New venture: Alicia Martino at Sendok Garpu in Indooroopilly.
New venture: Alicia Martino at Sendok Garpu in Indooroopilly. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Natascha Mirosch

In Bahasa Indonesian, it's called a "warung" (street food stall). Here we'd probably know it as Brisbane's first and longest running pop-up. Sendok Garpu started in 2010 as a modest venture in the southern suburb of Coopers Plains providing authentic Indonesian food from tents in the car park of a light industrial area on Saturday and Sundays. 

Now owner Alicia Martino is about to open a Sendok Garpu (the name means "fork and spoon") at Indooroopilly, however this one will be a more permanent structure.

"It was such a surprise to us that the warung was so busy. At first it was mainly the Indonesian community who came, but now it's about 40 per cent Indonesian and 60 per cent other cultures," Martino says.  

Satay ayam (chicken satay) at Sendok Garpu.
Satay ayam (chicken satay) at Sendok Garpu. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

While the warung serves traditional street food, Martino says she wanted to offer some other traditional Indonesian dishes in more of a restaurant setting, although the Coopers Plains warung will continue to operate.

The child of a Chinese mother and a father from Aceh, Martino grew up in Jakarta and while she has no formal cooking training she credits family for her love of food.

"My grandmother had a cooking shop in Jakarta and before that a restaurant. She was a very, very good cook and all the grandchildren learned from her, but me especially. My father too is a very good cook - it was traditional for the men in his village to do the cooking on special occasions like big parties. The lamb curry recipe I make is his and the version of beef rendang comes from Aceh too." 

Gado gado at Sendok Garpu.
Gado gado at Sendok Garpu. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Martino says the menu at Sendok Garpu will feature plenty of the Indonesian favourites from the warung, such as gado gado, sate and nasi goreng but her intention is to introduce diners to a wider range of Indonesian food.

"Indonesia has many islands and the food draws from many different influences. I want to give people an idea of the real Indonesian food, because people who have travelled and eaten there know the difference."

Sendok Garpu will be BYO, with a corkage of $2.50 per person. They will also be setting up shop as stallholders for 11 nights at the Night Noodle Markets (July 17-27) at South Bank during Good Food Month.

Sendok Garpu opens Saturday, June 21 and will open for lunch and dinner Wednesday to Sunday at 1A, 20 Lambert Road, Indooroopilly, 07 3157 2698.