Nestled in the bustling streets of Bandra, stands the new Japanese fun dining establishment, Akina. The restaurant, with its bold approach to modern Japanese cuisine, aims to instil a sense of excitement and wonder for its customers with an innovative dining experience. Launched by Silver Beach Hospitality, Akina is a sensorial haven, blurring the lines between traditional and modern cooking techniques with a flair for the theatrical. The restaurant, spanning 5000 sq. ft, borrows its design sensibilities from the eponymous spring Japanese flower.
“We’ve taken their Japanese cultural, knowledge, and traditions and fused them with Western ingredients and techniques, creating a whole new echelon of dining experiences,” says Hitesh Keswani, Founder & Director of Silver Beach Entertainment and Hospitality.
Akina’s main space, which seats 85 guests, encompasses a beautiful maximalist aesthetic. This extends to the rest of the establishment, which features fine-tuned attention to detail. A substantial portion of the dinnerware and crockery is handmade by indigenous artisans and imported from Japan. Dubai-based F&B Entrepreneur Ryan SNR who has partnered with Hitesh Keswani wanted to support the Indian local artisan community too. The end result is a selection of beautiful handmade ware from both countries, underscored by intricate design sensibilities that complement the restaurant’s overarching focus on understated opulence.
There’s also the Akina Privé Lounge, envisioned to be an oasis of warmth, mystery and magic accommodating fewer people, about 30 to 35. The discerning patron’s delight is a disconnect from Mumbai’s hustle and bustle enveloped in lush velvet and suede for a more intimate gathering. Beneath the rippled patterned lucid canopy, you can relax and settle into your evening, indulging in a selection of contemporary Japanese tapas and small bites or perch elegantly at the impressive cocktail bar. Stay tuned for their upcoming rooftop space as part of Akina’s phase two plans.
Akina’s menu has been curated by Hitesh and Ryan SNR but spearheaded by culinary wizard Chef Jesse Blake, renowned for his successful kitchens in Perth, Australia. Jesse brought his respect for produce, creativity, passion and dedication to Akina, drawing inspiration from his travels through Asia. He has used his knowledge of Japanese cuisine and open-fire cooking to blend innovation with tradition for a menu that sports favourites and a few specially-curated surprises.
My personal favourite was the Warayaki Seared Tuna. Warayaki is an ancient style of Japanese cooking technique which harnesses fires in the range of 800 to 900 degrees celsius. The resultant food, seared by intense heat, retains its delicious succulence while exulting in a delicate smokey flavour. Another favourite is the pork and cabbage gyoza. The crisp outer layer combined with the delicious stuffing will definitely give you a warm and happy feeling. Also make sure to try out the Avocado and wasabi tempura roll which has an unexpected surprise, the baked potato with truffles, yuzu cream and smoked garlic and if you’re not stuffed make sure to have the King prawns with steamed buns.
And when you’re not losing yourself in Akina’s wonderful spread, sip on one of the restaurant’s signature drinks, part of a beverage program curated by Ryan SNR that focuses on local and seasonal ingredients. Akina’s delicious meals will give you a satisfying feeling of satiety.
“If you’re someone who’s looking for a transcendent culinary experience, then Akina is for you,” says Hitesh. “It’s a place to indulge in exquisite food and drink, and connect with the community while just having a great time.”
Akina will be operational seven days a week for dinner service (for a few weeks into the opening) from 7 pm till 1.30 am and is now open for lunch during the weekends from 12.30 PM to 3.30 PM.
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