Aglow with neon signs that bring a fun k-pop vibe to the establishment, Akiba is a Japanese/Korean fusion whose food and vibe is as bright as its neon lights.
Waitstaff busily zip around between the communal tables, laden with platters of bao, towers of fried chicken or bowls of dumplings designed to share in an easy-going street food style.
AKIBA’s extensive menu is full of items designed to share, and has multiple options for a multitude of dietary requirements. Launch straight in with something fresh, light and packed with Asian flavour and get some sashimi from the raw bar.
Highly recommended by all the staff, the Hapuka shows sashimi at its best. Silky and velvety pieces of refreshingly cool slices of fish are arranged neatly along a platter, each topped with a dollop of wasabi miso for a salty and sweet bite, a vibrant orange nest of crunchy grated carrot and a sprinkling of tempura flakes which bring a crumbly texture to every mouthful. A housemade shoyu dressing provides a salty zing while helping to cure and lift the fresh fish flavour.
Not to miss are the bao buns. If making a decision between the pork, crab or beef bao seems like the hardest decision of your life, the answer is simple. Get one of each.
Whether it be decadent and tender pork belly with creamy, crunchy wombok slaw and salty char sui sauce; or crispy tempura crab with quick pickled lettuce and creamy ponzu; or melt in your mouth pulled beef with kimchi, kewpie mayo and crunchy roasted nuts, no decision is the wrong one. Each encased in a fluffy and light pillow of homemade bao bun made fresh everyday. Finger-lickingly moorish.
A dish so popular it seems to have iterations in almost every national cuisine, Akiba’s Japanese Fried Chicken is an unforgettable version. Served as a toppling tower of golden fried chicken morsels each piece has a crispy texture on the outside yet succulent and juicy on the inside, and having been marinated overnight in a traditional Japanese method, they are full of flavour too.
The batter has been liberally spiked with spices like paprika, giving the dish its own unique attitude and punch. Served with silky-soft lemon-braised onions to cut through the richness, and a dusting of salty parmesan, the dish is well-rounded.
The deep brown, caramelised colour of the Beef Short Ribs speaks to the richness of the dish. The beef rib has taken hours to prepare, after sealing off flavours in a special flamer and braising for a long time at a low temperature in a flavourful master-stock. The result is
The result is meltingly tender rib that has created a rich, gelatinous sauce, the perfect fold for a tamarind sauce to cut through the unctuous qualities of the beef. An arrangement of fresh Asian herbs on top gives the meal a punch of colour and deepens the flavour.
If you make it to dessert the Chocolate and Mandarin Jaffa Bar rounds off the meal nicely with a winning union of refreshing citrus and decadent chocolate. Served as a layered slab of flavours and textures, it has a thick chocolate sponge as the base of a creamy mandarin mousse layer, topped by a silky chocolate glaze.
The cake is also accompanied by a thick crème pâtissière laced with mandarin, as well as crushed roasted peanuts that deliver a deep roasted flavour and crunchy texture, and finally dollops of mandarin gel, whose sharpness cuts through the creaminess and richness of the cake.
Don’t expect fancy dinner. Expect fingers covered in fried chicken crumbs and faces smeared in kewpie mayo under the glow of neon lights and amongst eager chopsticks.