Sunday, March 27, 2016

Akari Japanese Dining and Bar - Kaiseiki Brilliance

Japanese cuisine is very prevalent in Singapore, but often finding a balance between modernistic approaches and an adherence to authentic cooking can be a challenge.

Not so for Akari Japanese Dining and Bar, which has been around for what seems like an eternity in the food and beverage industry.

Chef Murata is a master at kaiseiki sets, and with the current emphasis of small plates being the trend, it makes good sense for Murata to drum up a series of sharing dishes that are a superb combination of new and old.

It is a shame though, that situated in the heart of the Marina Financial hub, the crowd are more fixated with alcohol than the food itself. What they are missing out is some of the better Japanese fare that can be found in and around town.

Yuzukosyo Yaki

Grilled chicken leg with yuzu pepper if such an original dish that I am not even sure if it's really Japanese at all. With the scent of the yuzu pepper, it is an alchemy of flavours and textures that are equal parts dazzling in looks and colour, and equal parts delicious.

Sashimi Platter

Outside of Sen of Japan, this is probably the second best looking sashimi platter that I have come across so far. The fish is cut into smaller chunks and whilst this may put purists off, the more manageable parcels do make for a prettier plating concept.

The addition of rice rolls and tamago or omelette cubes not only add more vibrancy to the dish, it also gives the classic fish only dish a bit more depth and flavours as well.

Kani Suizu Shitate

Crab meat is thoughtfully braised in a clear fish stock and finished off with the piquant tinge of vinegar gives it a beautiful and subtle balance of flavours. Looks are deceiving as despite the heaviness of the plating, the dish eventually comes off as light and slightly sweet.

Unagi Porridge

The highlight of the new kaiseiki dishes must be this wholesome and comforting eel porridge. A slight teriyaki sweetness embellishes every grain of rice, but the starchy and watery mix of flavours and textures never fails to beckon you back for one extra spoonful of congee.

Simply put, you can eat this all day, again and again. And this is a sign of a great dish that rewards you even more on subsequent revisits. I really cannot say the same for some other hyped up lobster ramen that is just so punishing even on the first run through.

When food is pushed to new boundaries, there is a need to observe some tradition and honour what really works well in the first place. Getting back to basics and giving people something they can come back for again is really the key.

Lambasting bombastic ideas in the hope of gaining hype will only result in short term gains. It's kinda like the difference between an everlasting film like Batman Begins against the latest sham of a hollywood overload, Batman v Superman.

One of which you can revisit for years and years and still find something refreshing and satisfying. The other is just pure noise vying for your attention and you will find it painful to even finish it the first time, much less coming back for seconds.

Akari Japanese Dining and Bar
8A Marina Boulevard
Marina Bay Financial Centre

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