Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
Copyright all rights reserved
All Food photos are of real food with NO photoshop
The audacious and irreverent Travelling Gourmet TM goes to an old Army Camp to taste…
MOUTHWATERING Modern Japanese cuisine with Tex-Mex and Korean influences in global Chef Akira Back’s newest restaurant in sunny Singapore. It is in the basement of South Beach Avenue which used to be a British Army Camp. Subsequently it became a Singapore Armed Forces Camp. Years later all these historic military building and barracks were converted to the South Beach Hotel run by the South Beach Consortium…later it metamorphosed into the JW Marriott South Beach after a US$20 million renovation. Newly opened on December 15, 2016, this huge 634 room luxury hotel will have 9 Food & Beverage outlets, of which five are operating now. The French designer Philippe Starck’s handprints are evident in the steel, glass and chrome rooms as well as bars and restaurants.
The hotel rooms are spread out over two buildings, the East and South towers. There are also three Heritage buildings. I liked the “Ladies Only” rooms which are done up in shades of pink right down to the bedroom slippers. The building that used to house the British Army NCO Club shall have four F & B outlets that are not yet open. The top class 10-treatment room Spa by JW goes into the second floor of the East Tower and is slated open in the second quarter of 2017.
For the South Beach hotel, JW Marriott is also developing nine food-and-beverage outlets. These are not limited to the hotel’s premises, but spread across the South Beach development. The plus point for this area is that it is directly linked to City Hall MRT and Esplanade MRT stations making access very hassle-free.
At this time, five Food & Beverage outlets are open! Beach Road Kitchen boasts live chef cooking stations is located on Level 1 in a separate block from the hotel rooms. I love the name Court Martial Bar, which serves speciality cocktails in one of the conservation buildings. Through the glass floor you can see the preserved artifacts from the time when it was a British Army vehicle repair and maintenance workshop through the glass floor! You enjoy living history with your exotic cocktails!
Other captivating options are Gastropub Media Bar, Gin & Tonic themed cocktail bar called Tonic (what else!) and alluring Akira Back, a modern Japanese restaurant that infuses Korean elements into the food. I am very fascinated with the Court Martial Bar wahahah! Yes Sir! Being drunk and disorderly can get you a court martial alright!
JW Marriott manages three of South Beach’s conservation buildings which are gazetted as National Heritage building. One is the former Non-Commissioned Officers Club building. It was supposed to be a private members-only club according to plan A, but will now have four restaurants and bars inside that shall be open to the public.
Akira is Korean but cooks JAPANESE!
Born in South Korea, Chef Akira Back, 42, was inspired to open his cutting-edge restaurant in the South Beach hotel because of its unique potential. A most unusual Chef…he used to be a professional SNOWBOARDER in Colorado, USA where he was brought up. To augment his income as a snow boarder, he started working in restaurants and the rest as they always say…is history. Akira owns a few restaurants across Asia, including an outlet in JW Marriott New Delhi! Modern art works including his Mum’s paintings decorate the walls as well as deer antler like chandeliers.
Chef Akira says simply : “I want people to come to my restaurant and get comfortable, and mingle with new faces across the long tables. ”
My remarkable repast commenced with his signature Tuna and Mushroom Pizza… An ueber thin crust that is Oh! La! La! Crispy Crispy! Half is stopped with meticulously sliced red Tuna Carpaccio and the other half with thinly sliced Mushrooms! Truffle Oil and Micro Shiso and Ponzu Mayo add more layers of delicious flavour! I was very pleased to relish every tempting morsel…
Next was Toro CAVIAR! Kochujang and Oscietra Caviar made this another yummie treat on a box of shaved ice. What is Kochujang? Kochujang is a thick, spicy beautifully crimson paste made from chilli peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It has been used in Korean cuisine for hundreds of years.
Have you ever tried Hokkaido Scallop with Kiwi and Truffle Ponzu? It is really good and yummie!
It was followed by a Japanese-Korean fusion dish with a Mexican twist! AB (Akira Back) Tacos filled with Wagyu Beef Bulgogi Style Marinade and spiked with a SPICY Tomato Ponzu! Fusion done well need not be “confusion”…wahahahah! 🙂
Akira Back Restaurant
JW Marriott South Beach Singapore
30 Beach Road, Access via Nicoll Highway
Tel: +65 6818 1888
To be continued…