RARE COM­BI­NA­TIONS

Hen­shin

Prestige Indonesia - - Contents - HANDAYANI TANUWIJAYA

ONE FINE AF­TER­NOON in Au­gust, Pres­tige is led to a “se­cret door” at The Westin Jakarta on Jl. H. R. Ra­suna Said. The door is opened to re­veal a dark hall­way, adorned at the end with the let­ter H in green neon lights. We take a right turn to find an el­e­va­tor that brings us to the ho­tel’s top two floors. Here is Hen­shin, the high­est fine-din­ing res­tau­rant and bar in Jakarta. It serves Ja­panese-Peru­vian (Nikkei) cui­sine, which is very rare in the city’s din­ing scene.

“The orig­i­nal mean­ing of Nikkei is a Ja­panese who lives out­side the coun­try,” says the 44-year old Ex­ec­u­tive Chef, Hajime Kasuga. “But as time has gone by, the term has been ap­plied not just to peo­ple but to the food that Ja­panese em­i­grants cooked. This cui­sine has its ori­gins in the late 19th cen­tury, when thou­sands of Ja­panese work­ers be­gan em­i­grat­ing to Peru. They grew their own food and com­bined Ja­panese and Peru­vian tech­niques. Nikkei cui­sine even­tu­ally be­came an im­por­tant part of Peru­vian gas­tron­omy.”

Chef Kasuga is a Nikkei him­self, a third­gen­er­a­tion cit­i­zen of Peru. He started his culi­nary ca­reer in 1995, as a grad­u­ate of Le Cor­don Bleu Foun­da­tion. Be­sides work­ing as a chef, he serves as an in­ter­na­tional ad­viser to restau­rants that serve Nikkei cui­sine. A res­tau­rant he opened in 2005, Hanzo, was named Best Ja­panese Res­tau­rant in 2008 and 2009 in the Sum­mun Guide in Peru.

Hen­shin is a two-storey venue, with the bar on the 67th floor and the din­ing area on the 68th. On the 67th level, din­ers are wel­comed by a lively am­biance, as it is dec­o­rated with colour­ful tiles with Ja­panese tra­di­tional pat­terns and nat­u­ral stones in­spired by the Machu Pic­chu Inca site. The bar can ac­com­mo­date up to 90 peo­ple, with al­fresco and lounge ar­eas where din­ers can en­joy breath­tak­ing views of Jakarta’s sky­line. The fine-din­ing venue has hot and cold kitchens. There are two pri­vate rooms, one ac­com­mo­dat­ing 20 guests and the other 12. Both lev­els boast floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows.

Hen­shin is open for din­ner each evening from 6 pm. While en­joy­ing the night view, din­ers can sip Sakura Maru (Rp 155,000) or Is­sei (Rp 155,000). The for­mer is a gin­based drink in­fused with geisha blos­som tea, yuzu juice, rose syrup and par­fait amout bit­ters. Its name is in­spired by a fa­mous ship that car­ried Ja­panese fam­i­lies from Yoko­hama to Peru. Is­sei is a vodka drink mixed with sake, Thai basil, yuzu juice and vanilla syrup. Is­sei was the name given to the first gen­er­a­tion of em­i­grants from Ja­pan.

For starters, Chef Kasuga and his team serve the quin­tes­sen­tial Nikkei dish of ce­biches (or ce­viche) cla­sico (Rp 140,000), which is sea bass mar­i­nated in tiger’s milk. “Tiger’s milk is a mix of lemon juice, lime, gar­lic, co­rian­der and cel­ery. The re­sult is a white liq­uid sim­i­lar to milk colour. We called it tiger’s milk be­cause peo­ple feel stronger af­ter they drink it,” ex­plains the chef.

The main cour­ses in­clude pulpo Hen­shin (Rp 320,000), a low-tem­per­a­ture dish of cooked oc­to­pus served with po­tato panca sauce. For a unique flavour, there

is lomo azul (Rp 360,000), which con­sists of beef ten­der­loin rubbed with cof­fee and spice, and topped with teriyaki sauce and blue cheese.

Look­ing for sushi? Hen­shin rolls (Rp 240,000) could be an op­tion. The choices at Hen­shin in­clude un­agi, flame-seared foie gras, fried shrimp, spicy lump crab and avo­cado. Hen­shin The Westin Jakarta Jl. H.R. Ra­suna Said Kav.C-22 A, Jakarta Tel: +62 878 0002 8008 Bar: 5pm – 1am (Fri­day & Satur­day un­til 2am) Res­tau­rant: 6pm – 11pm (Fri­day & Satur­day un­til 12am)

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