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AKIRA BACK REVIEW - DXB FOOD DIARIES


One of the hottest new restaurant openings this year is the eponymous Akira Back at W Dubai on The Palm – not least because you enter the restaurant through a glowing blue vortex like you’re infiltrating some kind of futuristic food fantasyland.

This is high-end modern Japanese dining at its best, with a creative menu devised by Korean chef and former professional snowboarder, Akira Back, who has a Michelin-starred restaurant in Seoul and an innate talent for pairing the most unexpected ingredients.

Thought you’d never find Rice Krispies on your plate at a fine dining restaurant? Think again. Scallops with kimchi, bacon and cheese? It works. The chefs at Akira Back fuse Japanese, Korean and American influences with the highest quality ingredients to create intriguing dishes that know no bounds.

One of Akira Back’s signatures is the Tuna Pizza which you’ll find at his many restaurants around the world. Imagine fresh tuna carpaccio scented with white truffle oil, atop a layer of creamy umami aioli and a crisp light-as air flour tortilla. It also happens to be a favourite of Akira’s mother, so it’s befitting that, as you devour the pizza, her artwork is revealed on the plate.

The Wagyu-don is literally the most indulgent fried rice you’ll find, tossed in truffle jus with fois gras, caviar, uni, and wagyu ribeye cap. Add a custardy, soft-boiled egg, slow-cooked in water the temperature of a Japanese hot spring, and you have the ultimate upmarket comfort food.

I love a good steak and the Kiwami Ribeye 9+ is amongst the best. You get 300 grams of seriously marbled, award-winning Australian wagyu beef topped with pickled wasabi root, which is completely different in texture and flavour to the nose-clearingly pungent fluorescent green paste that most people know as wasabi. Enjoy it with the spicy-sweet, kimchi-glazed Brussels Sprouts topped with Rice Krispies for an utterly satisfying combination.

Another favourite is the Scallops in Half Shell, two perfectly cooked scallops in an unconventional sauce of veal bacon fried with kimchi in a Korean chili paste butter, finished with cream, Parmigianno-Reggiano and chives. Each succulent scallop is cut into four bite-sized morsels so you can truly savour each and every bite.

The food at Akira Back is addictive and everything we eat makes us want more – from the Jeju Domi (red snapper filled with marinated fish roe) to the Hirame Carpaccio (flounder with a nanbanzu dressing) to the Grilled Octopus (with smoked potato puree, chipotle miso and salsa verde) to the fluffy and ever-so-chewy Butter Mochi Cake, which we have for dessert.

Despite the neon-lit entrance, the interiors are far more subdued with only a splash of colour, again from the artwork of Akira’s mother. The presentation is unpretentious, the servers are knowledgeable, and you can tell that the true focus here is on the food.

Their stunning terrace is another story with its glitzy pink accents, floating bar, panoramic views and Korean-inspired crane artwork. For the perfect evening out, make sure you spend time at both.


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