There are so many things to like about Japanese cuisine! From hearty ramen to exciting omakase surprises, I love them all! My latest indulgence was a wondrous Kaiseki dining experience at Akari Japanese Dining Bar.
This is the first time ever that Akari introduces kaiseki set to their dinner repertoire of over 70 items, buoyed by the addition of Chef Hirotaka Murata from Tokyo who has more than 20 years of culinary experience under his belt.
Kaiseki? Okay, before I go on and on and you start wondering what kaiseki is all about, it is a form of traditional Japanese dining featuring a multi-course meal of dishes prepared with meticulous attention to detail.
It often emphasize the use of fresh seasonal ingredients, and showcase the chef's skill and techniques in all five fundamental methods of cooking (steamed, simmered, fried, grilled and raw). While an omakase "I'd leave it to you" meal is left to the chef's judgement on what each individual might like, a kaiseki dinner seldom deviate from the planned menu which often has a seasonal theme to it.
And it is with the lovely season of Spring that Akari had us on a blossoming start with dishes such as Chawanmushi, a velvety smooth steamed egg custard topped with uni (sea urchin), pickled sakura (cherry blossom flower) and a pinch of wasabi (grated horseradish) providing an invigorating jolt to the senses. Surprising us all as we dug further into the tea bowl was a well-hidden oyster. So plump, so sweet, so oishii (delicious)!
I was much impressed by the exquisiteness of the Appetizers platter, beautifully arranged and garnished like an edible garden. Not just visually appealing, it brought forth a sense of joy as I relished in the delectable flavors of each component including the anago sushi, smelt fish baby turban shell, roast duck and grill belt fish. Even a simple skewer of grilled vegetable burst with brightness!
Though the Clear Soup showed up looking really clear like water, it packed a loadful of aromatic flavors with a lingering smokiness, yet was light enough to cleanse the palate. This delightful broth made a timely entry to prepare us for the upcoming courses. Sliced snapper curled into a ball and stuffed with minced snapper sat elegantly within it.
The assortment of Sashimi with supplies specially procured from the famed Tsukiji market in Japan also delighted the whole table with its freshness. Even I who is not exactly a fan of raw delicacies was enamored by the spot prawn for its sweet, delicate flavor.
Thrilling us immensely too was the Wagyu Beef, perfectly grilled to an utmost tenderness and succulent texture. The accompanying brown sauce was a tad too overwhelming though, perhaps it would be more appropriate to serve it by the side for those who prefer the au naturel taste of beef.
Dishes like Simmered Snapper Egg, Deep-Fried Minced Prawn, Baby Squid, Hokkaido Scallop Rice paired with Red Miso Soup soon followed in scrumptious succession, before we ended the evening with dessert of Homemade Milk Pudding served in a dainty eggshell, as well as soft, chewy Black Sesame Mochi.
I was totally relishing in the whole kaiseki experience.
Akari is offering two kaiseki set courses choices, priced at $100++ and $150++ per person respectively. The dishes you see in the pictures here are from the $150++ menu and includes:-
- Starter: Chawanmushi ~ Japanese Steam Egg with Oyster
- Appetizer: Anago Sushi, Baby Turban Shell with Basil Miso, Smelt Fish with Wasabu Vinegar, Grilled Vegetable with Miso, Grilled Belt Fish with Yuzu Flavor, Roast Duck with Spice Egg Yolk
- Soup 1: Clear Soup with Minced Snapper, Bamboo Shoot, Carrot and Japanese Mountain Leaves
- Sashimi: Japanese Blue Fin Tuna Toro, 2 kind of White Meat Fish, Spot Prawn
- Grill: Grilled Wagyu Beef
- Steamed: Simmered Snapper Egg , Steamed Abalone, Turnip, Sakura Starch
- Deep Fry: Deep-fried Minced Prawn
- Vinagared: Salmon and Baby Squid
- Rice: Hokkaido Scallop Rice
- Soup 2: Red Miso Soup
- Dessert: Homemade Milk Pudding with Black Sesame Mochi
On every 1st and 4th Saturday of the month, Akari will also organize a private kaiseki dinner (strictly on reservation basis) at $200++ per person (without sake pairing) and $250++ per person (with sake pairing).
Akari Japanese Dining Bar
Address: Marina Bay Financial Centre, 8A Marina Boulevard #01-02, Singapore 018984
Contact: +65 6634 0100
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10pm / Closed on Sunday