Restaurant Review: Akiba Dori
Dubai Design District (D3) is a space with various pop-up fashion stores, art installations, galleries and creative studios. Located within this zone, Akiba Dori is a quirky addition to the city’s culinary scene. Inspired by Akihabara in Tokyo, this restaurant takes you to the lively backstreets of Tokyo offering sumptuous modern Japanese food at the same time. Once you enter, you cannot miss the decor with bright neon lights, arcade games, anime characters and signs. The restaurant offers ‘New Wave’ Japanese street food, which can be washed down with the region’s signature beverages.
With plenty to choose from, we started the evening with their Crispy Akiba Rock Shrimps. Dredged in flour batter, fried and then coated with mayo sauce, the Akiba Rock Shrimps were a delectable treat. The crispiness of the shrimps, balanced perfectly with the tangy-spicy mayo sauce, makes it a must-try. Next, we opted for the Akiba Wagyu beef sliders. The flavourful sliders were enjoyable. For the mains, we ordered the Chicken Katsu Curry. An authentic Japanese-style breaded-and-fried chicken, fluffy rice, original coconut sauce, dried seaweed and pickles, this curry was a wholesome and lip-smacking dish. Another staple at a Japanese restaurant is sushi. Their signature Akiba Maki rolls would satisfy any sushi lover. Filled with tempura shrimp, avocado and cucumber, these bites of sushi were crispy, fresh, tasty and thoughtfully rolled.
Having heard a lot about Japanese-Italian fusion pizzas, we decided to try their bestselling pizza. The five cheese Neapolitan pizza was fresh, thin and divine. The base was topped with mascarpone, semi-soft Italian taleggio cheese, 24-month aged parmigiano-reggiano cheese, gorgonzola, smoked provola cheese and basil. What’s also unique is that the pizza is also topped with honey right before it is served. If you are not used to having honey with pizza, you can try putting a bit first and then decide! Baked in a wood-fired oven under 60 seconds, this melt-in-the-mouth pizza was delicious. To end a delightful, Tokyo-inspired culinary journey on a sweet note, we opted for their Lotus cheesecake. A no-bake cheesecake slice with biscoff biscuits as a crumbly base and light-whipped cream swirled on top, you won’t be able to stop eating this addictive dessert.
Taste (4/5): This place is a trendy spot of great Japanese taste. Their menu boasts lots of street food options and Japanese beverages. Their pizza oven is a super-hot, a high-tech Japanese machine that requires a fancy toss of (Japanese) salt before each pizza can go inside. Each dish stands for its distinct taste.
Ambience (5/5): This restaurant is styled like a backstreet alleyway of Tokyo with bright neon lights, anime characters and signs. Known for its themed decor, it oozes a young, energetic and lively vibe. The restaurant can accommodate large groups with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating area.
Service (4/5): The staff was extremely helpful, friendly and efficient, making the overall experience memorable. They gave us the utmost attention when we wanted to know details about each dish served.
Presentation (4/5): The food presentation was very chic, professional and good enough to engage a diner’s senses and draw them into the experience.
Value for money (4/5): A dinner for two here will cost you Dh400 approximately without beverages. For the kind of location, ambience and food, it’s pocket-friendly with dishes like Chicken Katsu curry (Dh61), Pizza (Dh71), starters like Akiba rock shrimp (Dh57) and Akiba sliders (Dh79). Since the festive season is around, Akiba Dori also has their special Japanese Christmas Lunch at Dh99 for four pieces fried chicken, French fries, coleslaw, Hakata cheesecake and a soft beverage. The Christmas lunch will be on from December 15 to December 31.