Korean-American celebrity chef Akira Back’s eponymous restaurant at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach doubles down on its tried-and-tested Korean-accented Japanese cuisine.
Akira Back is the place you want to bring a tentative first date to. Or a business associate you’re having lunch with for the first time.
After all the nouveau Japanese eatery at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach – part of renowned Chef Akira Back’s sprawling restaurant empire – offers a contemporary take on a much-beloved cuisine. Like his other Akira Back restaurants around the world, dishes are simple but effective twists on familiar Japanese dishes some of which come with Korean influences.
The space too is chic and modern, a pleasing aesthetic of Scandinavian-style wood accents punctuated with pops of colour from psychedelic carpeting, red and white seats, as well as some rather abstract art scattered about. Clever drop lighting draws attention to food on the table. One could say Akira Back in Singapore looks and feels like its counterparts in Dallas and Seoul, though not as opulent as the ones in Dubai or Paris.
That casual yet comfortable sophistication extends to the menu. Dishes are jazzed up versions of familiar Japanese favourites, and inoffensive enough to appeal to a wide dining audience. So yes, definitely first date-friendly.
A must-order is the signature of Akira Back, the AB Tuna Pizza, which comes as a tasty pizza-like crisp cracker base topped with razor-thin shavings of maguro tuna. Those watching their carb intake can opt instead for Horenso Shira Ae, or spinach rolls in a sesame dressing. Also fun is Pork Belly (Bossam), a hat-tip to Chef Back’s Korean heritage that leans on apple-infused miso to accentuate the flavours of the boiled pork.
Then there are the inventive and eclectic sushi rolls, which pays tribute to Chef Back’s American legacy. You can order the more traditional Japanese-style nigiri, but the fun sushi rolls are where it’s at. They are also perfect for sharing. Hot Mess comes as a roll stuffed with king crab tempura and poke sashimi that’s spiced up with some fiery ponzu aioli, while Brother From Another Mother features grilled unagi and anago tempura accentuated by some torchon of foie gras.
For those dates or business partners who can’t decide? Go for the Perfect Storm, which comes with seared salmon belly, shrimp tempura and spicy tuna, so they get a little bit of everything in their roll.
For mains, skip the pedestrian Ji-Dori Chicken. To impress your dining companions, go instead for the pricier but juicier and far more flavourful 48 Hours “Sanchoku” Short Rib.
Make sure you end off the meal with the AB Cigar, a chocolate confection that appears as a Cuban cigar, including (edible) ash. It’s surely a talking point to seal the deal at the end of the evening.
[Photo credits: Akira Back Singapore]
Address 30 Beach Road, Level B1M, JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach, Singapore 189763 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 12pm to 2.30pm and 6 to 10.30pm daily
Tel (65) 6818 1914
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