Last Updated: October 17, 2017
Avo toast, been there. Eggs Benny, done that. Cookie-cutter brunches can be found all over the city, and to be honest, we’re getting a little listless.
Fortunately for us weekend warriors, Akira Back at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore has got our back, with a brand new Japanese weekend brunch that’s worth getting out of bed for.
Akira Back made waves in the food scene when it surfaced earlier this year, bringing to the forefront modern Japanese dining with hints of Korean fare. And now, the eponymous restaurant of the world-renowned chef is ushering in yet another deluge of hype with this new feast.
For $98++, you’ll get a three-course brunch with four mains and two desserts to choose from. But if you thought that price tag isn’t justified, wait for it… it also entitles you to free-flow seafood and vegetable tempura, and a myriad of Japanese rolls. If you’ve always wondered how many pieces of ebi tempura you can wolf down in one sitting, this is where you’ll find out.
But before we get to the free-flow specialties, it would be remiss of us not to introduce the fixed dishes you’ll be presented with.
One of Akira Back’s signatures is its Tuna Pizza, and lucky for you, this is part of the brunch menu. You can also request for the Mushroom Pizza, if you’re vegetarian.
The crust was pleasantly thin and crispy, so you won’t have to worry about being full too early. The slices of tuna are evenly laid flat across the surface of the pizza, almost looking like tuna carpaccio at first glance.
These are then drizzled with a dash of truffle oil; this, combined with the subtle saltiness of the tuna, made for a light yet intense way to kick-start our meal.
From here, you choose from four different mains: the Hamachi Kama, Chirashi Donburi, Spring Chicken, or Porterhouse (+$20) that feeds two diners.
Let’s run though each of them, shall we?
I will start with what’s hands-down my favourite, the Hamachi Kama. The collar of the yellowtail was delicately grilled and perfectly seasoned — I could easily see myself munching on this in an izakaya in Kabukicho.
While served with a lightly tossed mesclun mix and a tangy ginger balsamic dressing, this crispy and juicy collar was good enough to be eaten on its own.
If you’re devoted to steaks, the Porterhouse should be next on your list. Beautifully pink on the inside, and seasoned generously with a sweet-savoury coffee rub on the outside, this Porterhouse was absolutely tender and tantalising.
This also comes with a black garlic bordelaise that you can pour onto your steak — I was more than happy to gobble this up without it — and parmesan baby corn that had a sweet and buttery taste.
Though it feeds two, it’s likely that you’ll be butting heads with your fellow diner over the last piece. No pai seh piece here.
You’ll hardly find Japanese restaurants serving Spring Chicken, but Akira Back introduces it to the fray with culinary aplomb. The standout ingredient here was the yuzu kosho glaze that gave the chicken a citrus-y and slightly spicy zing. Definitely an unorthodox combination worth trying.
Finally, the most conventional main you can select is also one that Akira Back does brilliantly, the Chirashi Donburi. There is, however, one twist to this dish: instead of sushi rice, furikake brown rice is used instead.
If you’re no stranger to chirashi, you should already know what to expect. And I must say, the sashimi slices (including salmon, tuna, and yellowtail) here come in fresh, fatty chunks that were almost as divine as the ones I had in Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. No, I’m not exaggerating.
When you think of sushi, you can’t help but think of rolls as well; and as I said earlier, you get a free-flow serving of them here.
All-you-can-eat rolls include small Hosomaki Rolls — bite-sized treats stuffed with tuna, cucumber, tamago, and avocado.
Korean-inspired rolls (AKA Kimbap) also make an appearance at Akira Back. These are cut thinly and wrapped around simple ingredients such as crabmeat, cucumber, and tamago. Pretty basic, frankly speaking.
But it’s the Uramaki Rolls that showcase Akira Back’s creativity. Particularly, the Godzilla Roll will appease brunch-goers with its use of avocado and strawberries.
Though personally, it was the Red Dragon Rolls that caught my attention. These prawn-stuffed rolls had some potent heat from the spicy tuna topping, perfect for snapping you out of that post-party hangover.
Admittedly, I have high standards for tempura, and I must confess that nothing on the tempura selection blew me away. But that said, the variety you get (free-flow, at that) is quite staggering.
Shrimp, squid, white fish, anago (eel) and soft-shell crab are all part of the seafood selection.
Likewise, the vegetable tempura platter saw a generous medley of enoki mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, eggplant, shiso leaf, onion, and sweet potato.
The Akira Back weekend brunch also lets you pick from one of two desserts. Fortunately, I got to try them both.
For chocoholics, I’ll vouch for the Pillow: a sweet, soft dessert of Earl Grey and white chocolate mousse. This is complemented with a dollop of chocolate ice cream. This isn’t a molten lava kind of dessert, so don’t expect any ooze-worthy Boomerangs. But hey, you’re here to eat, right?
The one I prefer, however, is the AB Cheesecake, that comes in the shape of a Japanese peach.
Despite its appearance, this isn’t a peach dessert. If anything, it’s a reinterpreted tofu cheesecake filled with rich cream cheese. Pair this with the refreshing coconut lime sorbet, and you’ll forget how full you were from this buffet.
In a scene saturated with blase brunches, Akira Back truly revitalises the weekend dining experience with Japanese classics, without compromising on its signature flair that’s made Chef Akira a household name through the years.
Still think the weekend is for sleeping in? You need to make haste for this brunch right away.
Dates & Time: Saturday & Sunday, 12pm – 3pm
Expected damage: $98++ per pax
*This post was written in partnership with JW Marriott Hotel Singapore.