21st June 2024
From the summit of Pan Pacific Jakarta, modern Japanese dishes come together at Keyaki with bearings of traditional Kyoto cuisine.

The allure of dining at sky-high restaurants is nothing new—it’s a well-recognised factor in dining establishments with a long history of appeal amongst restaurateurs and customers.

The same sentiment follows Keyaki, the newly opened Japanese restaurant perched on the 90th floor of Pan Pacific Jakarta. At the moment, it wins the title of being the tallest restaurant in the city, carving views of the sprawling Jakarta skyline that charm at day and wow at night. This elevated dining experience is aptly complimented by the cuisine at hand: modern Japanese with bearings of traditional Kyoto cuisine.

Helmed by Kyoto-born Chef Kunihiro Moroi in collaboration with another fellow Kyoto native and two-Michelin-starred Chef Takagi Kazuo, the menu offers both Chef’s Table selections influenced by kaiseki—Japan’s most refined traditional cuisine featuring seasonal set courses and tea ceremony—and signature ala carte dishes. Chef Kuni, who started cooking at the age of 5 at his grandfather’s tempura shop, described Kyoto cuisine as “the more authentic” from their, say, Tokyo counterpart, “with cuisine steeped in deep imperial history.”

But even with the connections to traditional cuisine, Chef Kuni wants to infuse his menu with a modern flair. It’s evident in one of Keyaki’s signature dishes, Dashi Vinegar Jelly, where he transforms dashi stock into a beetroot-infused jelly to dress the freshly-cut tuna and shrimp underneath. A more familiar dish comes through the subtly sweet Unagi Truffle Roll which is served atop a truffle sauce, while a special passed-down recipe of Warabi Mochi, a soft and chewy confection served with red bean paste and palm sugar sauce, closes the meal on a sweet note. 

On the topic of dining above cityscapes, Keyaki more than fits the bill. But this simple grandeur, further enhanced by the sprawling black-dominated dining area with touches of wood fixtures and green tiles that adorn the sushi bar, is made more memorable when knowing that the food served here is executed with respect to its roots, yet tweaked to the local palate without masking the essence of what makes Japanese food celebrated in the first place.