Kurune Jakarta Novel Japanese dining in the Capital

Roppongi, one of Kurune Jakarta’s specialty dishes. It is a large bowl containing a variety of fresh local sashimi cuts, including perennial favorites salmon and tuna. Photos: Freddy Wally

IO – There’s a newcomer in the Japanese dining scene in the Capital City: Kurune, a venture of PT Astowa Foods Indonesia, the group behind the Sumibi chain of restaurants that have been providing fine dining for Jakarta urbanites from the Land of the Rising Sun.

When you visit Kurune in Senopati, you will find the inviting romance of Japan awaiting you: a discreet sliding door, cheerful bustling sounds, reserved yet jolly lighting…it almost seems like you’re in a quiet corner of Edo. It really embodies the true meaning of “kurune” – “invitation”.

Kurune Jakarta’s interior décor is reminiscent of the bathhouse in the anime film Spirited Away: several stories in a pagoda-like structure, arranged subtly like a mysterious labyrinth. You feel it most when you are being guided towards the VIP area on the third floor.

Kurune’s stylish
A view of the Kurune’s stylish, attractive bars from the Second Floor.

Up high in the space that allows honored clients to either look down at the rest of Kurune or to separate themselves from the masses while remaining hidden, we will find the rock arrangement that facilitates mental and emotional stillness, according to the principles of Japanese Zen.

Here, you are invited to enjoy true Japanese favors. You are also invited to enjoy dynamic music played by the resident DJ or home band in the evenings downstairs. Kurune breaks the usual concept of Japanese restaurant as a rigid, quiet space. Dede Yusuf Fadilah, Kurune Jakarta’s General Manager, stated that the restaurant is designed with a blend of Japanese traditional atmosphere and modern warmth. “We are making the effort to express wabi-sabi, the paradox of “imperfect perfection” frequently find in Japan’s mixture of the modern and the traditional,” he said during an interview in December.

Open Kitchen
Kurune Jakarta is designed with an itaba or open kitchen. The chefs and kitchen staff make the preparation of the food part of the restaurant’s presentation and charm. We met and chatted with Yusuke Tsuchiya, Kurune’s Executive Chef who’s been living in Jakarta for a number of years: “I love living in Indonesia. You have plenty of good food yourselves, and your people highly appreciate Japanese food,” he said. “It is for them that we prepare and serve the 180+ items in Kurune Jakarta’s menu – appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. Some of them are the results of my experiments, while others come about from my survey of Jakartan diners, learning about what kind of dishes they want from us here. Jakarta urbanites are extremely fond of sashimi, sushi, and ramen.”

Kurune Jakarta
Kurune Jakarta, the latest Japanese restaurant. It is based on the Japanese principle of wabi-sabi, and it is a mixture of modern Japanese conveniences and Shogun-era traditions.

Kurune is able to seat up to 120 patrons in its booths, loose tables, and long bar seat. Yes, it has a bar that can provide you with all kinds of cocktails and mocktails, specifically made for you by Bar Manager Krisna Setiawan and his team. He will not hesitate to offer you original Japanese favors if you visit, whether you’re alone or with company. This is just part of the reason why Kurune Jakarta is the best place to enjoy yourself or have a business meeting while partaking of authentic Japanese favors.

Amid the spread of the new Covid-19 virus variants, we should continue to be vigilant and follow the health protocol at Kurune’s. It’s tiring to repeat, but it saves lives: wash your hands with soap and water frequently, always wear a health mask when you’re not eating or drinking, keep your distance with other patrons, and don’t crowd.

That being said, enjoy your spiritual culinary trip to Japan – without leaving Jakarta!

Dōzo omeshi-agari kudasai, have a lovely meal! (Freddy Wally)