By Shruti Kothari
Celebrity Chef Akira Back’s exquisite East-meets-West gastronomical innovations are seasoned with a touch of stardust.
Ascend to the 37th floor of the Bangkok Marriot Marquis Queen’s Park and step into the sophisticated world of Chef Akira Back. At his eponymous restaurant, large windows boasting panoramas of Bangkok’s bustling cityscape, coupled with pale soft furnishings, juxtapose the dark wood, marble and rope fittings. This intriguing, luxurious interior provides four different dining experiences with its main dining area, the cold salad and sushi bar, the omakase and robata section, and four private dining rooms for groups seeking a more secluded culinary journey.
Whichever you choose, the food is divine; I cannot recommend this establishment enough. A unique blend of Korean, Japanese and American spice palettes and cooking techniques embrace the Chef’s cultural heritage. His personality and all that is important to him comes out not only in the robust flavours of his creations, but also in the surroundings; paintings by his mother bring life to the walls, and also to the bespoke French plates his food is served upon. Small touches highlight this Chef’s principles; as you sit down, you will notice the chopsticks are double-sided, encouraging you to eat with the intention to share.
Start with their signature Eringi pizza (B310), where the light, crisp base and thinly sliced mushrooms carry a surprising burst of flavours like white truffle, shiso and creamy aioli. Follow this with the Horenzo shira ae (B240), a twist on the classic Japanese spinach salad with sesame dressing; this one is laced with chilli oil and replete with tofu. We recommend that you mix the spinach and sauce together well before eating, for the full multisensory spoonful.
As interactive foods are key at this restaurant, try the Yellowtail tartare (B510), which is served on ice and black marble to keep it chilled. It comes with nine condiments including finely diced chives, garlic chips, avocado cream, egg yolk and pickled wasabi. Combine the ingredients in the ratios you choose, season with soya sauce, and eat with the fluffy brioche to achieve the perfect mouthful. Dive further into Chef Akira’s Alice-in-Wonderland treatment of ingredients with Una-Q (B490), where the savoury eel comes wrapped in a translucent taco and is topped with white truffle emulsion crumbles and a sticky, dark sauce. Eat in one bite for an experience that will make your palate sing; it is exceptional.
Brussells sprouts (B210) are quickly deep fried and served with puffed rice for added crunch. The sweet-spicy Kimchi sauce lifts this humble vegetable to its redemption. For another intriguing morsel, turn to the Corn on the cob (B290), which is unlike any other you’ve had before. Robata grilled baby corn is served on the husk, engulfed in a stunning combination of black garlic butter, togarashi and powdered Parmesan cheese. The nutty, umami flavour is one of the reasons first-timers at this restaurant become regulars.
For a dish with some heft, choose the King crab legs (B1100), in which six legs are grilled to juicy perfection and dressed in loud Dynamite sauce and pickled shimeji for a truly explosive bite. Another delightful concept is the Hot Mess (B410), a playful signature roll bringing together the smooth textures of crab and avocado, enhanced with tomato and seaweed, and topped with sashimi poke and slathered in spicy ponzu aioli for an exciting, messy finish. For a bittersweet ending, indulge yourself with the rich Valrhona lava soufflé (B370), which is balanced with a crisp, pure Madagascan vanilla ice cream.
While Akira Back is well-stocked with craft beers and exquisite options like the most expensive sake in the world, walk across the floor to neighbouring ABar, which will whisk you away to a Gatsby-esque 1930s America with whimsical elements from Victorian London. The plush dark wood and leather atmosphere, dotted with vintage curios, hints at some of the signature cocktails at this joint. Curated by sensational Head Mixologist Rojanat Charoensri, dark spirits are combined with unusual, handcrafted simples and syrups for luxurious libations like none other in the city of Bangkok.
Don’t miss the iconic A case of mistaken identity (B365), a blend of Beefeater 24 gin, Giffard Crème de Mûre, floral lavender cordial made in-house, and a bright squeeze of citrus to balance the drink. Well-rounded and light, this is sure to put you in an easy-breezy mood.
The Devonshire daisy (B375) pairs tropical Plantation Pineapple rum with green Chartreuse, and augments this mix with house-made parsley cordial, fresh lime and bubbles for a herbaceous, sweet-savoury tipple.
If rum is your poison of choice, try Study in stone (B415), which combines Nusa Caña rum with a dry sherry. Citrus Oleo- Saccharum and fresh lemon are added for a tangy twist. Garnished with berries, mint, candied orange and powdered sugar, this tincture is a treat for the eyes as well the tastebuds.
Moreover, if you would like to supplement your bar experience with some umami snacks, Akira Back provides a different menu for your pleasure. The Pork ribs (B480) fall off the bone, and the succulent texture is dressed in a spicy barbecue sauce for an ideal bite. If you are craving something crunchy, choose the Spicy chicken pop corn (B280), which is peppery and crisp, the perfect companion to a cocktail.
37th floor, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park 199 Sukhumvit Soi 22, Klong Ton, Khlong Toey, Bangkok 10110
Open daily from 6pm to 11pm
Open Sundays from 12pm to 2.30pm
Tel: 02 059 5555