Friday, November 16, 2018

Akira Back @ JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach - More Reasons To Revisit With 6 New Defining Dishes


Akira Back at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach has recently revamped their menu, featuring six new dishes in addition to their signatures.

AB Pizza Tuna 3.5/5

AB Pizza Tuna ($26) is one of the mainstayers. With the crust about perhaps only 2mm, it is a bonus for those on a low-carb diet. As thin as the tuna slices might look, its luscious fatty texture tasted full in the mouth and even more so against its thin crisp crust. The tangy and creamy aioli brought this two ingredients in harmony but I thought less of it might be more ideal.

Soul Mate 4.2/5

I personally much prefer the Soul Mate ($36) which to me is like a Japanese style bruschetta. I'm not sure why the name, perhaps of the fact that the crunchy and sweet amaebi is just so compatible with the creamy and briny uni. This bite size bruschetta might be tiny but it tasted full and rich in the mouth. The savoury tosa jelly was an interesting key to elevate the profile of the dish.

Crispy Tofu 4/5

What was even more surprising, is this Crispy Tofu ($25). It islike a dry Agedashi Tofu but with skin twice the chewiness. It is very tasty with a thin layer of flavourful kochujang soy. There is also an interesting touch of finger lime for extra texture.

Roasted Mushroom 3.5/5

If you are not aware, Akira Back has a Vegetarian menu as well, offering dishes such as this Roasted Mushroom ($22). Nothing too dynamic but a crowd pleasing flavour of bulgogi that worked well with the earthy mushrooms. I like the hint of smokiness that came with it which made it quite addictive.

Yukhoe 3/5

Yukhoe ($45) is a sophisticated dish with “tajima” wagyu striploin, presented like Maki using nashi as the wrap. I believe I would have loved it should there be less of the sesame oil to mess with it.

48 Hrs “Sanchoku” Short Rib 4/5

There are reasons why 48 Hrs “Sanchoku” Short Rib ($48) is a long standing favourite. Rich but clean on the palate, all it needed was its own braising jus as accompaniment to bring out its profile.

Shisho Seabass 3/5

Simply lemongrass broth and shiso oroshi atop the fish, Shisho Seabass ($36) was a very elegant dish, be it its plating or taste. But if you are here at Akira Back, go for something that is more intriguing.

King Crab Fried Rice 4.2/5

King Crab Fried Rice ($19) was actually one of my favourite dishes of the evening. There is so much textural play and flavours to this dish - the chopped crunchy vegetables, grainy rice pearls, pulpy crab roes all act together to bring out the texture and sweetness of the king crab. If your appetite is somewhat affected by a long day, this would be the dish to go for. Simple but hundred percent comforting.

Christmas Bell 3.5/5

Dessert of the day was Christmas Bell, which is the special for this festive season. Break the bell to unravel the layers within - chocolaty in nature, with pineapple compote to balance the sweetness.


The new dishes still pretty much align with their identity, so if you are a fan of such modern Japanese cuisine with Korean accents, their new menu will entice you the same.

Photos and words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.

Akira Back
JW Marriott Singapore South Beach
30 Beach Road
Level B1M
Singapore 189763
Tel: +65 68181914
Nearest MRT: Esplanade (CC Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 1030pm

1) Alight at Esplanade MRT station. Take Exit F. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Botanic @ Raffles City Shopping Centre - Reincarnation Of Salt Tapas & Bar


The Botanic at Raffles City Shopping Centre is an reincarnation of Salt tapas & bar, with a new focus on plant-based dining and eco-conscious wines. Helming this new concept is Group Executive Chef Shannon Binnie, whose Australian culinary culture and travel experiences in Asia form the main forces behind the nature-inspired menu. Alongside free-range, organic meat and seafood offerings, there is an equivalent number of plant-based dishes with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free plates.

The Botanic 2.5/5, Caffeine Fix 3/5, Guacamole 3/5

Our pre-meal drinks were The Botanic ($18) and Caffeine Fix ($22). Their signature The Botanic is concocted with house infused gin combined with lemongrass, fresh basil and lime juice. Shaken with egg white to give it its foamy body, instead of refreshing the palate, it was too raw for our liking. The latter was also rather average. Guacamole ($14) being our first starter was quite disappointing to see the creamy guacamole being spread thinly on the plate, as if to make up for the small portion.

Grilled Haloumi 3.8/5

Things started to pick up with our second appertiser, Grilled Haloumi ($22). Dust with sumac powder, the combination of its salty sweet taste and the tomato reminded me of the addictive Taiwanese cherry tomatoes stuffed with preserved plum in between. Unusual but the sweet and juicy watermelon worked harmoniously with the savoury haloumi.

Smoked Sambal Short Rib 4/5

Unforgettable was the Smoked Sambal Short Rib ($39) with flavours inspired by Chef Binnie’s travels to Indonesia but cooked with the classic American smokehouse techniques. What resulted was a smokey sweet meat that fell apart easily with a slight tug. The caramelised shallots elevated its smokey sweetness, which was balanced by the sharp horseradish and roasted padron peppers.

Grilled Cape Grim Pasture-fed Sirloin 3.5/5

I like the clean look of Grilled Cape Grim Pasture-fed Sirloin ($42). Meant to be gluten free, hence only roasted onion and slow cooked tomato are served as sides. The meat itself was flavorful but more of the chimichurri would make it even more enjoyable.

Baklava 3.8/5

Our desserts are quite different in terms of their origins but both were equally delightful. The Mediterranean Baklava ($14) stood out with the very distinctive fragrance and flavour of leatherwood honey, bringing me back to Tasmania instantly.

Chendol Pavlova 3.8/5

The Chendol Pavlova ($12) impressed me with its vegan version of an eggless meringue made from chickpeas with coconut cream, albeit a little too sweet. But the rest of the components were well put together to represent that authentic chendol flavour- the jackfruit granita, harum manis mango and salted gula melaka just shout chendol in every way.


Such focus on plant-based dining is not new but The Botanic's way of presentation is different. The dishes are not grouped under starters and mains but into four main category - Vegan, vegetarian, fish and meats. A huge deviation from Salt tapas & bar but hopefully you will enjoy it just as much.

Photos and words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.

The Botanic
Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road
Singapore 179103
Tel: +65 68370995
Nearest MRT: City Hall (EW Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 12pm - 11pm

1) Alight at City Hall MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]


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