Hakkasan brings mod-Cantonese fare, by way of London, to Indonesia’s buzzing capital.
Perched on the 25th floor of Jakarta’s newly minted Alila SCBD hotel, the first Hakkasan restaurant in Southeast Asia—and the 12th globally—cleaves close to the brand’s DNA. Parisian design firm GBRH took its cues from the original London restaurants, giving Hakkasan Jakarta intricate oak lattice screens and bespoke furniture in polished chrome, silk, and embroidered leather. Preprandial cocktails beckon at the curved bar with a countertop illuminated in Hakkasan’s signature blue lighting: try the excellent Smoky Fuchow and the deceptively simple-looking Truffle Bo Luo. The latter mixes truffle-washed tequila with pineapple and pandan to create a pleasing riot of tastes with a clean finish.
Then there’s the food, which holds its own against the 180-degree views of the Indonesian capital. For Malaysian-born chef de cuisine Sky Wong Kum Choy, a transplant from Hakkasan Dubai, the biggest challenge was maintaining the lightness of Cantonese cooking while adapting to the Indonesian penchant for heat and bolder, more complex flavors. “We had to do a lot of research to understand what people liked,” he says. “I also drew on my own background as someone from Malacca; the ingredients used in Nyonya cuisine there are similar to what you find here.”
The result? A selection of “only at” dishes exclusive to Hakkasan Jakarta, including Kalimantan-fished grouper steamed with kaffir lime and dressed in chili sambal, along with crispy quail egg puffs whose flaky skins conceal runny yolks wrapped in spinach-flavored dough. Another specialty is the braised mutiara lobster with glass noodles and black peppercorns.
The kitchen also turns out Hakkasan signatures that riff on Cantonese classics: think roasted duck drizzled in truffle oil, and the Supreme Dim Sum Platter featuring scallop and tobiko siu mai, sea bass in rice-flour pockets tinted with squid ink and edible gold leaf, truffle-infused har gau, as well as lobster-and-crabmeat dumplings.
Wong’s creativity is equally apparent in the Jakarta-only desserts. Don’t leave without sampling the musang king durian puffs deftly shaped into miniature black swans, and his elevated version of the Indonesian shaved-ice dish es teler—reinterpreted as a slightly gritty avocado ice-cream served with pandan jelly, jackfruit slivers, and slices of young coconut. The inventive cocktails and desserts alone warrant a repeat visit, especially when Hakkasan Jakarta debuts its open-air rooftop lounge later this year.
25-26/F, Alila SCBD, Jakarta; 62-21/5080-8766.
Also New in Town
After branching out to Bali from Singapore less than five years ago, Kilo has opened an industrial-chic restaurant and lounge in the South Jakarta neighborhood of Senopati. Latin American and Asian fusion predominates on the menu—try out the seafood ceviche, Kilo’s gochujang-laced steak tartare, and larger sharing plates such as squid-ink rice topped with a generous helping of salmon roe, battered squid, and aioli (Jl. Gunawarman 16).
This article originally appeared in the April/May 2019 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“An Elevating Experience”).