Review: Akira Back, Delhi (Modern Japanese, Korean)
JW Marriott Hotel, Hospitality District, Aerocity, New Delhi. Ph # +91 11 32647928
Some meals call for a special occasion but for us that never holds true, all we need is some great food and that simply marks any occasion special. So, we the foodie four needed no occasion to take a step inside ‘Akira Back’, the first Indian restaurant by the Korean-American celebrity Chef Akira Back at JW Marriott, Aerocity Delhi.
When Akira Back, a Michelin Star fame for his restaurant the ‘Yellowtail’ at the Bellagio in Vegas, himself decided to set foot in city’s gastronomic space it had to create a stir. Abuzz with the city’s page three personalities this restaurant has sure made its presence strongly felt. An absolutely luxurious, classy, true fine dining experience, it’s actually a leap into a world class contemporary gastronomic experience.
Spanning across two floors, with one reserved private dining room the restaurant is well laid out. A well lit ambiance, wooden panelled floor, spaced out sitting arrangement and an imposing Sake wall, claiming the best collection of Sake in town immediately takes our fancy. Set within the modern, gigantic, exquisite four wall of the newly built JW Marriott in Aerocity, the Akira Back manages to make one feel intimate and warm despite all the high show.
Being a weekend the restaurant was fairly occupied, but still not to its full capacity. Though I had reserved in advance but I guess I can trust my stars’s and just walk in without calling in next time. The service started off with a smile, the knowledge and recommendations with the menu was recommendable.
But then, we found a small stone in one of the dishes and when we brought it to the notice of the staff they offered nothing except apologies. With a restaurant of this repute you expect them to quickly replace the recipe but that did’t happen and since it was just a small stone we did not make a fuss about it expecting that we’d at-least not be billed for it. I was appalled to find the dish included in the bill at the end, quite a turn off that was but the great food soon made us forget about it, though.
The food was a real show stealer, absolutely lipsmacking. Every dish that was served through the evening was spectacular, though we can pick our preferences but not one was less than the other in its flavour, technique, texture and presentation. The food deserved a perfect score.
We started off with a Tuna Pizza, Crispy Rice Tuna and a Black Cod to go along with glasses of Shuaxin on recombination from the attendant. None of the Sake cocktails were available, and hence we settled with the recommended “Shuaxin” but I’d say you can skip that one unless you are okay with a cucumber flavoured cocktail.
The starter, each of them were outstanding, and the Cod was the best we’ve had anywhere in the city so far, and trust me we’ve tried many. The Cod would top the list of recommendations, closely followed by the other two starters. The Tuna pizza is like no other pizza we’ve ever had, it’s a crispy tortilla base topped with fine slices of Tuna, some watercress and a truffle oil drizzle, it is such a refreshing delight that you can’t miss it. The crispy rice tuna with a spicy ponzu aioli was another pate of delicious surprise, truly flavoursome.
The serving size is small, that spared some room for a middle course before we ordered the mains.One has an option of choosing either from the Sushi/ Shashimi section or the Signature rolls, but what caught our attention was the traditional Korean style grill “Robatayaki”. So next to arrive was the Korean Grouper and Tsukune (Minced Chicken), hot and smoking over a small table top Korean Grill. The grills were tender, nicely flavoured, hot, cooked to perfection.
And finally we made it to the mains, with still enough room to fit in two portions of Bi Bim Bab, one fillet and one chicken, followed with the highly recommended Wasabi Tenderloins and Lamb Chops. So, the lamb chops you can avoid for it lacked the adventure like all others so far, it was good but nothing great. The wasabi tenderloins are a must have, absolutely gorgeous and exciting on the palate, you can have it cooked to your liking, we go medium rare. The Bi Bim Babs were both nicely flavoured a perfect balance of delicious sauces, truly Korean and absolutely filling and yet that’s where we hit the low point, remember the stone, it was in one of the Bi Bim Babs.
We gave the desserts a pass for we were already content with the flavours that lingered on the palate even as we walked out the door.
Besides the small glitch it was otherwise a perfect, infact an outstanding dining experience. The best so far this year, the Chef deserves all accolades for bringing some adventurous food to the City’s foodies. The Korean heritage is clearly marked in the flavours, and yet it’s nothing like it. Every dish that’s served on the table reflects the adventure, creativity and the individuality of the Chef.
The bill however could pinch you, its expensive and yet for once one doesn’t mind it for the food that is served makes one forget everything else. But for the records, it was a total of Rs.13916 that we paid towards our meal for 4 with just 2 cocktails.