Akiba on Bunda Street in the City, is a relative new comer, having only opened it’s doors late last year. Connected with Sage Restaurant in Ainslie, it is hugely popular for lunch during the week and it pays to book (which is easiest on-line).
The fit out is appealing, casual with style. Service is slick and attentive (you need to be a bit assertive if you want to linger and savour tastes, pacing dishes more slowly).
Both the indoor and outdoor seating are good choices.
Staff and management are very keen to get customer feedback and the benefit of this is that they are very knowledgable about what is popular (and good). Their recommendations are trustworthy.
The Asian themed a la carte menu covers a range of ‘snacks and street food’, ‘raw’ (Japanese styled) dishes’, ‘share plates’ and desserts ranging from about $8 to $28. There are lots of choices in the $8-$12 range. The menu is designed for a number of dishes to be ordered and combined/shared.
This is handy as it gives you flexibility to order according to your appetite and budget and to just pick out your favourites. However, it can be expensive if you are very hungry as serves are not so large. There is also no BYO option.
Excellent choices (with exquisite flavours) are ….the soft buns…
Soft shell crab bun with pickled baby gem and creamy ponzu $9 each
Pork belly bun with char sui sauce and asian slaw $8 each ( a little like a traditional steamed BBQ pork bun)
…and the mango and coconut sticky rice, macadamia and palm sugar cream $9 (this is just so good)
other good a la carte choices are..
…indian spiced cauliflower, tea soaked raisins, baby spinach $10 (which has a delicious smokey flavoured dressing)
…and the shiitake and water chestnut dumplings with ginger and black vinegar dressing $10 for 4 pieces.
I suspect the other (well priced) desserts are delicious too (and certainly other seemed to be loving the chocolate coffee tart with shiso pickled strawberry $9.
The kimchi and angasi pancake with kewpie mayo, sriracha and itogaki ($8 for 2 pieces) sounds inviting too.
However, the korean sticky lamb ribs with sumac, while having a delicious flavour, are very fatty $14.
Yum Cha is available also on weekends 11-3pm for about $10 per 4 dumplings and sometimes the trolley turns up on weekdays too.