Japanese Izakaya Cuisine, Elevated


The first thing you should know about Enmaru is that it is the highest Japanese restaurant in Jakarta, literally. It is located in the Altitude complex, which is situated on the 46th floor of The Plaza building (which also houses Salt Grill by Luke Mangan, the modern Australian restaurant from the renowned celebrity chef, and Gaia, one of the city’s most talked about new Italian restaurants). Add to that the restaurant’s contemporary design, featuring textured wooden slats that hang in formation like chandeliers from the high ceilings, and expansive windows offering magnificent panoramic views of the Indonesian capital and you’ve got something truly special before you’ve even had a bite to eat. But there is much more to Enmaru than the spectacular setting – it also happens to offer some of the most delicious and dynamic modern Japanese cuisine that you’ll encounter in Jakarta.

The Executive Chef of Enmaru is Takashi Tomie, whose youthful appearance belies his extensive experience (he has also headed up the kitchens at Enmaru’s two sister restaurants in Singapore). His most prestigious achievement came in 2010, when he led his team to win the Izakaya Koshien, a competition to determine Japan’s best izakaya. Izakaya dishes tend to be more boldly flavoured (the better to go with copious amounts of beer and sake) and less beholden to the strictures of traditional Japanese cuisine. So while Enmaru does offer an extensive menu of authentic Japanese treats, from sushi to yakitori, the most intriguing dishes are the signature creations of Chef Takashi that combine ingredients and inspirations from a variety of sources to produce to brilliant effect.

Take, for example, his foie gras chawanmushi. Presented on a bespoke earthenware dish and held inside a wooden box, the egg custard is topped with a generous piece of duck liver, a caramel coloured teriyaki sauce and a wispy cloud of egg white. What ties the creamy custard and the fatty duck liver together is the expertly concocted teriyaki sauce, which has a sweetness that cuts through the dish’s richness, as well as earthy undertones that spread the flavour of the foie gras throughout the dish.

Another of Chef Takashi’s signature dishes we enjoyed immensely was his soba zuke shake salad. A perfect dish for a light lunch, it features marinated salmon, edamame, seaweed and sliced pumpkin, as well as some unexpected western touches including parmesan cheese and olive oil. Prepared tableside, the salad is light, refreshing and yet surprisingly filling. The use of parmesan in this dish is ingenious when you consider that the cheese is chock-full of meaty umami flavours, just like the seaweed, which is what gives this light salad a satisfyingly robust taste.

Creating dishes that are both healthy and full of flavour seems to be another speciality of Chef Takashi. The next of his signature dishes we tried was his codfish takekawa mushi, which consisted of a gorgeous cod fillet and vegetables that are wrapped in bamboo leaves and steamed. The traditional steaming process leaves the fish’s flesh flaky, tender and cleanly flavoured, allowing the subtle richness of the codfish to shine through. It’s a dish you can enjoy wholeheartedly without feeling guilty.

But don’t let us give you the impression that all of Chef Takashi’s dishes are so light. He is more than capable of creating hearty fare as well. We loved his hot stone pot udon served with slices of wagyu beef. The beef comes raw on top of the noodles and gets cooked by the steaming hot bonito broth poured on top of it at the table. The full-bodied broth cooks the beef to a gentle tenderness while the thick udon noodles remain springy and chewy. A bit of spicy yuzu sauce on the side allows you to calibrate the taste to your liking.

In addition to the extensive menu of authentic and fusion dishes, Enmaru also holds regular events such as a magnificent sake pairing dinner that you can read about in our last issue. Be sure to check their social media site for updates on future events and special menus.



Literally meaning “steamed in a tea bowl,” chawanmushi is an egg custard dish that is often served as an appetiser or part of a set in Japanese meals. Unlike most custards, chawanmushi is almost always savoury, usually as a result of being flavoured with gingko nuts, soy sauce, dashi and mirin. It often features ingredients such as shiitake mushrooms, shrimp and lily root. Modern versions might contain luxurious ingredients such as truffles or foie gras (as in this version at Enmaru). A well-made chawanmushi should have a soft, silken texture and can be served hot or cold.

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