Sometimes, all it takes is one really outstanding restaurant to legitimise a new neighbourhood as a foodie haven – like Yardbird did with the PoHo area, or when Bistronomique got Michelin recommended before the MTR station made Kennedy Town more accessible. Akari, perched along the fringe of where Mid-Levels ends on St Stephen’s Lane, is poised to do just that.
Fashioned after Japanese machiyas, the menu has more in common with izakaya fare than the high-end kaiseki cuisine of Kyoto’s wooden townhouses.
For our meal, we begin with a sushi platter ($458). This seems pricy until we taste the extraordinary quality of the fish. More than that, it’s not just fresh, the expert cut leaves every bite of fish sinew-free. Next, we plump for various grilled items, such as the chicken soft bone ($26), veal ($48) and lamb chop ($58). The first is well executed, grilled to a crisp and the gristle easy to chew. The lamb chop and veal are lightly seasoned to showcase the superior quality of the meats and cooked pink, not bloody.
Akari isn’t a new concept. In fact, scanning the menu it’s hard to tell it apart from your average izakaya. But the outstanding ingredients and superior kitchen skills are evident in every dish. If you’re in the mood to treat yourself to some top-shelf quality, start heading to Mid-Levels West. Naomi Locke
3 St Stephen's Ln
Sai Ying Pun