“Is this Tokyo, or is this Jakarta?”
That is the first sentence that runs inside my head as I open the sliding door to enter Kashiwa, one of numerous Japanese restaurants that occupy Little Tokyo area at Melawai, South Jakarta.
The scene that greets my eyes—light-colored wooden furniture, a bookshelf filled with original manga books—instantly flies me to one of those afternoons when I used to watch anime at home after school in early 2000s. Add that with the staff’s enthusiastic ‘Irasshaimase!’ and J-Pop tunes playing in the background, Kashiwa feels undeniably Nippon. Yes, the otaku part of me that has been buried for years comes out in full swing!
Unlike some other restaurants in Little Tokyo that are frequented by Nihon-jin expats, Kashiwa has more varied patrons. There’s us and a couple more Indonesians, there’s a bule couple enjoying a pint of beer, and there’s also Japanese expats with their usual office outfit—crisp white shirt, black trousers, and leather shoes. While I’m being a little too excited over Kashiwa’s kawaii-ness, other diners seem completely absorbed with their food and conversation, as if they’ve been here a hundred times before.
Kashiwa is indeed a reasonably-priced restaurant that warrants frequent visits. You can find an endless option of Japanese food here, all priced at IDR 29.800++. Sashimi. Sushi. Yakimono. Oden. Agemono. Onigiri. Tempura. Pretty much every Japanese dish imaginable. It’s not surprising that finding dishes that are that good is tricky.
Maguro Sashimi for instance, lacks the freshness that sashimi should possess, but still edible and a great value for money nonetheless. On the other hand, Yakitori Momo—skewered chicken thigh—is so, so good. Nicely charred and grilled on the outside. Juicy and tender in the inside. Dressed with a sticky sweet-salty soy sauce. I’d happily eat a bunch of them alongside a bottle of Japanese Sapporo Beer. Kanpai!
Kashiwa tickles the nostalgic part in me. It builds anticipation, sets my head in a good space, and invites me to come back. From there, it’s only a matter of picking the right dishes. I’ll certainly be back for some more Yakimono and the amazing ambience. How about you? Have you been to Kashiwa? Drop a comment below and tell us about your experience. ?
Kashiwa Little Tokyo (Melawai)
Address: Jl. Melawai 8 No. 2A
Phone: (021) 7396063
Google Map Location: