Chef Akira Back was the first Korean executive chef for a Nobu restaurant. His own brand incorporates influences from his native Korea.
Atmospherics: After waiting so long to open, JW Marriott at Aerocity has spectacular offerings, but Akira Back tops them all. One American and one Korean chef in the open kitchen, ably assisted by local chefs bring out a product that is nouvelle Japanese with a higher chilli quotient. Several dishes have the Korean trademark kochujang and chojang sauces and a few of the dishes are spicy even by Indian standards. The restaurant has two floors, a private dining area, sofas, smart chairs and outdoor seating. The atmosphere is modern and if you find it playful, it’s because Akira Back was a professional snow-boarder and he approaches cuisine with the same frisky bounce. Hence, the shared starters (hot and cold), sushi and rolls and grilled meats and vegetables form the giant’s share of the menu with serious main courses getting a tiny corner.
Table Talk Among the starters, crispy rice – tuna (Rs 1100) is tantalizingly like a sushi. A bed of crisp rice has tangy ponzu mayo atop it, with a square of seared tuna. Shikoku octopus (Rs 900) is like every other dish on the menu: plate presentation is so exquisite that wolfing it down seems criminal. But the interplay of textures, the sauces chosen and the amalgam of flavours are what you come here to enjoy in the first place. Do not miss Akira’s tacos – a cheeky take on the Mexican snack, with oriental overtones. Among the mains, do ask for wasabi pepper tenderloin. At the price – Rs 3000 – it is the cheapest in the city. It is probably an introductory offer because Australian wagyu in comparable restaurants is more than double.
The robatayaki section is the one traditional section. In fact, you can opt to sit at the robata grill and order as many skewers as you like, washed down with beer, the way you can in Japan. The minced chicken is intensely flavourful.
Plus and minus: Only the manager and the expat chefs know the intricacies of the menu. The rest of the staff is affably clueless; the music system has a woefully tinny sound.
Must try: Edamame risotto, grilled eggplant with miso and mozzarella, Hokkaido scallops
Food 4; Service 4; Décor 4
JW Marriott Hotel Aerocity, Asset Area 4, Hospitality District, Aerocity
Tel: 011 45212121
Open from 7 pm to 11.30 pm
Meal for two: Rs 6,000