Taking a seat at Morimoto Jakarta, the first thing the eyes instinctively dart towards is the panoramic view from The Langham’s 63rd floor. Encased in a muted palette of black, grey and wood features, the hushed and low-lit interior accentuates the illuminating skyline further, and the compact space means that regardless of where you’re seated, one can equally relish in the meal against the scenic backdrop.
It’s quite difficult to come without prior expectations. After all, the restaurant is headed by acclaimed chef and Nobu alumnus Masaharu Morimoto, best known for his role in the original Japanese TV show and American spinoff Iron Chef, with 18 restaurants worldwide. Staking its claim as the first restaurant in Southeast Asia, Morimoto Jakarta lives up to its name.
As at other Morimoto establishments, premium cuts of fresh seafood and Western techniques root the menu here. For the signature Tuna Pizza, thin slices of tuna are plated on top of crispy tortilla dough and served with jalapeno peppers, red onions and anchovy aioli. Another standout, the Ishi Yaki “Buri-Bap” boasts chef Morimoto’s take on the traditional Korean bibimbap, where yellowtail fish, rice, egg, and vegetables are seared and mixed tableside in a hot stone bowl.
Doused in soy ginger sauce, the dish blends textures from the soft rice and fish with the occasional crunch from the carrots and pickled daikon, with the sauce caramelising just enough at the bottom of the bowl to leave a thin layer of charred rice, meriting an appreciative hum.
While Morimoto himself once likened choosing his favourite dish to picking a favourite child, there’s one dish that the chef particularly delights in. Arriving on a decorated bowl of ice, there’s no one way to eat the Toro Tartare, but it comes with an insider’s tip of how the chef himself best enjoys it.
Take a spoonful of the toro, which blends regular tuna with a fatty part of a Bigeye tuna, lightly dip it in the dashi soy and scoop it over the three of six condiments from the right (wasabi, sour cream and nori seaweed puree). The dish invites diners to try different combinations each time, some bites leaving a punchy wasabi edge, while another a refreshing zest of guacamole.
Beyond the view and pristine service, the medley of flavours on the menu—at times easily identified and others more subdued—is ultimately what reflects the spirited character of Chef Morimoto, further affirming his ability to leave an impression without taking away from the classic Japanese flavours that many have grown acquainted with.