Get in, sit down and feel the energy. That’s the simple philosophy of AKIBA, the fast-paced restaurant and bar in ACTEWAGL House that does ‘eclectic’ with a healthy dose of ‘electric’
Head Chef Johnon Macdonald (Gingerboy, Rockpool) has taken the initial menu and refined the offering to provide a big hitting selection of Asian-inspired flavour bombs. AKIBA must recognise that with the current offering, diners are absolutely spoiled for choice… the inclusion of a $45.00pp moving feast that deals up the best eight dishes of the day is a great way to attack the menu if you’re even slightly indecisive.
If you prefer to order your own, we certainly recommend you start with the Snacks and Street Food part of the menu. Great to pick at with a friend or two, you’ll be amazed by the complex flavours present across the selections.
Tokubetsu Sydney Rock Oysters are the perfect way to prepare your palate for the treats to come. Served with black vinegar and ginger wine the flavour is fresh and lively, and the creamy oysters are balanced by the sharp hit of ginger.
Love your sashimi? We’d have to recommend the Snapper. Clean and simple (yet elegant) there’s nowhere for the snapper to hide, pushing the delicate fish to the fore. The jalapeno is barely ‘wafer thin’ and acts as a base for the umami notes of a petite cherry tomato, A reduction of yuzu (a North Asian citrus) scattered around the dish provides a welcome touch of acidity that you can add as you please to taste.
The other great option in ’sashimi land’ is the Kingfish. There’s a beautiful creaminess thanks to the coconut that plays along well with the sweet texture of the kingfish. Add the zing of the coriander and nam jim (a Thai-inspired sauce) and you know you’ve arrived in flavour country. The crunch from the tiny pappadum crisps is another cheeky touch you wouldn’t expect in a sashimi dish.
AKIBA really brought the ‘bao’, one of the favourite examples of Chinese street cuisine, to Canberra. The latest incarnation of the AKIBA favourite features pork belly and an Asian Slaw, but the secret ingredient is the rich and thick slices of pickled cucumber that delivers a crunch as well as a tang. It’s fun, it’s a little bit messy, and it’s everything that street food should be.
Think you’ve ‘done’ Chinese fried rice? Well, you really need to check out AKIBA’s version that comes with snake beans and chilli egg. The King Prawns make all the difference elevating the dish from the local takeaway version (with tiny prawns barely distinguishable to the naked eye) and delivers something absolutely packed with flavour. Smash the egg and mix it through the rice to discover the myriad of rich textures and flavours. It’s a meal inside a meal.
Another selection for your table might be beef. Zuni Café in Los Angeles is famous for its onion pickling technique. By blanching and cooling three times, the onion keeps its texture while still absorbing the tart flavours. AKIBA has matched this perfectly to make a great foil for the earthy flavours of the Black Angus Sirloin Steak – served medium rare and sliced across the plate. Put all that together with chipotle butter and it’s another multi-textural delight that takes the diner by surprise.
All-in-all, AKIBA has had early success for a reason. There’s an energy that runs through the venue, touching everything from the food, to the drinks to the service. It’s fun, flexible and fast, leaving everyone with a great sense of fulfilment. As the staff swirl around you, it’s hard not to get caught up in all energy and excitement…
And that’s the way we like it!