Jakarta's 2017 dining forecast: 4 trends to look out for

As great culinary writers and global chefs predicted, Japan has become the new France.
As great culinary writers and global chefs predicted, Japan has become the new France. PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Let us begin 2017 with deep gratitude for how remarkable 2016 has been. Myriads of both imaginative restaurants and mouth-watering dining establishments have opened, scattered across this developing megacity: from the latest offspring of celebrated restaurant groups to newborn babies of fresh, new players in the Jakarta dining scene. We had a flavorful 2016 with the rise of brunch and coffee establishments, the luscious rebirth of grand steak houses like Bistecca and Ruth's Chris, the minimalist satay called Taichan, to miserable so-called container-made eating establishments.

So what does 2017 have to offer to the dining scene in Jakarta and abroad?

More Japanese

As great culinary writers and global chefs predicted, Japan has become the new France for both emerging culinary artists and established kitchen gods to learn a new form of respect for food. While old-guard French cuisine has captured the hearts of food aficionados since the rise of Marie-Antonine Careme in the 18th century for its grand, artful approach to cooking, Japan offers serenity and calmness in handling food.

In 2016, we saw Chef Adhika Maxi of celebrated Union Restaurant open his new venture, Izakaya Kai, offering homey Japanese cooking. We were witness to the endless application of Japanese ingredients such as uni (sea urchin) and yuzu (a citrus genus). And 2017 will embrace more of this art from Japan.

Japanese influenced gastropubs and izakaya (Japanese home cooking) will continue to dominate, as will quirky Japanese trend-cuisine as Pablo from Osaka recently opened in Jaktarta. We can expect another opening of a Peruvian-Japanese restaurant, as well as noodle-bars and fine establishments.

Casual restaurants with excellent execution

Attarine at Gunawarman, the latest offspring of the Potato Head Family, ended 2016 full of inspiration. The restaurant has set a new standard for casual, fun establishments: great service and excellent food. The alumni of the three-Michelin-star Manresa restaurant, Chef Jacob is leading the kitchen brigade of Attarine, and that’s the level new casual restaurants should aspire to.

Yet although the number of fans of elaborate fine dining has decreased, the expectation for great food and service will always be present and customer expectations will rise as information about global cuisine is only a click away. For example, Cosme in Manhattan and the three Michelin star Saison in San Francisco, Relae in Copenhagen and Sisterfields in Seminyak, Bali, all offer a casual, fun eating experience, free from strictness of rules and stamina-draining courses.

Indonesian food will prevail

Nothing is more pleasing than hearty home cooking and 2017 will be the year of traditional cooking. In late 2016, Kaum restaurant in Bali and Nusa in Kemang by Chef Ragil captured the attention of both culinary figures and general society for their execution of Indonesian food, as did William Wongso's Manisan in Ubud and Arsana in Seminyak.

Indonesian restaurants —both region-focused establishments and general Indonesian cooking—will blossom. The global idea of sustainable and regional cooking that influenced a new generation of cooks and chefs is the primary trigger pushing this concept in the capital, as well as patriotic pride.

A focus on relaxation and detoxification, sustainability

Thanks to Burgreens, the image of vegan and raw food has been transformed from greeny, unappetizing dishes for yoga fanatics into something not only healthy, but also delectable. Jakarta, a center of stress and chaos, is likely to embrace healthy, sustainability-focused restaurants and we predict the Wijaya and Panglima Polim areas will be utopias for a new wave of raw, vegetarian, detox-free restaurants and cafes.