The Dharmawangsa Jakarta’s Serene Temple of Japanese Cuisine


Entering the lush green grounds of The Dharmawangsa Jakarta feels like being transported away from the hustle and bustle of the Indonesian capital to somewhere far more tranquil and idyllic. That makes it an ideal setting for a traditional Japanese restaurant like Sekitei.  Walk through the front building of the Dharmawangsa Jakarta then straight past the hotel’s idyllic pool area and you’ll find the stately Graha Bimasena, which houses Sekitei on its second floor. The demure dining area, decorated in calming shades of green and white, features large windows overlooking The Dharmawangsa’s pristine garden.

The man in charge of Sekitei is Chef Yamaji Masaharu, who has over 47 years of experience working in the kitchens of restaurants throughout Japan and Indonesia. After working in cities like Osaka, Tokyo and Nagano, he came to Jakarta in 1987 and cooked at several other prominent hotel restaurants before joining The Dharmawangsa Jakarta in 2003.

With a lifetime of experience under his belt, you can trust Chef Yamaji to be well-versed in every aspect of Japanese creation and confident in adding his own signature touches to traditional dishes. You would be well-advised to indulge in one of his exquisite kaiseki meals [see box], with a seasonal menu that changes every month. When we visited in in December, the kaiseki menu featured delicacies such as amaebi (sweet shrimp) sashimi, shiitake shinjo age (stuffed shiitake mushrooms) and ise ebi cream yaki (grilled spiny lobster with cream sauce).

Another good way to experience everything the restaurant has to offer is the Sekitei Bento, a colourful set that comes with six compartments, each one representing a traditional kaiseki course. Our bento came heavy with everything from assorted sashimi and teppanyaki steak to tempura and grilled salmon in mayonnaise sauce. Each item in the assortment showed Chef Yamaji’s impressive technique.

Sekitei also offers a special Saturday Brunch every week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring a wide selection of premium sushi, fresh sashimi, tempura, sukiyaki, ramen, teppanyaki and live cooking wagyu fried rice, amongst many others.


Kaiseki is the word for traditional multi-course Japanese meals, similar to the degustation menus found at high-end Western restaurants. Kaiseki menus are meant to highlight the best in-season ingredients and thus should change often. Like western set menus, kaiseki meals have a set order of 8-9 dishes, served from lightest to heaviest, although the number and order of dishes can vary from chef to chef. Typical kaiseki courses include sakizuke, an appetizer similar to the French amuse-bouche, muk?zuke, a cold dish such as seasonal sashimi, agemono, a fried food like tempura, and shiizakana, a substantial dish such as a hot pot.

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