When I was in the mood for Japanese in Singapore, I frequented a place called Waraku Japanese Casual Dining particularly the one at Starhub Building on Cuppage Road. I loved Waraku because the noodles were fresh (the udon was just chewy-right) as well as the sushi. Moreover, it was just walking distance from my old flat on Cavenagh Garden – walk the length of the road to the bridge, walk the bridge and you’re at the restaurant in minutes. But on my last visit to the Garden City I was in for a bit of shock when a new restaurant loomed ahead. Waraku had been replaced by Gerry’s Grill.
Back in Indonesia, Sushi Tei is a perennial favourite, visiting it with my friends every so often, but, sadly, I was getting slightly bored with it, and that old feeling for Waraku surfaced. Call it serendipity – the universe seemed to have been attuned to my wishful thinking. As my gal-pal and I made our way through the food level of Grand Indonesia, Waraku waved like an old friend from a distance. I was over the moon (yes, over Japanese food)! Talk about a stupendous weekend – favourite Japanese place and gab fest with one of my much-loved girls.
Perusing the humongous menu (you could hide behind it), we settled for a nice, warm meal of salmon takoyaki, bowl of seaweed udon (the mini portion is still good enough for two people to share) and a bowl of agadeshi tofu. We didn’t forget two have a cup of hot green tea each. The last two items are ubiquitous in Japanese restaurants around Jakarta, but the first one is a difficult find unlike in Singapore where takoyaki ball kiosks are ever-present. What is takoyaki exactly? If the Chinese have their dumplings, takoyaki is the Japanese version except that that they’re fried, not steamed in a basket. The ball-shaped savoury pancake is cooked in a special takoyaki pan and demands the dexterity (and patience) of the cook in turning the balls over without breaking the batter or over cooking them. The takoyaki balls in Singapore particularly this one at the basement of Plaza Singapura sold a variety of flavours such as corn and peas, octopus, prawns, and, if I remember correctly, tuna. The balls are squeezed over with takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, and sprinkled with fish shavings. I skip the mayonnaise every now and then, finding the sauce, which is sweetish, enough to tickle the palate.
The salmon takoyaki balls at Waraku are great but you need to eat them right away because, if you let them sit on the table for far too long (read: you’ve been talking too much that you forgot about the food), cold salmon takoyaki balls aren’t really that terrific to bite into.
Waraku Japanese Casual Cuisine
Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, Sky Bridge 3A Fl Unit FD 1-10
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 1, Jakarta
Phone: (021) 2358-1188
Hours: 11 am – 10 pm (daily, lunch and dinner)