Author: Chic Eater
Last valentine’s day on February, after considering several other options, our choice fell on OKU, a Japanese Restaurant at the lobby level of Kempinski Hotel. Honestly speaking, we were lured and somewhat ‘coerced’ by the mouth-watering photos of the menu here that I saw on social media. We came at 2pm to have a casual valentine lunch, since the reservation for dinner time has already fully booked. It was their last slot for lunch as they closed the lunch session at 3pm.
OKU is located at one far end of the hotel lobby. If you came through the elevator from the parking area, or from the connecting alleyway through Grand Indonesia East Mall, you could just turn left when you got to the lobby and continue walking until the end of the passageway. You will find OKU there secluded from the crowded area of the lobby.
Light-colored oak wood finish on the furniture and some detail elements of the interior shouted Japanese modern design. Zen-influenced decorations such as bonsai and irregular-shaped rocks on the long table adorned the entrance to the restaurant. One could already feel the contemporary elegance emitted by these simple yet calming ambiance. On the left side of this long table was a long bar table with the capacity of approximately 10 guests.
Further inside, we quickly notice how big the space occupied by this Japanese restaurant. In the middle section, surrounded by tables and also both walkways to the back area, a metal ornament of two cranes hanging in mid-air above a pond of water helps illuminate this restaurant with Japanese modern vibe and sophistication.
In the back area where we chose to seat lies a bonsai tree surrounded by clusters of white stones, planted right in the middle of two semi-outdoor seating sections. In each section, the area can be separated into private rooms by pivoted partitions.
I consider myself a Japanese food aficionado, as I like most Japanese dishes in any of its forms like ramen, udon/soba, shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, yakiniku, sushi, sashimi, yakitori, tempura, donburi and even natto and onigiri. It goes without saying that I was immensely keen on trying the menu they serve at one of the few high-end Japanese restaurant in Jakarta.
With the plates and utensils set up neatly on the table, I started placing my order on some of the dishes I felt like trying.
Sakura! Sakura! (IDR 50k) – A scattering of cherry blossoms and green tea yields aromatic and elegant fragrance. I don’t know about you but to me, the proper way to eat Japanese food would be accompanied with a hot green tea. As I have always wanted to experience Japan Cherry Blossom, which I hope to see on my coming trip to Japan this April, the blend of cherry blossom and green tea seemed to be a good choice, and it did.
Kaisen Chawan Mushi (IDR 70k) – Japanese Egg Custard with prawn and chicken. I love the softness of the egg custard and the blend of taste on this chawan mushi. I have tried chawan mushi in many Japanese establishments and I would say that the one here was definitely one of my favourites.
OKU Karaage (IDR 110k) – Crispy Chicken Thigh with Shichimi. Hey wait, did I put the name right? Yeah, I was a bit unsure to order this one in the beginning as the name ‘karaage’ is quite general in my vocabulary of Japanese food as deep-fried chicken. However, after a favourable suggestion from the server that the dish was considered as one of their recommended small eats, we decided to order one. It surely did not disappoint. The crispiness of its black outer layer combined with juiciness of the inside was divine.
Ajitama (IDR 50k) – Smoked Organic Egg with Shirugeni Beef. I was quite intrigued by this simple yet seductive dish through its serving presentation. Right after it was served, the server opened the glass cap releasing the smoke away. The organic egg itself tasted well with a whiff of smoke taste on it.
Oku Aburi Salmon Roll (IDR 180k) – Tasmanian Salmon, Salmon Roe, Lumpfish Caviar. Don’t mistook this dish as regular sushi roll like I did. I was a bit skeptical at first to order their sushi menu. However, the urge to try variation of their menu changed my mind and it served me well. This salmon roll turned to be my most favourite dish here. It is a must try!
The aburi salmon roll practically melted in my mouth with the taste of the roe and the caviar made it even more exquisite.
Eihire (IDR 80k) – Charcoal Grill Skate Fin with Yuzu Mayonnaise. I don’t know about this dish. The skate fin was a bit tough, however the taste was alright. It might be more suitable for Japanese as Indonesian are not used to eating fin.
Foie Gras Wagyu Roll (IDR 196k) – 2 pcs US Karubi Beef and Foie Gras. I have always enjoyed foie gras on my dish, hence the choice. The portion was quite small for the price, I would say. But the quality did speak volume. I would consider the dish to be worth it because of the balanced taste from the wagyu and foie gras.
Saikyo Cod (IDR 280k) – Saikyo Miso Marinated Black Cod. Compared to grilled halibut or salmon, I would choose grilled black cod anyday. The problem for me is I could not really find Japanese restaurant that serve this black cod dish, until now. The cod, which was marinated well with a light miso taste, was grilled properly to generate the texture of tender white meat that separates easily from each layers. Great dish.
Fried Garlic Rice (IDR 60k)
I couldn’t resist myself to take a flat lay shot of the menu that I would soon enjoy and savour.
OKU Sorbet – 3 pcs (IDR 60k) – Yuzu Pineapple, Beetroot Orange, Shiso Plum Wine. This 3 sorbet Popsicle was served stuck standing in a plant pot filled with small stones. All the sorbet gave a refreshing taste to clean our palate after this wonderful lunch.
Ispahan (IDR 120k) – Rose Pannacotta, Raspberry, White Chocolate Snow. Another dessert that we tried during the lunch at OKU.
The verdict of OKU was as sure as clear blue sky. We took delight in most of the dishes we had. I can confidently ranked OKU as one of the top three Japanese Restaurant in Jakarta, in terms of ambiance, presentation and taste.
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No.1
Menteng, Central Jakarta
P. +62 21 2358 3896
Lunch: Mon – Sun 12:00 – 15:00
Dinner: Mon – Sun 18:00 – 22:30
Bar: Mon – Thu 12:00 – 0:00
Fri – Sat 12:00 – 1:00
Sun 12:00 – 0:00