Thursday, July 19, 2007

Review: Akashi

Whoop! My favourite place to bring French people who've never eaten Japanese food. This place is the MacDonalds of Singapore's Japanese restaurants- quick turnover, cheery if slightly abrupt service and consistent food quality.

Mervyn, one of the brothers who runs this chain of restaurants, will tell you, as he repeats to me, Every Single Time I've Been, that all this means that the fish is fresh and yes, it generally is.

More importantly, the dishes are consistent, the service is generally fairly prompt and the prices are moderate. The flagship is at the basement of Tanglin Shopping Center while the branches are in Paragon, City Link Mall and Vivo City. Should you wish to go to the flagship on a Friday or a weekend, you should definitely call ahead to book. This is the line headed out the door when I arrived.

The best place to sit, especially with a visitor, is at the bar. Mervyn can make you a bunch of specials and your visitor can watch the chefs at work. Today, I wasn't particularly hungry so I ordered some rolls and sashimi.

This is the inside-out tempura roll and the salmon skin handroll.

The sets are not bad, if a little generic (yes, they come with that slice of watermelon), this is the sashimi and cold zaru soba set. The green tea noodles are really refreshing and come with a cute trio of chives, wasabi and a quail's egg to crack into the dipping sauce.

If I could make one complaint about Akashi and it's not that strong a complaint that I would never go's that the prices are more than a little steeper than what they were. It used to be quite a joy to come here, especially for lunch, where they had cheaper prices but this time, the bill was almost what we would have paid at Yoshida (which has an incomparable atmosphere).

Also, this place used to be the casual but nice-dinner haunt of Hokkien-speaking locals with mustaches, drinking beer, in blue worker shirts with pens sticking out the pockets. Now, half the restaurant were poshy expats, with their thick European accents and their unfriendly, elderly parents in tow. Isn't anything sacrosanct anymore?

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