The place, which I'm about to describe in details, is very very new in Jakarta. At the time this post goes live, it has only been open to public for 1 night, so my advise is, to use this post not as an exhaustive reference, but more as a teaser of what you might experience at the time of your visit.
|Akira Back's must-order item: Tuna Pizza|
Akira Back's debut in Indonesia, is made possible by Manoj Punjabi, movie producer and owner of MD Corp (MD Entertainment, MD Pictures), as well as his distinguished business partners Reino Barack and Rudi Widjaja. So it is only natural, that Akira Back is located at MD Place building, a newly minted entertainment and business tower, which belongs to MD Corp group.
About Chef Akira Back
Akira Back is a Korean-born, USA-bred Chef who actually started his early career not in the kitchen, but in the professional snowboarding world. His drastic decision to get serious in the kitchen were met with a barrage of opportunities, praises and awards, especially with his most recent, illustrious career with the Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge at the posh Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Hollywood celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Fergie were just few examples of the kind of Chef Akira's customers.
I did not chat much with Chef Akira, as he seemed to be on edge, preparing for the private dinner for the shareholders and their relatives. Apart from his composed exterior, a stranger like me would probably think that he is quite flashy, based on the chunky golden watch that wraps around his left wrist. This is quite a rare sight for chefs who get their hand dirty in the kitchen, like what he was doing when I snapped the photos: twirling beetroot skins to make as garnish. Such a mundane and seemingly unsignificant task, which I didn't expect he would do it himself.
To see full bio of Chef Akira, click here.
Chef Akira has flown all the way from The States to Jakarta for only a few days 8 - 10 May and his schedule is already packed with media interviews, handling the kitchen staff and handing over to the Executive Chef Andri, who will head Akira Back Jakarta once Chef Akira returns to USA. Chef Andri is an Indonesian, but has lived and worked with Chef Akira for many years in the US.
|Chef Akira prepped these beetroot skins for garnish to be served at dinner|
MD Place is a building, which was open, also quite recently and is strategically located (close to the Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta), accessible via Kuningan or Sudirman and close to media and office buildings. Since it is located on the 'Penthouse' level, which is basically the top most floor (12th floor) of MD Place, Akira Back Jakarta offers unobstructed view of downtown Jakarta.
The first thing that greets the guests is the massive layers of wooden panels with 'Akira Back' illuminated sign, which also separates the left wing (bar, lounge, waiting area) and the right wing (restaurant, private rooms). The entire restaurant is decorated with mostly wooden elements, dark and wooden colours as well as hexagon shape (as seen from the wooden panels and the wine rack inside the see-through wine storage).
|Akira Back, the right wing, or the restaurant side|
|Akira Back, the left wing, where the bar and access to the VIP room is|
The current menu is not finalized yet. During the soft opening period, available to the guests are the Soups, Greens, Cold Shared, Hot Shared, Sushi Rolls and Mains. Prices range is quite extreme, from IDR 35,000 (for Soup) up to IDR 700,000 (for Mains), which is roughly similar to the prices at restaurants in 5 star hotels in Jakarta. Also, there's no dessert yet and the drinks are not as extensive as it should be, but everything is on progress I believe.
The menu is rooted in Japanese dishes, with Korean influences and slew from other countries. So this is not your typical traditional Japanese sushi restaurant. Many items piqued my curiosity, which I'd love to try when I come back again, these are:
- Filet Mignon Tobanyaki IDR 400,000 (with mixed mushrooms & umami sauce)
- Chunky Monkey Rolls IDR 110,000 (sushi with unagi, cucumber & banana brulee)
|Left: Sweet iced tea with basil seeds|
Akira's Tacos (Hot Shared) - wagyu galbi, spicy tomato ponzu, crispy taco.
Crispy tacos, served with juicy minced wagyu galbi and topped with tomato ponzu sauce. This appetizer treats our senses with the brilliant combination of various textures: crispy and tender, yet juicy and dry at the same go. The wagyu kalbi, tasted just perfect, tender, juicy & umami, I'm sorry, my limited adjectives collection is not doing justice to the dish. Only the taste buds can really show you what I mean.
|Akira's Tacos - wagyu galbi, spicy tomato ponzu, crispy taco IDR 155,000 (5 pcs)|
King Crab Dynamite (Hot Shared) - sweet corn, shimeji, togarashi mayo.
This dish reminds me of sweet butter corn cups, but think of this as the super lavish version. A piece of king crab tempura, buried among rich buttery sweet corn, sauteed shimeji and topped with unbelievably rich and umami togarashi mayo. Never imagined such a simple dish could taste so good!
|King Crab Dynamite - sweet corn, shimeji, togarashi mayo IDR 195,000|
Tuna Pizza (Cold Shared) - ponzu mayo, shiso, truffle oil.
Each serving of pizza is cut into 8 even slices, so it is good for sharing, although I would actually prefer not to share, because it taste just too amazing and so light, I could finish it and still ask for main course. The pizza dough tasted more like crispy, compacted pastry, topped with light ponzu mayo, a layer of tuna sashimi and lastly topped with truffle oil. The truffle oil makes all the difference! I mean it would still taste amazing without, but the truffle oil kicked everything up a notch.
|Tuna Pizza - ponzu mayo, shiso, truffle oil IDR 145,000|
|Tuna Pizza, unveiled, I was curious about what's between the tuna and the pizza|
|Horenso Shira Ae (horenso spinach, sesame sauce & rayu) IDR 75,000|
|Crispy Galbi Rolls IDR 195,000 (sushi with Korean braised short rib & coleslaw)|
48 Hr Wagyu Short Rib, with baby root veggies & quail egg
Deliciously juicy and tender beef rib chunks, bathed in its sauce, this dish is unbelievably good! If I were to pick my 'last meal', this has got to be one of the food on my list!
|48 Hr Wagyu Short Rib IDR 450,000|
|AB Chocolate Bar (Valrhona Gianduja bar served with Espresso Anglaise sauce)|
I'm not sure if it was just me, or if I was starving when I went (I don't think I was!), or if I was plain lucky to pick the 'right' dishes for myself, but somehow all the three dishes that I tried, each and every one of them hit my taste buds in the right places. If I were to make a conclusion based on this experience only, Akira Back is one of my favourite place for sumptuous food. However, as I have not tried any of the Main Course and there's no Dessert on the menu yet, the jury is still out. I hope when I return in a few months, things would have stabilized and the menu finally minted.
Just for your information, the restaurant is already fully reserved at least until this Sunday, 11 May 2014. Currently, Akira Back is only open for dinner, I hope that it will soon be open for lunch as well.
*) Prices are subject to Service Charge & Tax.
Akira Back Jakarta
MD Place Building, Penthouse / Level 12 (click for the location map)
JL. Setiabudi Selatan No. 7
Setiabudi - South Jakarta
Ph: +6221 29040777 / +62857 7778 8777
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