I was dining out with a few new friends the other night and we were talking about how human are just so insecure about their lives and some would even go to the extent of seeing a 'medium' (seer or psychic, if you will) to help them know of what might happen, and what they could do in anticipation. We laughed at how much some of us are so obsessed with being in control. But actually, NOT being in control in life can turn out to be better than being in control of everything...Especially when it comes to 'omakase'...
|Omakase at Takumi|
Often revered as one of the most prized kind of meal in Japanese culinary culture, Omakase is a phrase which literally means 'I'll leave my meal selection to you'. and by 'you', it refers to the chef-san. Not knowing at all what or how many dishes will be served to you while paying a premium price, certainly requires a leap of faith. It is a faith that I will personally only give to a chef that I trust, and one of them would be Kudo-san of Takumi Robata & Sushi.
Takumi is the Japanese word for 'professional', and guests can expect nothing short of such when dining here. It is located within a premium golf club in Senayan area and it's often frequented by important people as well as Japanese expats (I saw Hatta Rajasa - previously held Ministerial positions in the past governing cabinet when dining here on a Sunday noon).
I felt honored to have Kudo-san himself prepare for my omakase lunch that noon. Having lived in Jakarta for a while, his Bahasa Indonesia skill seemed to be better than my Japanese, hats off for Kudo-san! I tried to capture him preparing a dish, but he moved about the restaurant so quickly like a bee buzzing from one flower to another, I was lucky to capture a few decent shots of him working...
|Kudo-san preparing for the 4th course|
Kudo-san told me that he'd call up his friends who are insiders at the Tsukiji Fish Market and have them arrange to ship the fresh catches of the day to Takumi in Indonesia, isn't it impressive! It didn't take long for my first dish to arrive at the table...Kudo-san insisted on serving and having me eat the dishes in the 'suggested' order...He reasoned that the food should be enjoyed in an escalating intensity of flavours, starting from something subtle, light and easy on the palate, then gradually building up the flavour profile to something stronger, which totally makes sense even to unassuming diners.
Served and to be consumed in order, Omakase Modan Kaiseki by Kudo-san:
1st course: Uni, onsen tamago, ikura, spring onions
I was never into uni, simply because it doesn't look appealing (to me it's borderline gross and looks like brains in my brutal-est opinion LOL). I've never felt I missed anything by avoiding uni, but Kudo-san's uni in a cocktail glass with onsen tamago and ikura made me regret all the good things that I missed because of my ignorance. The uni was very fresh, creamy and sweet, it tasted much better than its looks!
2nd course: Sashimi of otoro (fatty tuna), botan ebi (sweet raw shrimp), hamachi (yellow tail), hirame (flounder), hotate (scallop) and hokkigai (surt clam).
3rd dish: Ayu / sweetfish, grilled with salt, and served with shaved daikon
Kudo-san told me that Ayu is the queen of fresh water and unpolluted streams in Japan. The flesh is sweet with a hint of apple/melon, hence the alias 'sweetfish'. It is typically cooked by skewering on a stick, seasoned with only salt and grilled (see picture). With urban development and pure water ways disappearing so quickly, the population of Ayu is becoming even more critical, which makes Ayu becoming even more prized on Japanese dining tables.
|See that bulge in the belly? That's a sac-full of tiny ayu fish roe!|
4th course: Gyu wamiyaki (Australian wagyu), grilled to medium with shio and served with daikon & ponzu sauce.
This dish made me become even more convinced that I'm a meat kind of eater, because I got a lot more excited from this serving of gyu than the previous dishes.
5th course: Unagi cha soba (matcha soba), grated yamaimo taro
Again, Kudo-san served something that I rarely order for myself to eat: unagi. Yes, I am that weird, you must be thinking I'm so stupid to not realize how delicious unagi is. But don't worry, I made a special exception for this unagi cha soba. First I finished the yummy piece of grilled unagi, then mixed the somewhat gooey grated taro and soba noodles.
6th course: Sushi (served on Japanese rice) of aji (horse mackerel), tobiko (flying fish roe), kohada (gizzard shad), otoro (fatty tuna), chutoro (medium fatty tuna)
7th course: Asari Akadashi Soup (Nagoya style, 'Aka' red miso) with clams
Darker than the usual pale colored miso that is often found at ordinary casual Japanese restaurants, Aka miso is deeper in colour and tastes stronger. That explains why the soup was served at the very last.
Dessert (a la carte)
Mitarashi Dango (mochi on a stick) with Matcha Ice Cream (IDR 50,000)
Takumi's interior is a spacious and brightly lit space with calming Northern Japanese ambiance. At the centre of the room, there's massive robata hearth where all the grilling action takes place. Guests could also choose to sit at the counter tables surrounding the hearth to see the grilling from up close.
|Fresh catch of the day|
|Left: the bar near the restaurant entrance|
Right: Overlooking the eye-soothing greenery
|The sushi 'bar'|
|Overlooking a lush greenery open space, it truly is a green urban oasis|
What I like about Omakase at Takumi is that it is not as intimidating as the other Japanese restaurants. Somehow it feels more easygoing and affordable. Basically if you have a certain budget, you could simply let Kudo-san know and he'll whip up a miracle to cook you the best that your budget can give. But for a standard 9 course Omakase Modan Kaiseki, the price starts from IDR 1,240,000++/person or IDR 1,600,000++/person (for more premium ingredients).
Takumi also has affordable set menus for lunch (1 main course, steamed rice, chawan mushi, miso soup and Japanese pickles) starting from IDR 120,000, as well as a wealth of other a la carte dishes. So it is actually not as expensive as people seem to think. Although you can expect to bump into some important public figures when dining at Takumi =)
*) Prices are subject to Government Tax & Service Charge
Lunch: 11.30 am - 2.30 pm | Dinner: 5.30 pm - 10.30 pm
Takumi Robata & Sushi
Senayan National Golf Club
Jl. Asia Afrika, Pintu IX
Senayan, South Jakarta
Ph: +6221 5710181 Ext.320 or +6221 93807642
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