Date of review: June 30, 2017 | Reviewed by: Wilson Fok
Taking over the space formerly occupied by a rooftop bar, Akikan Robatayaki quietly opened a month ago at Cubus, where it houses other Japanese establishments from Sushi Ta-ke to Sessyu. Occupying the top two floors of the building, the elevator brings guests to the restaurant’s entrance on the upper floor.
The main dining area is a rectangular room with sushi bar and an open robatayaki bar on one side, set along a wide wooden bench with comfortable seating for 16 guests. The space is well-lit with an abundance of dark wood panels. Larger parties can settle in the booths on the same floor. We prefer the booth seating by the window, where guests can get a small glimpse of the seaview and early evening city lights as dinner proceeds. The space is well-lit with an abundance of dark wood panels
The menu at Akikan Robatayaki is an extensive one, with an abundant selection of dishes from sashimi and sushi to tempura and robatayaki options. Guests can choose to sit at the robatayaki bar where guests prepare dishes live. We began with grilled cheese with Saikyo miso. These molten morsels of cheese are richly flavoured with saikyo miso, best enjoyed warm. Skewers from the robata grill are well executed, particularly the chicken parts. The minced chicken is packed onto a skewer, grilled and served with a fresh egg yolk, which clings onto the patty as a dipping sauce. We also enjoyed the skewed chicken cartilage, skins, and wing, where the skin is crisp and meat tender and juicy throughout.
Salt-grilled Japanese eel is exceptional at Akikan Robatayaki. The eel is grilled whole with only sea salt to season and is rich with the thin crispy skin. We find it best served on its own, although a dab of yuzu kosho, or yuzu pepper relish, gives it an herbaceous lift. Stir-fried Iwatei Hokkinton with ginger sauce is a good twist on the traditional stir-fried pork with ginger dish. The pork is extra tender with alternating layers of fat and lean meat, and caramelised onions give it a sweet and spicy kick.
Guests can choose to have sushi for carbs, but we find satisfaction in tempura Inaniwa udon. The udon served warm in dashi broth, was soft and chewy, while tempura was lightly battered and crispy throughout.
The wine list features a modest selection of bottled sakes from different regions from all over Japan, despite no particular standout labels. The restaurant also offers a very small selection of 300 ml carafes of sakes and only a handful varieties of wine by the glass, as well as beers and Japanese whiskies.
Service at Akikan is warm but not attentive at all times as occasionally it may be difficult to get attention from the team, though they are keen to answer questions we had on ingredients and recommendations. The staff needs more familiarising with the menu offerings as well as wine and sake pairing information.
Dinner for two with a la carte items at Akikan Robatayaki sums up to HK$1,200 without sake. Akikan Robatayaki offers a rich variety of robatayaki classic items with a few unique items that are high in quality, despite staff needing more familiarising on the menu’s offerings.