Akira Back

Celebrity chef Akira Back brings his Japanese-Korean fusion to Bangkok. 

Akira Back’s eponymous restaurant on the 37th-floor of Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park is only the latest in the celebrity chef’s globetrotting conquest, with his brand represented in 10 cities around the world. The flavors of Back’s dishes, however, are more localized, layering Korean and Japanese cuisines with influences from his American upbringing. Share the AB tacos (crispy taco shells stuffed with Wagyu bulgogi marinated in sweet soy sauce) and tuna pizza (tuna sashimi on chips-like crust drizzled lightly with white truffle oil) to keep room for the grilled octopus in smoked jalapeno sauce and the absolutely necessary and wonderfully decadent chocolate souffle.

The buzz: Born in Korea but raised in the States, chef Akira Back made his name in the noughties with a Vegas-based, Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant where celebs of the hour like the Olsens and Paris Hilton liked to hang out. Now he commands an empire of 10 eponymous restaurants, all serving Back’s blend of Korean-Japanese-American comfort food amid swanky surroundings. 
The decor: The restaurant sits 37 floors above the city and is divided into three areas: a main dining room, a sushi bar with an open kitchen and an omakase (chef’s selection) bar. The dark furnishings, black marble counters and soft lighting combine for a sleek, exclusive ambiance ideal for lingering over a glass of wine. The restaurant’s framed on either side by large windows with stunning views of the city nightscape.

The food: If you’re eating in the main dining area, order to share. The menu’s designed for it, and this also means you won’t miss out on some of the delectable small bites like the umami-rich and crispy-chewy AB tacos, where taco shells are stuffed with Wagyu bulgogi that’s been marinated in sweet soy sauce (B340). Get the tuna pizza for its sheer novelty—it’s tuna sashimi on a crispy golden crust with a heady drizzle of white truffle oil (B290). For heartier fare, we liked the grilled octopus with smoked jalapeno sauce that’s served on a pillow of potato foam (B480). Don’t fill up on the savory stuff though; the chocolate soufflé here is an absolute must-order, managing to be decadent yet light, its crust soft enough that your spoon sinks straight through.

The drinks: The full gamut of alcohol is at your disposal, from sake and wine through champagne and beer. Given the raw-fish and –meat focus of the menu, the suggested complement to your meal is a glass of Matua Sauvignon Blanc (B350/glass) or Champagne.

Why we’d come back: The menu is a master class in fusion cuisine. Clearly, Back understands how to isolate ingredients and flavors and puzzle them together again in a creative way that ensures the sum is greater than its parts. Really, who else has successfully united sashimi and pizza? Kankanok Wichiantanon

Venue Details
Address: Akira Back, 37/F, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, 199 Sukhumvit Soi 22, Bangkok, Thailand
Phone: 02-059-5999
Area: Nana Asoke
Cuisine: Fusion
Open since: January, 2018
Opening hours: daily 6-10:30pm; Sun noon-2:30pm
Parking available, Dress requirements: Smart Casual
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