SOUTHEAST ASIAN KITCHEN INSPIRES IN PASADENA
The bold and daring flavors of Southeast Asia come alive in Old Town Pasadena at Bone Kettle, where guests can indulge in rich and comforting flavors that truly define what comfort food is all about.
For Chef Erwin Tjahyadi, it’s his desire to share his Indonesian roots and family recipes with those looking for an escape from the mundane.
“I want our guests to step out of their comfort zone and be transported to Southeast Asia so they can experience an authentically new version of comfort food,” says Chef Tjahyadi.
From sensational small plates to mouthwatering entrees, fantastic flavors are abound on the Bone Kettle menu. But it’s the beloved broth that is the star at this quaint Pasadena eatery.
Bone Kettle’s bone broth is made using time-honored cooking techniques and fresh ingredients reflective of Southeast Asian traditions, made by boiling beef in filtered water with onions, garlic, ginger and a specific to Bone Kettle mix of dried spices, for 36 hours.
“Consuming bone broth in Indonesia was a profoundly cathartic experience,” reflects Chef Tjahyadi. “It spoke to me, and I knew straight away bone broth was going to be the foundation of Bone Kettle.”
Deemed the ultimate superfood, bone broth has been praised for its restorative properties, chief among them, collagen, which promotes radiant skin, shiny hair, and strong nails. Studies have also shown that glycine, an essential amino acid found in bone broth, improves sleep and memory, while chondroitin sulfate, found in beef cartilage, prevents osteoarthritis and protects joints. Gelatin from the cow’s joints help to seal up holes in intestines, while phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium extracted during the boiling process are the essential building blocks for healthy bones. Complex in flavor and nutrients, the signature Bone Kettle broth is incorporated in many of its dishes, but most successfully showcased in Noodles & Broth, where each bowl is served with artisanal ramen noodles, heirloom carrots, red onions, Thai basil, and cilantro. Protein choices include Prime Top Sirloin, Prime Fatty Brisket, St. Helen’s Braised Oxtails, and Ginger Seared Chicken. Alternatively, vegans and guests desiring to minimize their meat intake can savor the Crispy Tempeh with shiitake mushrooms and seasonal vegetables, served with a vegan broth.
During our recent visit for dinner, we started with the popular Chicken Wings with fried citrus-brined free range Pataloma chicken wings with charred limes. This is a fine starter to share or just in indulge on your own.
Not to be outdone, the Oxtail Dumplings with seasonal mushrooms, leeks, and San Bai Su are a real winner. I would consider this dish an almost must-have.
And now let’s get back to that delicious broth. We opted for the prime fatty brisket broth and it did not disappoint. The flavors were inviting, overwhelming (in a good way) and just so pleasing. It’s perfect on a cold night, perfect to fight a cold or just to creating a soothing and comforting dish.
Speaking of comforting delights, an absolute favorite was the Crab Fried Rice with Maryland blue lump crab, eggs, fried rice, green onions, chicken chicharron gremolata, and Nam Pla. This one is a crowd-pleaser. Wow! Just wow!
The other superstar dish on the menu (along with the broth and fried rice) are the Beef Ribs with bone marrow jus, friend onions, and herbs. This one is just perfect to share (as is the fried rice). The meat is so tender and so tantalizing.
There is no full bar at Bone Kettle, instead they offer beer, wine and sake. I was really disappointed with the sake selections and no one was able to pair any specific sake with our meal. Instead just random sakes were offered, which did not pair or elevate our dining experience at all. I’d suggest sticking to beer or wine.
Dessert options include a Trio of Crème Brulee—a Southeast Asian take on a classic crème brulee. I can’t really champion the offered desserts but I can tell you that any meal with Bone Kettle’s broth, Crab Fried Rice, and Beef Ribs will be one you cherish and will recall for quite some time. And that’s what comfort food is all about.
Bone Kettle is located at 67 N. Raymond Avenue in Pasadena. Open daily for lunch 11:30am to 2:30pm; dinner from 5:30pm to 9:30pm. Call 626-795-5702.
Story By: Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy Of: Bone Kettle