Omakase at UMAKU, My Best Sushi Dining Experience

Omakase (お任せis a phrase that literally means "to entrust". Means, when you order Omakase at a Japanese restaurant, you are entrusting the chef to prepare your meal at his whim; from appetizer to dessert. He will then select the freshest local/seasonal ingredients-of-the-day and arrange them into sequence, giving you a special dining experience, featuring both hot & cold dishes that demonstrates the diversity of authentic Japanese cuisine.

Typically you can enjoy Omakase at any tables or at the Sushi Bar, but I'd recommend the latter one just so that the chef can serve the meal right in front of your seat. The whole experience just got personal and you can see how your food is being made through the sharp sushi-knife and the super-skilled chef's hands.

There aren't many sushi restaurants in Jakarta that serves Omakase, so I feel very grateful that I know personally Umaku's head chef, Chef Uki, and requested the master himself by appointment. In case you didn't know, Umaku still ranks as my #1 pick for authentic sushi restaurant in Jakarta. I've written about Umaku somewhere before. When the 10 of us (bloggers and... well, solely gourmand eaters :p) had this discussion over twitter, Jeny from Jenzcornet.net had a really great initiative:

 

Long story short, we made it to that night. A night I'm really glad that I took a part in it. It was my BEST sushi dining experience in Jakarta, so far. We were lucky enough to have both Chef Uki (Umaku Head Chef) & Chef Syaiful (from Umaku Duren Tiga) at our service that night. There were 18 courses, inclusive with generous special bonuses. Without further adieu, here goes:

1. CHERRY TOMATO SALAD

We started off with this light appetizer. I have always been a big fan of Umaku's signature salad dressing, so I can't complain one bit about this dish :) A good start. A bad photo. Sorry about that, guess I was too hungry!

We started off with this light appetizer. I have always been a big fan of Umaku's signature salad dressing, so I can't complain one bit about this dish :) A good start. A bad photo. Sorry about that, guess I was too hungry!

2. SALMON SASHIMI

Hang on, still the 2nd course ~ no surprise here. We all know how salmon tastes like. But I swear this one was very fresh!

Hang on, still the 2nd course ~ no surprise here. We all know how salmon tastes like. But I swear this one was very fresh!

3. MAGURO NATTO

 Natto - fermented soybeans that has a sticky web surface and quite strong smell. I know Japanese says that it's super healthy and all, but I just can't get myself to like this one. Tried once before and I ended up puking. True story. But compared with how traditional Japanese eat it - with rice and half-boiled egg - I guess it tastes far better when you combine tuna (maguro), small spring onions (wakegi), seaweed (nori) and shoyu, like what we had that night:

What it supposed to look like ~ this is what others had. Natto, maguro, wakegi, nori, drenched in light shoyu.

What it supposed to look like ~ this is what others had. Natto, maguro, wakegi, nori, drenched in light shoyu.

My special request - I skipped the natto. Hehe, tasted super! Of course.

My special request - I skipped the natto. Hehe, tasted super! Of course.

4. MEKAJIKI SASHIMI (Sword Fish) 

Chef Syaiful preparing mekajiki cuts for our 4th sashimi course. More cuts, please! 3 cuts were never enough.

I guess it was my first time eating raw swordfish. Mekajiki flesh isn't as delicate as salmon, also not as fatty as maguro, but it has solid texture and slightly thick 'crunchy' flesh. 

5. IKA SASHIMI (Squid)

Now, there are moments in a food-blogger's life where she thought her palate already tasted the best of the best, but then she keep getting surprised as she discovers a BETTER version of the best.

Yes, I'm talking about squid sashimi. Let me describe more. 

This was, one of the most memorable thing that got into my mouth that night.  We all know how squid tastes like, but very few enjoy raw fresh squid. HINT: IF IT'S HANDLED SKILLFULLY, IT JUST MELTS IN YOUR MOUTH. Who knew raw squid could taste and have texture as delicate as young coconut? The technique was to make sure to remove all of the squid's outer cuticle layers. (in Bahasa Indonesia we call it "kulit ari"). Usually the hardest one to remove is the last invisible layer, but the trick is to use paper cloth to pat dry and repeal its super thin membrane. I can't thank the chef enough for this one, too good! 

THE BEST RAW SQUID I'VE EVER EATEN.

THE BEST RAW SQUID I'VE EVER EATEN.

6. KUSHIYAKI

Now it's time for yakimono (grilled) type of dishes. We had huge shrimps, squids, and  fatty tuna grilled on a stick! Couldn't ask for a better one.

Now it's time for yakimono (grilled) type of dishes. We had huge shrimps, squids, and  fatty tuna grilled on a stick! Couldn't ask for a better one.

7. HIYASHI SOUMEN

Cold dish, anyone? The unique thing about this dish is that the noodles uses pure rice flour, not buckwheat as used in soba or other typical Japanese noodle. Dipped in cold shoyu broth with grated ginger, nori, and wakegi, we slurped it right away, til the very last drop.

Cold dish, anyone? The unique thing about this dish is that the noodles uses pure rice flour, not buckwheat as used in soba or other typical Japanese noodle. Dipped in cold shoyu broth with grated ginger, nori, and wakegi, we slurped it right away, til the very last drop.

8. BONUS, YAY! Chef Special's: AKAMI NIMONO

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The next dish is what surprised us the most. This is the one that I've never eaten before. When it came, we all thought that this was chunks of beef ribs in herb aromatic broth (we thought of Konro Makassar at the first glance), but turns out Akami Nimono is tuna fin soup in a light shoyu and fish stock, and sprinkled with finely chopped wakegi on top. Akami: red meat part of tuna, Nimono: soup. The type of tuna is also what surprises us. Chef Uki says that he had to prepare the meal days before, and it only uses giant tuna with over >150kgs in weight (I'm guessing it's a blue fin tuna?). So yes, we tasted tuna in its best & most unique form, and we had no regrets.

I'M TELLING YOU, THIS... WAS THE CHAMPION COURSE OF THE NIGHT! 


9. TORO SUSHI

At this point right after, we were served authentic sushi of 8 different types. And just like what I've seen in sushi documentary film, Jiro Dream's of Sushi, this is how sushi connoisseur enjoy their sushi. The sushi(s) were a bit warm because it's made in seconds in front of us, and you don't need to dip in shoyu or add wasabi anymore because the chef already prepare it for you. Also, you are advised to eat them by hand directly, no chopsticks required, and then swallow the whole thing at once. Classy! What I've always dreamed of. 

A beautiful, beautiful piece of fatty tuna, a.k.a Toro in Japanese. Look at how appetizing it looks like, with shining dash of shoyu wiped right on top of the succulent flesh. Superb quality!

A beautiful, beautiful piece of fatty tuna, a.k.a Toro in Japanese. Look at how appetizing it looks like, with shining dash of shoyu wiped right on top of the succulent flesh. Superb quality!

10. EBI SUSHI

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11. TAKO SUSHI

Chef says, to make sure you have a tender flesh, octopus must be 'massaged' in about 30 mins to 1 hour before boiling. Lots of work and dedication were put onto preparing this meal. Hats off to 'em sushi chef! 

The result is, tako that just melts in your mouth, with sweet homemade shoyu wiped on top that gives extra kick and made you crave for more. Top notch!

12. KANI (Crab) MISO SOUP

In between our sushi course, chef prepared crab/kani miso soup for us. The only drawback was, for me, that it tasted too salty. But the crab was fresh, though!

In between our sushi course, chef prepared crab/kani miso soup for us. The only drawback was, for me, that it tasted too salty. But the crab was fresh, though!

13. TORO ABURI

Now, we all have preference. Some love raw sushi the best, but some people (like myself) yearn over 'aburi' style, in which cooking torch is being used to create half-burnt effect, giving your sushi the exceptional texture and aroma. Love this one! 

Now, we all have preference. Some love raw sushi the best, but some people (like myself) yearn over 'aburi' style, in which cooking torch is being used to create half-burnt effect, giving your sushi the exceptional texture and aroma. Love this one! 

14. SALMON GOMA SUSHI

Just when I thought it was just "another salmon sushi", I kept getting surprises. Never thought that salmon with a dash of goma (sesame) and goma oil on top could bring out its maximum flavor! It just works... really well. Perfect combination.

Just when I thought it was just "another salmon sushi", I kept getting surprises. Never thought that salmon with a dash of goma (sesame) and goma oil on top could bring out its maximum flavor! It just works... really well. Perfect combination.

15. SHIITAKE ABURI SUSHI

Told you I'm a big fan of everything-aburi. Looking at this all I want to do is buy cooking torch myself and half-bake everything by torching it. Super good.

16. TAMAGO TEMAKI

Rice roll with omelet inside. I reckon that this was served to put an end to our stomach capacity, lol. Great munching on this snack, too.

Rice roll with omelet inside. I reckon that this was served to put an end to our stomach capacity, lol. Great munching on this snack, too.

17. UNAGI SUSHI

This closed off our sushi parade that night. Truly delightful!

This closed off our sushi parade that night. Truly delightful!

AND FINALLY.. THE 18TH COURSE: MOCHI ICE CREAM.

OH MY GOD DID WE JUST HAVE 18 MEAL COURSE?  Well this is a sweet closing to end our Omakase journey that night. The green one is matcha (green tea), yellow depicts mango mochi ice cream, and finally purple represents taro/yam mochi. Perfect close down.

OH MY GOD DID WE JUST HAVE 18 MEAL COURSE? 

Well this is a sweet closing to end our Omakase journey that night. The green one is matcha (green tea), yellow depicts mango mochi ice cream, and finally purple represents taro/yam mochi. Perfect close down.


So I guess that's a wrap. No more words. YOU JUST GOTTA TRY OMAKASE AT UMAKU YOURSELF. And then let me know how it went, how will yours differ from mine, what kind of random kindness & complementary bonuses that the chef gave you... ~ Trust me, you'll be surprised.

Price? No worries, if you can afford regular steak in your daily meal, I'm telling you that this is far worth the price. Please contact Umaku directly and make sure you've made your reservation at least few days before hand :)

Umaku Duren Tiga
Jl. Duren Tiga Raya no.32, Jakarta Selatan
Telp 021 79170337
Twitter: http://twitter.com/umaku_duren3

Another Umaku branch in Jabodetabek: 

Umaku Cibubur
Citi Walk Blok CW 1 No.26 Citra Grand Cibubur
Phone: +62 21 84303732, +62 21 84303733
Twitter: you can contact the @chef_uki himself :)

Umaku Tebet
Jl. Tebet Raya no.141, Jakarta Selatan (150m sebelum Stasiun Tebet)
Telp 021 83709132
Twitter: http://twitter.com/umaku_tebet