Think Japanese food and most Indians will automatically think sushi. Yet over the years, the changing palate of Indians has allowed them to experiment with the cuisine in all its glory, and ramen bowls, udon, fine cuts of fish and most expensive beef are now finding favour at top restaurants in the country.
Akira Back, housed in the JW Marriott hotel close to the airport has a heavy lineage to live up to; chef Akira was the executive chef at Nobu in Aspen, and when he went independent, he set up restaurants in Las Vegas and Delhi. Next up is Jakarta.
The dishes are fine, elegant and there is nothing extra, either in texture, flavour or look. The menu relies heavily on imported proteins and local greens and is contemporary and packed with flavour.
Begin with the classic tuna pizza which comes on a fine platter. The bite-size pieces are fresh and bursting with originality. Brushed with truffle oil and slivers of truffle, the ponzu mayo is a clear winner and delicately balances all the other flavours on the plate.
Move on to the yellowtail jalapeno dipped generously in yuzu soy that smacks of citrus and silken soy. Truly delicious.If you are a shrimp fan we would recommend the rock shrimp which one again relies on the acidity of yuzu to cut through the rich clutter on your tongue. The Korean chilli adds the right amount of heat and texture to this dish.
If sushi is your calling, dive straight into Viva Las Vegas, which stuns the mouth and head all at once with the mix of snow crab, asparagus and popping candy. Feel the fizz on your tongue as the sweetness from the candy merges with the Asian flavours of the roll.
The dragon and lobster roll also come highly recommended.
For mains, the organic chicken which is cooked in a sous vide bag to retain its moistness, comes highly recommended. Served with kimchee beans and a potato puree, it is truly art on a plate.
You could also try the lamb chops with roasted baby potatoes or the imported beef on the menu.
End your meal with a ginger crème brulee or the chocolate lava cake with peanut butter powder and vanilla ice cream. A cup of hot green tea adds the final touch to a classic meal.
The service, as expected, is unobtrusive yet attentive and the servers know the menu well. Chef Curt, who has been at the restaurant since its inception, does a fine job of creating authentic flavours in contemporary dishes.
Vegetarians need not fret as there are countless green options on the menu.
BT More recommends: Tuna pizza, Viva Las Vegas sushi roll
Meal for two: Rs 5000 plus taxes (without alcohol)
Reservations: 011 33105187