New Japanese restaurant Akari wows the CBD lunch crowd with its bento boxes.
Contributed By Annabelle Low
Nestled between the gleaming new façade of the corporate jungle that is the Marina Bay Financial Centre and the Marina Bay Link Mall is Tomo Izakaya’s newest venture, Akari. The interior is artfully decorated, oozing a chilled out ambience that will definitely sit well with the corporate clientele at its doorstep.
A quick glance through its a la carte menu throws up Japanese staples comprising appetizers, salads, sushi, sashimi, as well as braised, grilled and deep-fried items, rice, noodles, soups and desserts. However, adventurous palates will not be left wanting—head chef Patrick Png, a Japanese-trained Singaporean, likes to put his personal interpretation on his dishes.
Already, Akari has already garnered a cult following for its signature lunch bento boxes (S$30 to S$50). The Aya (S$38, without sashimi) and the Miyabi ($48, with sashimi) bento boxes, comprising flavored rice, soup, an appetizer and three dishes, aren’t exactly priced for your daily lunch fare, but for those who want a quality Japanese dining experience without footing a hefty bill or leaving their office, the bento boxes are good bets—they are also fantastic choices for office birthday parties or celebrations. The set meal menu (S$16 to S$55) offers a main dish such as tempura and tonkatsu, appetizers, rice and miso soup. There are 14 sets to choose from.
The Shishamo Arare Age An-Kake (S$14), comprising flavorful smelt fish coated with Japanese rice, deep-fried to a crisp and served with yuzu sauce, is a must-try.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF AKARI
The Soki Tatsuta Age (S$24), a deep-fried, simmered soft rib-bone pork which melts in the mouth with each flavorful bite, is also recommended. One of the more unusual appetizers on the menu is the Mozuku Tororo Ikura, a gooey seaweed with a nevertheless refreshing, albeit an acquired taste.
We like the little touches too. For example, the takikomi gohan (flavored rice), steamed together with seasonal ingredients such as lily bulb, perilla leaf, mushrooms, sweet potato, soy bean, bean curd, ginkgo nut, water chestnut and bonito flakes, is so wholesome and flavorful that it makes one think of home.
Says owner Andrew Tan, “The majority of Japanese restaurants in Singapore fall under the family and fine dining category. What is missing is the concept of fine Japanese food prepared with great skill that does not cost an arm and leg. At Akari, we present a more refined selection of Japanese food using authentic Japanese ingredients.”
Marina Bay Link Mall
8A Marina Boulevard #01-02
+65 6634 0100