Punch Bowls

Sis­ters Clau­dia and Vanessa Ong, both ac­com­plished mar­tial artists, en­joy a feast of fresh seafood and ten­der beef with au­then­tic Ja­panese flavours at Iseya Ja­panese Restau­rant. Kevin Sjahrial writes 165

Indonesia Tatler - - Life Food - He two tow­ers of

Sam­po­erna Strate­gic Square stand tall amid the crowded re­gion of Cen­tral Jakarta. Tucked away in a cor­ner is Iseya Ja­panese Restau­rant, a serene space in which to es­cape from the daily hus­tle and bus­tle while en­joy­ing de­li­cious Ja­panese fare.

Founded in 2012, Iseya Ja­panese Restau­rant is renowned for the fresh­est of in­gre­di­ents, from veg­eta­bles to meats and seafood, flown in from dif­fer­ent parts of Ja­pan. As the sea­sons change in Ja­pan, so does the menu at Iseya. Our guests for the af­ter­noon were Vanessa and Clau­dia Ong. At the en­trance, the two sis­ters were greeted by sting rays and arowanas—symbols of good for­tune—swim­ming grace­fully in an over­sized aquar­ium. An at­ten­dant dressed in ki­mono then led the sis­ters to one of the pri­vate rooms for a meal es­pe­cially pre­pared by Head Chef Moriya Hidet­sugu.

The first two cour­ses of the meal show­cased the range of Iseya’s of­fer­ings. The open­ing ap­pe­tiser con­sisted of prawn, scal­lop, roasted chicken and beef tataki, each won­der­fully com­ple­mented by its own sauce or puree. The broth that came next was served in quaint, in­di­vid­u­alised ket­tles. As the soup was poured out, a most al­lur­ing aroma filled the room. The Dobin Mushi, a tra­di­tional seafood broth, is pre­pared with gin­dara, mush­rooms and prawns giv­ing it its sweet fra­grance and pow­er­ful taste.

We caught up with our guests as the plates were cleared. Vanessa and Clau­dia are not only sis­ters, but are also busi­ness part­ners. Choos­ing to go in­de­pen­dently from their fam­ily busi­ness, the two sis­ters set up their own jamu en­ter­prise. One of their big­gest goals was to rein­tro­duce jamu— herbal elixirs tra­di­tion­ally con­sist­ing of turmeric, gin­ger, and rice—to the next gen­er­a­tion.

They started with Jamu Work­shop in 2014. As the name sug­gests, the sis­ters hold work­shops in which par­tic­i­pants get to learn about and mix their own bot­tles of jamu. Ear­lier this year, they ex­panded their busi­ness to sell­ing and de­liv­er­ing pack­aged jamu. Their

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