Asuka Japanese Dining

One of Jakarta's few Japanese fine dining scene graciously invited me to experience their February omakase menu, that features some of the most unusual Japanese delicacies which I never imagined I would ever eat in my life. The experience was honestly, a combination of rushing adrenaline and deepened appreciation for Japanese delicacies, curious what it was like?
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)

At the far right wing of JW Marriott Jakarta's lobby, is where Asuka Japanese Dining is quietly tucked in. I was informed that Asuka is the equivalent of the hotel's top-most tier of its F&B establishments, in other words, it's the hotel's fine dining restaurant. Having that special title, the restaurant has its own instagram account, which is beautifully curated and has garnered even more followers than the hotel itself. Often times, the (younger) clienteles would pick a dish based on the photos they saw posted on the restaurant's profile. Undeniably, it's a phenomenon that happens a lot nowadays, even I do that too sometimes!

Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)

Back to the restaurant, Asuka's interior setting is rather intimate (aka limited seating capacity), with a few private tatami rooms. But we all know, the best spot to enjoy omakase is right in front of the chef who prepares the food, so seating at the counter should be part of the omakase experience.

Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
One of the private tatami rooms
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
The best spot to enjoy omakase while watching the chef prepare the dishes live.
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Premium sake
The restaurant manager confided that most of the guests who come to Asuka are automatically having the omakase menu. 90% of the ingredients for the dishes here are freshly imported from Tsukiji & Fukuoka Fish Market in Japan with regular shipping schedule every Tuesday and Friday. So, if you want to get your hands on the prized ingredients, Tuesday and Friday are the best days to come.I'm not saying that the ingredients are not fresh on other days, it's just that there's a risk of running out due to its popular demand.

So, here's what the February Omakase Menu at Asuka would look like:
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
It's SHIRAKO people!!!
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Cold Starter: Shirako - cod fish milt served with ponzu sauce
The best time to find shirako is between January - February. For the benefit of those who don't know yet, milt is the seminal fluid of fish, mollusks, and certain other water-dwelling animals for reproduction, by spraying this fluid which contains the sperm to fertilize the roe. In other words, it's the fish' semen. Shirako is a highly prized Japanese delicacy and guests who come to Asuka this time round of the year would be certainly looking forward to having this.

To be honest, I was rather apprehensive (borderline nauseated and curious at the same time) about trying shirako for the first time. After dipping it over and over again in the ponzu sauce, I finally put it in my mouth and tried to feel it with my tongue. It actually tasted milky and slimy, and I didn't dare to use my sense of smell, for I fear I might throw up if the smell didn't feel right. I guess I would probably enjoy shirako, if I didn't have this bugging thought at the back of my mind that keeps screaming "It's fish sperm!". I'm surprised myself that I actually managed to finish it! 


Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Assorted Sashimi
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Hana ho flower, recommended way to enjoy: crush the flower petals & mix in the ponzu sauce for the sashimi
As I was eating the sashimi, I imagined these fish were being auctioned in Tsukiji fish market just some time ago. There's a very special item in this sashimi bowl: ankimo (right most in the bowl). The thinly sliced flounder sashimi wraps around the block of ankimo (liver of monkfish). For the Japanese food connoisseur, they know that ankimo is a highly prized and sought after Japanese delicacy, especially in Winter. It can be considered the equivalent of French's foie gras.


Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Steamed Dish: Nissin Nitsuke - steamed herring fish with sweet sauce, served with steamed Imo yam and ebi tempura  
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Grilled Dish: Gindara Saikoyaki - cod fish with bean paste
Of all the dishes I've had so far, the gindara saikoyaki has to be my favourite. The fish was soaked in fresh Japanese cow milk before cooking and marinated. The white flesh of the gindara (cod) was incredibly sweet and tender!

Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Sushi - Premium Asuka Signature Sushi (toro, hotate, salmon, kanpachi, ebi)
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Right: Nori roll with mayo & crispy salmon skin
The sushi is made with Japanese rice fermented for 3 months and then cooked and mixed with Asuka's special homemade sauce. And yes, I didn't waste a single grain of rice, cleaned this sushi plate with much ease =)

Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Shizuoka tomato with goma dressing
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Hamaguri - (clam) miso soup
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Kudamono - dessert, seasonal fresh fruits imported from Japan (Zhizuoka rock melon & red strawberry)
And thus, the end of a rather adventurous omakase I've ever had in my life! I wonder if I'd ever get to try fugu (poisonous puffer fish) one of these days. Actually the menu mentions fugu (tiger blowfish), but they didn't serve it that evening, but one of Asuka's Japanese chefs is certified to cut & serve fugu. I guess I won't be able to handle too much surprises over a meal, the shirako alone was enough to make this one of the most unforgettable meal I've ever had.

~~~

With such a premium price tag, naturally I couln't help but to wonder who are the clienteles that can afford to dine here. I mean, even for the express omakase lunch (45 minutes from 1st to last course), the minimum price tag is IDR 1,700,000++/person. But of course, there's always the option to order a la carte. Obviously with such high interest and the loyal clientele base that Asuka has garnered despite the fierce competition with other premium Japanese restaurants, the clients find it worthy of splurging the extra cash for the fresh produce from Tsukiji and Fukuoka fish market.

Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Sushi
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Tori Katsudon IDR 190,000
Asuka Japanese Dining (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Gindara Saikoyaki IDR 200,000 (a la carte)
Well, if you own a multi million dollar business, I guess spending a few thousand dollars over a meal is as thoughtless as blinking your eyes. Curiously enough, according to the manager, most of the customers at Asuka are (extremely) wealthy Indonesians, even occasionally youngsters from wealthy families, diplomats, celebrities, etc. This observation proves that Indonesians actually do have the purchasing power and that they're willing to spend for superior quality and service, such as what's offered at Asuka.

Thank you JW Marriott Jakarta, as well as the team who assisted during my dining experience at Asuka. I look forward to the day I will be back here for more interesting experiences =)


Price:
February Omakase Menu starts from IDR 1,600,000++ to 2,500,000++
The above omakase experience cost roughly IDR 2,300,000++

Open Hours:
Lunch & Dinner (last order 10.30pm)

Dress Code:
Smart casual

*) Prices are subject to Government Tax & Service Charge 21%

Asuka Japanese Dining
JW Marriott Hotel Jakarta
Jl. DR. Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung Kav E.1.2 No 1&2,
Kawasan Mega Kuningan
South Jakarta  12950
Indonesia
Ph: +6221 57988898
Instagram | #AsukaJapaneseDining


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