I’m always filled with excitement whenever a new Indonesian restaurant pops up. Beyond the explosion of flavors from Indonesian spices, many of these eateries also present local delicacies from various regions of Indonesia, which I might only get the chance to try if I visit those specific areas.
So, when Ismaya introduced their inaugural Indonesian restaurant, my excitement knew no bounds. SEMAJA offers a soul-stirring take on modern Indonesian cuisine. Rooted in a profound love for our cherished nation and its diverse cultures, SEMAJA proudly displays Indonesia’s rich heritage, deserving of celebration. They firmly believe that food mirrors their identity, which drives them to craft an exceptional culinary voyage encapsulating the very essence of our nation.
Semaja embodies the fusion of authenticity, artistic finesse, cultural heritage, and contemporary culinary methods. According to SEMAJA’s Executive Chef, Patrick Ramon, their mission is to kindle a passion for Indonesia’s culinary legacy through the art of gastronomy. Guests are warmly invited to embark on this exhilarating journey.
In his role as Executive Chef, Patrick pays tribute to Indonesia’s abundant natural resources, mainly its diverse range of spices. With locally sourced ingredients and modern cooking techniques, he composes a symphony of flavors, each dish telling a unique story.
Highlighting Indonesia’s cherished culinary heritage, SEMAJA introduces a collection of 10 signature dishes under the banner of Rajamangsa. From Tuna Gohu to Kerupuk Opak Kuah Sate Padang, this sumptuous feast embodies the essence of its name, which literally translates to “king’s food,” historically reserved for the highest ruler of ancient kingdoms.
Crafted with locally sourced ingredients and a symphony of spices, each dish bursts with flavors that delight the palate; clearly, Chef Patrick has an unwavering affinity for robust tastes.
Even the appetizers, like the vibrant Pangsit Udang Kalio (shrimp wonton in a traditional Indonesian curry), instantly captivate. Inspired by Padang’s culinary legacy, Chef Patrick reimagines Kalio with plump shrimp wontons nestled in a bed of Kalio sauce.
Many of SEMAJA’s dishes are a result of Chef Patrick’s explorations across Indonesia, as seen in the Sumsum Sei Sapi Asap, a smoked bone marrow adorned with pickled red onion and crispy fried potato, also known as Kentang Mustofa.
“During a vacation in Rote, I encountered Sei beef preparation, which inspired me to fuse it with bone marrow for a contemporary twist. I added Prata bread to complement the dish,” Chef Patrick elaborates.
As I savored these bold and vibrant dishes while absorbing Chef Patrick’s narratives, it felt like a journey of my own. Despite the modern presentations, each creation retains its authentic flavors, exemplified by the Grilled Barramundi, a reminder of Chef Patrick’s time spent in Bali.
“Living in Bali for eight years provided me with the unique opportunity to learn traditional Balinese cooking in Jimbaran’s local community centers (banjars). A distinctive lesson was the consistent use of kencur and roasted coconut in Balinese dishes. This combination sets Balinese cuisine apart from others.”
Embracing the Indonesian concept, reflected even in its interior adorned with batik patterns, wayang motifs, and rattan crafts, Semaja presents these menus in a communal dining experience. Several dishes span from Sabang to Merauke, showcasing each region’s distinct culinary characteristics, all uniquely presented. This is exemplified when Chef Patrick gives a contemporary twist to the traditional Wingko Babat, redefining its presentation while preserving its essence.
“It took a year of R&D to achieve the desired soft texture for the Wingko Babat. It’s made with a combination of rice flour and glutinous rice flour, paired with fresh grated coconut to keep it moist,” shares Chef Patrick
Stories of Travels and Home
“At SEMAJA, we are redefining the culinary scene by curating familiar recipes from across the Indonesian archipelago and presenting them in a new light. Our goal is to create an unforgettable dining experience that showcases the modernity of our culture and the uniqueness of our cuisine,” explained Chef Patrick.
Hailing from Europe, Chef Patrick honed his culinary craft during a decade at a distinguished Michelin-starred restaurant in Germany. This experience distinctly shaped his approach to cooking. Upon returning to Indonesia, he embraced pivotal roles in celebrated establishments across Bali and Jakarta.
Fueled by a profound affection and deep-rooted respect for his ancestral homeland, Indonesia, Executive Chef Patrick embarked on an inspirational culinary journey to revolutionize the nation’s culinary landscape through his ingenious venture, SEMAJA. Following a decade-long expedition abroad, where he meticulously honed his culinary skills and embraced the latest gastronomic trends, Patrick introduced an exclusive menu at SEMAJA. Along with his immersive journeys across Indonesia, Chef Patrick ignited the creation of numerous Semaja dishes.
“My vision for SEMAJA is to elevate and showcase the rich tapestry of Indonesian cuisine beyond what’s commonly known to the general public. I aim to introduce a variety of lesser-known Indonesian dishes that have yet to be discovered by many, thus educating culinary enthusiasts with diverse tastes, flavors, and presentation techniques inherent in our culinary traditions,” said Chef Patrick confidently.
Jl. Gereja Theresia No.41, Gondangdia, Kec. Menteng, Jakarta, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10350