About Akari Japanese Dining Bar

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0550-Copy.JPGMention the term Kaiseki and many Singaporeans will often shun away in fear of ending up with an empty wallet. It is, after all, extremely atas and expensive!

Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. It also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals, which are reminiscent of Western haute cuisine. The kaiseki dishes I had here were a visual treat – it’s easily the prettiest dinner I’ve ever had!

Akari Japanese Dining Bar aims to bring this deluxe dining experience to the average Singaporean, by making it more affordable while preserving the quality of haute cuisine. From end-April to end-May 2015, Akari will be offering a refreshing Spring Kaiseki menu to all diners.

 

Spring Kaiseki Set Courses

 

We had the opportunity to sample the 10-course Kaiseki Set Menu ($150++/pax) which is still pretty expensive, but cheaper compared to many other restaurants offering kaiseki cuisines. It’s difficult to find a kaiseki set meal that costs less than $200 in Singapore.

Also available is a 10-course kaiseki set menu that costs $100++/pax, and a Private Kaiseki Special Dining Night ($200++/pax without sake pairing, $250++/pax with sake pairing) on the 1st and 4th Saturday of the month.

 

Chawanmushi

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0536-Copy.JPGOur bellies were warmed with this Japanese steamed egg with oyster, our first starter. It’s probably my favourite dish out of all 10 with its soft, bouncy texture and warm, steamy goodness. It is accompanied with fresh aonori seaweed, and a humongous oyster that felt like a piece of treasure when I dug it up.

It’s even topped with a sakura flower petal, a pretty symbol of Spring.

 

Appetiser

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0550-Copy_20150428-032510_1.JPGThis appetizer contains a whole plethora of ingredients – anago sushi, baby turban shell with basil miso, smelt fish with wasabu vinegar, grilled vegetables with miso, grilled belt fish with yuzu, and roast duck with spice egg yolk.

What really stood out to me was the baby turban shell with basil miso. The meat was thick and juicy, and the basil sauce added a minty kick that I loved. The smelt fish was really good as well and tasted like flavourful, atas ikan bilis.

 

Clear Soup with Minced Snapper

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0555-Copy.JPGThis soup came at just the right time, giving our stomachs a little break after that satisfying appetizer.

The soup contained minced snapper, bamboo shoots, a carrot and a Japanese mountain leaf. The bamboo shoot was nothing special, but the soup was flavourful and the snapper meat was tasty. The mountain leaf also gave the soup a nice, herby taste.

 

Sashimi

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0560-Copy.jpgThis dish includes Japanese Blue Fin Tuna Toro, Spot Prawn, and two kinds of white meat fish, one of which was Shima Aji (Striped Jack Fish).

The tuna toro was too fatty for me, and the prawn left nothing to be desired. However, the Shima Aji was really good and I found myself craving for more even after finishing 3 slices.

 

Grilled Wagyu Beef

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0575-Copy.JPGThe beef was really tender, and made for a heavenly combination when paired with the flavourful garlic steak sauce. The presence of my favourite pepper, capsicums, also made me particularly biased towards this dish.

 

Steamed Abalone

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0580-Copy.JPGThe steamed abalone was accompanied with turnip, sakura starch and simmered snapper egg. The abalone was chewy and succulent, and the starch cake was steamy and soft, warming the stomach in all the right places.

 

Deep Fried Minced Prawn

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0587-Copy.JPGThis dish left me feeling pretty neutral. It was nothing special, just a regular fried prawn ball. The mountain vegetable it was topped with was extremely pungent and way too strong – the dish could’ve done without it.

 

Vinegared Salmon and Baby Squid

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0593-Copy.JPGThis dish may be really pretty, but the taste of everything was underwhelming. The salmon pieces were too small and I could hardly taste them. The baby squid also didn’t appeal to me with its pungent fishy taste.

The vinegar sauce was mixed with strawberries as a reminder of Spring, giving a very unique flavour that needed a bit of getting used to as well.

 

Hokkaido Scallop Rice with Red Miso Soup

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0596-Copy.JPGI love carbs, so when this dish arrived I tucked right in despite being so full.

The scallop rice was really fragrant and tasty, and I couldn’t help but finish the whole bowl despite my stomach demanding I stop. The red miso soup was interesting, but overall it just tasted like regular miso soup.

 

Milk Pudding with Black Sesame Mochi

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0602-Copy.JPGThis is about as traditional and classy looking as desserts can get.

The mochi literally melted in my mouth. It’s different from the chewy mochis we normally have, and I was a little disappointed that there was no need for any teeth action. The plum sauce that accompanied it also made for a pretty weird combination.

The homemade milk pudding, on the other hand, was lovely. It was served in an eggshell, and the sweet, caramelized flavour really appealed to me. The pudding was thick, creamy, and left me craving for more.

 

The Verdict

 

The menu kick-started with some really tasty and delectable kaiseki dishes that were also a sight for sore eyes. However, as the meal progressed, I found the dishes getting slightly more ordinary and even unappealing.

Overall, the goodness and freshness of some dishes really stood out and managed to outweigh the bad. If you’re looking for a deluxe dining experience that’s both a treat for your eyes and your taste buds, be sure to head down to Akari when their kaiseki set menus launch!

Verdict: 7/10

 

Getting There

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Akari-Interior.jpgSource: Akari Japanese Dining Bar

Akari Japanese Dining Bar is located in the heart of Marina Bay Financial Centre.

Address: 8A Marina Boulevard #01-02 Singapore 018984
Opening Hours: 12pm – 3pm | 6pm – 10pm
Telephone: 6634 0100
Website: http://www.akaridiningbar.com


This post was brought to you by Akari Japanese Dining Bar.