Akari Japanese Dining & Bar (Akari) is a modern-style Japanese restaurant located in the heart of the Marina Bay Financial Centre conjuring a relaxed and comfortable setting to get diners in the mood for quality fare such as its refined set meals and wide a la carte offerings of Japanese specialities from the sushi, sashimi, braised, grilled and deep-fried menu at mid-market prices.
Overseeing the culinary direction is the renowned Japanese Chef Hirotaka Murata, possessing over 20 years of culinary experience with a specialty in Kaiseki, he places emphasis on the presentation of his dishes. Kaiseki itself is a traditional multi-course Japanese meal and should not be mistakenly interpreted as Omakase, which means “I Leave It To You” in Japanese where customers entrust the chef to decide what to serve and the menu is not fixed. Kaiseki, however is a traditional dining with a set course of fixed items served with rigorous attention to detail. In short, Kaiseki is the same as haute Western cuisine.
The newly introduced Kaiseki menu conceptualised by Chef Murata consists of ten courses, prepared with five fundamental methods of cooking such as steaming, simmering, frying, grilling and raw. Because of the emphasis on quality ingredients and freshness of seasonal items, Akari Japanese Dining & Bar imports fresh quality seafood directly from Tsukiji market in Japan at least twice weekly. You can experience the sophisticated Kaiseki dinner at a reasonable price of $100/person or $150/person both involving multiple course servings of seasonally-inspired dishes.
Starting off with the $150 Springtime menu, the first Japanese starter served was a Hiroshima oyster steamed Chawanmushi (egg) with Aonori seaweed and fresh uni (sea urchin). The steamed savoury custard has the sweetest aroma of eggs and complemented beautifully with the bold flavours of the uni which was absolutely gold.
The second appetiser is a display of delicate art and precise culinary techniques, featuring an Anago Sushi (Sea Eel), Braised Baby Turban Shell with basil miso, Smelt fish with Wasabu vinegar, Grilled vegetables with miso, Grilled belt fish with yuzu flavour and lastly Roast duck with spiced egg yolk.
A thinly sliced snapper encasing minced snapper fish meat, slightly torched makes up the clear soup dish and dressed with bamboo shoots, carrots and kinome (Japanese mountain herb) leaves. The soup also worked as a palate cleanser and gets you prepared to experience delicate flavours in the next course.
The raw sashimi platter include the fresh farmed toro (Japanese blue fin tuna), 2 kinds of white meat (fish) and a spot prawn that is known around the world for its sweet, delicate flavour and firm texture. The sashimi were thinly sliced and artfully arranged with the edible sakura leaves to be enjoyed.
The grill section features a plate of fine Wagyu (Japanese beef A4 grade) lightly grilled to medium rare and slapped on with long-simmered house-made thick sauce. I have no doubts about the beef as it was tender and juicy, but I think it will be a good strategy to go without the sauce as it was deeply amber and sweet, it may over-compliment a good cut of meat.
Basking nicely in an open pool of Japanese broth is a steamed Abalon turnip topped with cooked snapper eggs and Japanese mustard leaves, which is halfway through the ten-course meal.
If you love prawns, you will definitely enjoy this fried dish of minced prawn ball stuffed with sakura ebi for the sweet flavours. The very obvious ingredients placed on top of the prawn ball were grated radish, Japanese pepper and wasabi.
Vinegar is widely used in Japanese cuisine as a refreshing dressing which is seen in the above vinegar-based dish of Salmon wrapped in sliced radish with strawberry-vinegar sauce and steamed baby squid with yuzu sauce.
The last two course before dessert is the staple of the Japanese table featuring the Hokkaido scallop rice bowl and Aka (Red) Miso soup (not in photo) which is a longer-fermented miso and has a more assertive flavor than its cousins, the white (Shiro) or yellow (Shinshu) miso.
Everyone loves how the Japanese present their food, and it is not difficult to find a fancy looking homemade pudding (custard) cutely packaged in an egg shell and served with black sesame mochi on the side. The custard was dense and a little too sweet to my liking, but what took me away by surprise was the plum sauce black sesame mochi which worked its magic to balance the sweetness, it was so soft that it practically melted in my mouth.
Akari Special Dinner Menu (Kaiseki – Spring*)
- Starter: Steamed Egg with Oyster
- Appetiser: Eel Sushi, Smelt Fish, Belt Fish, Turban Shell, Vegetables, Roast Duck
- Soup 1: Minced Snapper Soup
- Raw: Sashimi
- Grill: Wagyu Beef
- Steam: Turnip with Snapper Egg
- Fry: Deep Fried Minced Prawn
- Vinegar: Salmon and Baby Squid
- Rice: Hokkaido Scallop Rice
- Soup 2: Red miso Soup
- Dessert: Milk Pudding and Black Sesame Mochi
Kaiseki is often at the upper end of the scale in Japanese dining, however Akari Japanese Dining & Bar is making its debut with a down-to-earth Kaiseki menu and reasonable pricing which gives gourmands more chances of returning to the restaurant for a spellbinding experience.
Private Kaiseki Special Dining Night
On every 1st and 4th Saturday of the month, Akari Japanese Dining & Bar offers an exclusive reservation-only Kaiseki dinner at $200/person which features premium seasonal items off the menu. The $250/person pricing will include sake pairing.
8A, Marina Boulevard,
Marina Bay Financial Centre,
Ground Plaza, #01-02, Singapore 018984
Telephone: (+65) 6634 0100
Lunch 12:00pm – 2:30pm (Last order : 2.00pm)
Dinner 5:00pm – 10:00pm (Last order : 9:30pm)