Black is still the new black, at least it is at the new “cool” space, Akira Back, designed by Studio Munge in the new Bisha Hotel at 80 Blue Jays Way in Toronto. Located on the second floor of the hotel, the 140 seat space incorporates black tables, chairs, lights, dishes, dim ambiance and black uniforms, with gold accents throughout the room, and a stunning curved, watercolour painted ceiling, a six-seat sushi bar, and a cocktail bar. Take the elevator from the hotel or walk up the gilded staircase.
Michelin-starred Chef Akira, was born in Seoul Korea, before moving to Japan and then the States. Thus you will see influences on his menu of Japanese cuisine with Korean flavours, plus one or two Canadian twists. The chef’s actual name was Sung Ook Back. A family friend gave him the name Akira, Ook translates to Akira in Chinese.
The chef has restaurants located in the US, Singapore, India, Jakarta and Seoul. This is his first venture in Canada and was acquired by owner Charles Khabouth, and Hanif Hanji for their hotel. He is the executive consulting chef, but the kitchen is actually run by head Chef Sung Won Hwang and sushi Chef Kihyun Kim.
The overall experience was good, although the acoustics are not great, and the place gets very noisy between the music and loud conversations. But each plate was prepared in a creative fashion and was pleasing to the eye. The food isn’t traditional but more modern, unique and quite interesting fusion food.
Some of the signature dishes are the thinly sliced tuna pizza on a baked tortilla, drizzled with truffle oil and sea salt. Another is the wagyu beef tacos, tasty, but a bit salty. An interesting roll is the “brother from another mother” featuring two kinds of eel and topped with foie gras.
The chefs “Canadian” roll is his crispy rice, topped with seared tuna, and ketchup powder, a riff on ketchup chips, with ketchup ponzu and pearl onion rings.
The bar offers premium sakes, spirits, beers, wines and 8 house craft cocktails.
The place has a stylish, sexy, trendy, and cool vibe. If you value attentive, smart service in a sophisticated setting with playful and tasty food, I think you will enjoy Akira Back.