We had headed out intending to go to the Night Noodle Markets that are forming a part of the Canberra Enlighten Festival. But it was really hot, things didn't seem that different to the Multicultural Festival a few weeks ago and there were queues. I have no problem with queues but S has the patience of a sleep deprived toddler when it comes to lining up so we decided it was not the venue for us.
Instead we headed into the city and being relatively early managed to get into Akiba without a booking. We sat at one of the benches that face the window. The view of Bunda Street may not be one of the great views in Canberra but it does make for excellent people watching.
Akiba's menu is designed for sharing and you are warned that things will come out as they are ready, not in any particular order.
First up for us was the soba noodle salad, bamboo shoots, yellow bean, sweet and sour ($12). This was very tasty, light and refreshing and I loved the crispy bits on on top, however I would have liked a few more of the tasty herbs.
As we were eating it my pork belly bun, char sui, asian slaw ($8) arrived. S had elected not to get one so I offered for him to have a bite. I always make this mistake. The man is essentially a shark and in two bites well more than half of my bun was gone. What was left was delicious. The bun was soft and fluffy, the pork tender, not at all fatty and smothered in delicious char sui sauce which was nicely countered by the mayo in the Asian slaw. I very nearly ordered a second one to make up for it but needed to save space for the rest of our meal.
Next up was Japanese fried chicken, lemon braised onions, parmesan ($16). The chicken was perfectly cooked with a fantastic crumb but I felt it was really lacking a sauce. I would have liked more of the mayo from the Asian slaw in my pork bun. However this might have been because I'm not a huge lover of onion, S ate his chicken with the lemon braised onions and said it was a great combo although he would have liked a sauce too.
Finally, we had an order of steamed prawn and chicken dumplings, ginger and black vinegar dressing ($10). The dressing is super yummy and eating these with a spoon to get as much dressing as possible was a great idea. However I felt the dumplings themselves weren't the greatest. The ginger was a bit strong and I could barely taste the prawn.
We chose to wash our meal down with a couple of Akiba's cocktails. S had the El Diablo - Calle 23 tequila, ginger beer and lime, served over mixed berry, black current ice block ($15) which he really enjoyed.
I had the Clover Club - gin, raspberry syrup and citrus ($16). This pretty much includes my favourite flavours of all time and they are perfectly matched here. Just delicious.
Service was super prompt, we were in and out in 45 minutes without feeling rushed at all. All in all this was a delicious meal and I'm looking forward to a repeat visit.
40 Bunda Street