March 10, 2020
Akira, The Japan House – a taste of the Orient in London
Located in Kensington, London W8, Akira is a true taste of Japan, both in culture and gastronomy. Step into this wonderful restaurant and be transported to the Land of the Rising Sun, with its ancient customs and amazing hospitality. If you have never been to Japan, nor eaten in a Japanese restaurant, Akira at the Japan House would be an enlightenment into this magical country.
Akira is on the first floor, but do take time to see the rest of the Japan House and immerse yourself in this extremely diverse culture, before heading up to some of the finest and beautifully presented Japanese food. Everything here is authentic from the décor, the crafts and the ambience, right through to the exquisite cooking style.
The chef here is Shimizu Akira who heartily believes that there is a ‘trinity of cooking’ – food, tableware and presentation, and he certainly achieves that with utmost finesse. He personally sources everything himself with fine attention to detail, and where possible, using artisanal ware to create the look and the feel. Even the glassware is Japanese, which you can see both at the tables and in the sophisticated bar.
There is an amazing array of both sushi nigiri/sashimi, sushi rolls and delicate but tasty rice and noodle dishes, that you can choose from either for lunch or dinner. Everything is imaginative with top-notch presentation and the ‘second to none omotenashi Japanese hospitality. If you can’t choose what to have, you can have a mixed platter, known as ‘moriawase’.
A visit to Akira would not be complete without one of the tempting speciality dishes from the robata grill, which roars away in front of you, whilst chefs work tirelessly to prepare and cook your dishes, somewhat like a theatre of dreams. There is a range of fish and seafood, from octopus with kimchi, sea urchins with Tosa jelly, prawns with ponzu, scallops and kombu-cured turbot – not forgetting more recognisable names such as tuna and salmon.
Meat lovers can enjoy supreme Wagyu beef, which of course originated in Japan with careful nurturing of the cattle, but there are also chicken and pork dishes with customary marinades such as teriyaki.
Vegetarians need not go hungry, there are plenty of vegetarian options either as sushi or noodle dishes. Rice is traditionally served in a donabe pot, made of a special type of clay that can be used over an open flame, typically Japanese.
We enjoyed our visit to Akira. Not just the food, but the selection of cleverly concocted cocktails using Japanese ingredients and the warmth and hospitality of the staff. Keep a lookout for their event days when Chef Akira shows just how talented he is in providing special menus for the occasion.
A: Akira, 101-111 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8
T: : 020 3971 4646
W: Akira Japan House
Written by Rafa Zurita for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International