Japanese-Peruvian fusion takes Jakarta fine dining to new heights

Henshin, a Nikkei-themed restaurant at The Westin Jakarta in Kuningan, opened its doors for the first time on July 20.
Henshin, a Nikkei-themed restaurant at The Westin Jakarta in Kuningan, opened its doors for the first time on July 20.PHOTO: LIZA YOSEPHINE/THE JAKARTA POST

(THE JAKARTA POST/ANN) - While the traditional sushi and sashimi have already proved to be popular among Jakartans, a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian flavours is set to tantalise taste buds with the opening of a new Nikkei-themed restaurant.

Perched on the top three floors in one of the capital’s tallest hotels, Henshin at The Westin Jakarta in Kuningan opened its doors for the first time last Thursday (July 20), just in time to catch the sunset from its rooftop bar.

Westin Jakarta general manager Arun Kumar said the early stages of conceptualising the restaurant came with an initial idea of serving traditional Japanese cuisine. Upon inspecting the modern space, however, Mr Kumar said the team wanted something different.

"We went around looking for different cuisines to actually present with a fusion and we landed on Nikkei, which comes with the Japanese food, blended with the Peruvian heart and culture," Mr Kumar said during a media preview at the restaurant recently.

Henshin, which in Japanese means "transformation", takes diners to new heights to experience Nikkei cuisine, which is still a rare find in the Indonesian capital. The dishes originally developed in the late 19th century when thousands of Japanese people migrated to Peru for work.

Executive chef Hajime Kasuge, a Peruvian of Japanese descent living in Peru has brought his expertise to the kitchens of Henshin. 

A chef at Henshin prepares Nigiris Nikkei. PHOTO: LIZA YOSEPHINE/THE JAKARTA POST

Before taking a bite into the enticing seafood delicacies, however, visitors begin their experience even before entering the restaurant. 

Upon arriving at the hotel building's ground-floor lobby, visitors are taken to the secret entrance, which sits behind a wall that opens up into a hidden tunnel.  

A short walk down to reach the designated lift, visitors are then taken straight to the rooftop bar on the 67th floor, the first of three levels that the venue boasts. 

The dining area of Henshin, situated on the 68th floor of The Westin Jakarta. PHOTO: LIZA YOSEPHINE/THE JAKARTA POST

With the bar opening at 5pm, it makes it the perfect location to enjoy panoramic views of the city as the sun sets and the city lights illuminate the streets and the buildings around.

Stepping up to the 68th floor, the fine-dining experience begins at 6pm and is enjoyed in an intimate setting. The open-kitchen concept flanks the space on each side with one hot kitchen and a cold kitchen.  

Another floor up, the venue houses its private-dining area, which consists of two rooms and a smaller open kitchen.

The decor at the restaurant is elegant, with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a generous dose of sparkling light complemented by vibrant carpeting and gold accents.

The experience is completed by savouring signature dishes such as the exquisite Henshin Octopus, which is cooked for at least five hours until it is tender. 

The Ceviche Classico is also a must-try. Its mouthful of fresh sea bass and tiger's milk dressing leaves a lingering and satisfying taste.