As you wander the streets of Adliya, it’s hard to miss Akiko – the building stands out, inviting you in with its modern architecture and stunning design. The interior is just as impressive. It’s spacious, boasting clean lines and contemporary Asian-inspired décor but with plenty of character. The wait staff are also welcoming, knowledgeable, professional but, most importantly, very friendly.
We’re given the option of sitting downstairs either in the main dining area or by the teppanyaki or sushi bars, or upstairs in a more lounge-style seating section. There’s also a beautiful garden terrace with plenty of outdoor tables available that’s bound to prove popular in the cooler weather. Suffice to say, we’re excited about this place.
We settle into the comfy couches in the lounge-bar upstairs and peruse the menu. It certainly has the drool factor with a range of appetisers, tempura, robata seafood, meat, vegetables and, of course, plenty of sushi. It’s hard to narrow it down but to start with we decide to share the ‘Maguro no Tataki’, seared tuna with chilli daikon and ponzu sauce, and the ‘Goma Ae to Soyu no Akiko Sarada’, a salad with yuzu miso and Hussein dressing.
The seared tuna is presented exquisitely, each slice spaced across a long rectangular plate, laid on top of the chilli daikon and smothered in the ponzu sauce. Every mouthful is delicious. The tuna is seared perfectly and the sauce is incredible; sweet yet salty with an extra hot kick from the daikon. The dressing on the salad is just as delicious and so when our waitress comes back to check on us a couple of minutes after serving, everything is already gone!
Still chatting about how happy we are that the starters went so well, our mains come flying out. I had ordered the dynamite spider and spicy tuna maki rolls, while my dining companion plumped for the ‘Gyuhire Sumibiyaki Karami Sauce Zuke’, spicy Angus beef tenderloin with sesame, red chilli and sweet soy. The presentation is simple yet elegant, keeping in line with the contemporary style of Akiko. The maki rolls come altogether on one plate, teetering on top of one another with the obligatory wasabi and pickled ginger in between. I dive straight into the soft shell crab roll and am instantly in love. The textures are all perfect with the softness of the sushi rice and a crunch from the crab, while the chilli mayonnaise and wasabi tobiko provide a nice amount of heat. The tuna rolls are equally tasty with a dollop more chilli mayonnaise, accompanied by yuzu tobiko and jalapeno (yet, oddly, it doesn’t have as much of a kick as the spider rolls).
Across the table, my dining companion has gone quiet and so I quiz him on the dish. Turns out, he’s too enamoured by it to chat – the medium-rare steak has been cooked to perfection while the sweet soy sauce and red chilli take the plate to another level. It’s easily the star dish.
There isn’t a morsel left on either of our plates by the time our waitress comes back to clear the table. Yet we’re still set on having a dessert. Our server recommends her favourites – the chocolate fondant and dynamite pineapple sorbet – and we follow suit. The fondant is a volcano of chocolate heaven, oozing across the plate, while the sorbet is sweet yet tart and refreshing, as it should be.
Overall, our meal is an incredible success and we can’t wait to go back for more. The only negative I can muster is the choice of tunes in the background which, in the course of three tracks, went from traditional Arabic to an acoustic Spanish rendition of ‘I Will Survive’, followed by a more suitable chill out electronic track. Despite that, you’re likely to find me back there on a Friday testing out the new brunch offering very soon.
The bill (for two) 1x akiko salad BD4.100 1x Maguro Tataki BD4.500 1x spicy tenderloin BD15 1x maki spider roll BD4.500 1x maki spicy tuna BD4.500 1x pineapple sorbet BD1.800 1x special chocolate BD3.500 1x Evian BD1.500 Government levy BD1.895 Service charge BD5.685 Total BD45.480
Time Out Bahrain staffhttp://www.timeoutbahrain.com