiced Beef Croquettes ~ The satay came with three skewers. We had to throw in an extra one as we had a party of four. The chicken was tender; peanut sauce rich and flavorful, even the cabbage underneath that soaked up all the sauce was delicious. The croquettes may appeared plain the the outside, but they got a real kick, with chili, spices, and strong scent of coconut oil.

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$4.75 Ea. Rendang Taco ~ beef, coconut crema, lettuce, pickled red onion ~ Just so loaded that I could hardly wrap it up and gulp it down.

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$15.75 Babi Panggang ~ roasted pork belly, pickled bean sprouts, fresh chili sauce ~ Again, the same flavor explosion in your mouth that was sweetness, tangy, spicy and savory at the same time; but I was not too impressed with the pork belly itself as they were over-grilled and some parts tasted like charcoal.

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$7.5 Watermelon Salad ~ chili, mint, basil, Sambal vinaigrette ~ If you’re expecting the regular sweet and tangy watermelon salad, then you’re in for a real surprise. Apart from the spiciness from the chili and the fresh herbal aromas from the mint and basil, the Sambal vinaigrette added a savoury touch to the salad. First whiff on the nose, there was an almost foul scent of rotten food. However it contributed a very unique taste, from fermented ingredients such as shrimp paste and fish sauce. Quite bold, but I enjoyed it.

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$6 Satay Lilit ~ Balinese spiced chicken ~ Although both chicken skewers, this one was very different from the Satay Ayam. Made with minced chicken with lots of ginger, garlic and spices, it’s hard to rate if the Lilit or Ayam is better, as both were equally delicious.

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$6.5 Grilled Mustard Greens ~ Sambal Oelek, Ketjap Manis ~ Not bad, but I was expecting the veggies to be a bit lighter in taste with less sauce, chili and deep fried garlic.

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$16 Ikan Bumbu Bali ~ spice crusted fish, Kintamani broth ~ The first item I wanted to order at first glance of the menu. I was disappointed that the fish came in a filet. I think a whole-grilled fish would elevate this dish to another level, even if it meant a more hefty price-tag.

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$5 half pint, $7.5 a pint beer Muskoka IPA ~ Thank goodness for this beer that lasted for the entire meal to wash my palate clean of the spicy dishes.

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I forgot how much the desserts were but I believe roughly $5 – $8 each. Coffee and ginger ice cream with chocolate sauce, but no taste of ginger to be found.

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Panna cotta with roasted coconut. This one was definitely better than the ice cream, but still not very impressive. The syrup tasted like Ricola candy. Let’s just say dessert is not their forté.

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Most recommended: Watermelon salad, skewers, beef tacos.

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Suggestions for improvements:

1. Change grilled fish from filet to whole fish.

2. Tone down on the spices on certain dishes (like veggies and fried rice). Not everything needs to be spicy.

3. Improve on desserts. Something like banana fritters and coconut or mango ice cream would be crowd pleasers (yes, I had to Google on Indonesian desserts…)

Little Sister Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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