As picky as I am lately with trying on new restaurants, I can't hold my excitement to try Izakaya KAI as soon as possible, with three main reasons, first, it serves Japanese, my favorite cuisine. Second, it is the brainchild from the talented Chef Adhika Maxi and his gorgeous wife, Chef Karen Carlotta, and they teamed up with Tempura Master Chef Hitoshi Kimura. Third, it nestles in my neighborhood. Yes, Northerners, you heard it right.
After the successful AMKC at South, the dynamic duo chef now opens their first Japanese restaurant at North. North is just slayin' lately with so many good restaurants popping up in the neighborhood. Me, as a fellow Northerners couldn't be more excited. No need to go through those horrible traffic to South.
Hubs and I were here just yesterday for dinner and pleasantly satisfied. We came home with happy tummy.
Izakaya KAI is a two storey building located not far from Ombe Koffee, residents of Pluit might be more familiar with addressing them across the Chinese restaurant, Siaw A Tjiap. Here's what you need to take note, each storey delivers two different concepts. Level 1 is an all day dining cafe where the menu is mostly fusion of western with Japanese inspired. Expect to find pasta, donburi and Japanese set meal with price range not more than IDR 125.000,-. You can also find scrumptious selections of Chef Karen's cakes at level 1.
Level 2 is an izakaya reservation only dining where no walks in are acceptable. At least for the time being. For this round, we had our dinner at the level 2, so all the food I reviewed here are what served only at the second level, the izakaya Japanese dining and not the all day dining downstairs (except for the cakes).
Izakaya Japanese Dining - Level 2 (Reservations only)
Kitchen situation - My favorite spot to sit in a Japanese restaurant has always been at the bar where I can see the chefs in action.
Aomari Ika IDR 65.000,-
Next we move to Yakitori and we tried 4 of them. Negima (chicken thigh & leek) 15k, Kawa (chicken skin) 15k, Sunagimo (gizzard) 12k and Tebasaki (wings) 20k. Everything was beyond expectation since yakitori is my least favorite in Japanese food, but I love how they did them right. The one must order is their Sunagimo. So so so tender!!!
The only one we didn't really enjoy was probably what ironically their recommendation, the 8 hours pork belly & trotter (60k). Don't get me wrong, it was a good dish, we just not too fond of the cooking method, to us, it was more like Chinese dish rather than Japanese.
8 Hours Pork Belly & Trotters IDR 60.000,-
Another one must be highlighted is the Black angus beef saikoro steak (125k). A beautifully executed dish. The beef just melt in your mouth and so well flavored. Very recommended!
Now, dessert! You can order their cakes to be eaten upstairs too. As tempted as I am with the Goma cake, Double chocolate red velvet or Froyo cake, our tummy space can only up for one slice, after much deliberation (no kidding, since everything looks so yumm!), we went with the latter. The froyo cake as you may guess, is short for frozen yogurt, they even had the longan and mochi as the toppings. Unfortunately we didn't taste any sourness normally got from yogurt, the passion fruit sponge cake overpowering the overall flavor that to us, it didn't taste nor feel like a froyo. Still, a good cake though, just wasn't as memorable as my favorites from Chef Karen's creations such as PB&J, or Es Teler cake.
Froyo Cake IDR 50.000,-
Oh yes, we also got a complimentary bun that was, again, so goood. Juicy pork with salted egg yolk with soft bun. I mean, if they sell these babies for take away... I'll be sure to pack them home for tomorrow's breakfast.
Ps. Head up to KAI now before the waiting list and parking space makes you lose the appetite. You know how packed a good restaurant can be once the word spread.
Thank you for reading!
jl. Pluit Kencana No. 59
Ph. +6221 22663966
Level 1 all day dining 10am - 10pm
Level 2 Izakaya Japanese dining 11am - 3pm, 6pm - 10pm.