Kaki Lima Takes Up Residency at Wink & Nod

Starting tonight, Indonesian cuisine is on the menu for the next six months.
Retno Pratiwi and Peter Gelling of Kaki Lima

Retno Pratiwi and Peter Gelling of Kaki Lima. / Photo by Joe Green provided

Retno Pratiwi is the change she wished to see in Boston: The Jakarta native found no Indonesian food when she moved here, so she started making her own. With the help of her husband and business partner, Peter Gelling, she created the exciting pop-up series Kaki Lima with the authentic, bold cuisine of her homeland.

Beginning tonight, you can dine with Kaki Lima six nights a week. Pratiwi and Gelling are the latest culinary residents in the kitchen at Wink & Nod, the South End speakeasy from the restaurant group Boston Nightlife Ventures. Their residency will extend until mid-September.

Pratiwi and Gelling met in Jakarta in 2007. They moved back to the States in 2012 and launched a catering company-cum-dinner series. Pratiwi, who grew up cooking with her mother and grandmother, attended the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, and staged for a spell at State Park. Over the past four-plus years of Kaki Lima pop-ups, research trips to Indonesia and different parts of the U.S., a residency at KO Pies at the Shipyard, and more, the chef has developed the menu she’ll debut tonight.

Kaki Lima—which describes the vendors and their carts that proffer street food in Indonesia—will serve up some favorites from their past pop-ups, like batagor, fried tofu and shrimp dumplings with spicy peanut sauce. Bright aromatics like lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, and ginger are the star in dishes like the house specialty, beef rendang; and soft-shell crab nasi goreng (fried rice). Save room for toasted coconut ice cream with sweet black sticky rice, or pandan crêpes filled with sweet shredded coconut and topped with coconut caramel sauce.

Check out the full menu below.

Brick-and-mortar has always been the goal for Kaki Lima, and the duo now has their sights set on opening multiple locations, Gelling says in a press release.

“Our dream is for Indonesian restaurants to be as ubiquitous in the States as Thai or Italian restaurants,” he said. “Wink & Nod’s unique culinary incubator program gives us the opportunity to kick start this dream by allowing us to continue developing and fine tuning our concept while making a connection with our valued guests.”

Kaki Lima serves at Wink & Nod Monday-Saturday beginning at 5 p.m.

Wink & Nod, 3 Appleton St., South End, Boston, 617-482-0117, winkandnod.com, kakilimaboston.com.


Jacqueline Cain Associate Food Editor at Boston Magazine jcain@bostonmagazine.com