Big in Ja­pan

3treet food in­flu­ences are front and cen­tre at Ak­iba Dori

What's On (Dubai) - - CONSUME -

You’ve heard of Neapoli­tan, Chicago and New York-style piz­zas, but you might not have en­coun­tered Tokyo-style pizza be­fore. We cer­tainly hadn’t, un­til we vis­ited Ak­iba Dori in Dubai De­sign Dis­trict (D3).

The li­censed out­let is the brain­child of restau­ra­teur Samer Ha­madeh, who is also be­hind JBR’s Stereo Ar­cade night­club. It takes its in­spi­ra­tion from Ak­i­habara, Tokyo’s neon-filled elec­tron­ics dis­trict. The res­tau­rant is di­vided into colour­ful store­fronts – there’s a bar, bak­ery, ar­cade room, and pizze­ria.

Ak­iba Dori’s menu is split into sal­ads, street food, spe­cials and baked goods, with a sep­a­rate Toky­opoli­tan pizza menu. A sashimi salad (Dhs55), a mix of tuna and salmon sashimi, green leaves, and car­rots fea­tured im­pec­ca­bly fresh sliv­ers of raw fish, which were el­e­vated but not over­pow­ered by a tangy ap­ple gin­ger dress­ing.

The wagyu katsu sando (Dhs77) was a dainty sand­wich con­sist­ing of melt-in­y­our-mouth hunks of wagyu beef, coated in panko crumbs and served be­tween toasted pieces of crust­less bread. It’s one of Ja­pan’s hottest food trends right now, and we’re sure this is the only place in Dubai you can get it.

Next up was the Toky­opoli­tan pizza, which uses Ja­panese flour, salt, and wis­dom (Ak­iba Dori’s chef Luigi, orig­i­nally from Naples, was sent to Tokyo to train with one of Ja­pan’s top pizza mak­ers). The dough is baked in a wood-fired oven at 500°C for un­der a minute.

Do your­selves a favour and pull up a seat in front of the oven while your pizza is be­ing cooked. There’s some­thing won­der­ful about see­ing it slide out of the fire, cov­ered in char marks and bub­bles. We or­dered the 5 For­maggi (Dhs71), topped with a swirl of aca­cia honey, the sweet­ness of which cut through the salty cheese beau­ti­fully – it was a match made in heaven.

For dessert, the Hakata cheese­cake (Dhs27) failed to pass the jig­gle test – one of the most sat­is­fy­ing as­pects of the Ja­panese treat – but it was still a palate cleanser; soft, silky, and not too sweet. Their Nutella taiyaki (Dhs17) was also a fun take on the fish-shaped waf­fle, which usu­ally comes filled with red-bean paste. In a city sat­u­rated with sushi spots, Ak­iba Dori is def­i­nitely onto a good thing. D3: Home to the best pizza this side of Tokyo. Who knew?

Build­ing 8, Dubai De­sign Dis­trict, Dubai, Sun to Thurs noon to mid­night, Fri to Sat noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 770 7949. Taxi: De­sign dis­trict. face­book.com/Ak­ibaDori

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