When held up against Sushi Tei, Akashi does distinguish itself with a few standouts, and occasionally levels up on par with the market leader in mid-range, mass-market Japanese chain restaurants. Also, I find Akashi best at their cooked foodstuffs set meals offerings, as these are most value-for-money.
The fusion Ebi Tempura Maki No Pitan Zoe ($5.80) marries Japanese with Chinese flavours, with a fried breadcrumbed prawn wrapped with avocados, seaweed, fish roe and topped with century egg dice. If you're anything like my girlfriends, this is a must-order.
The Shake Kawa Maki ($3.80) is a contrast of crisp salmon skin with raw salmon, rolled with fine spring onions and sesame seeds.
Another balancing act, the Spider Maki ($4.80) walks the line between the crunchy deep-fried soft shell crab and soft avocados.
In spite of its haphazard rolling, the Spicy Shake Maki ($3.80), spicy salmon seaweed roll, possessed a lively kick.
The Spicy Tuna Maki ($4.80) was the tuna counterpart of the Spicy Shake Maki. Purely as a matter of preference, I preferred the tuna version.
In general, the nigiri were more elegantly done than the maki sushi. The Spicy Salmon Gunkan ($1.20 per pc) tempered the heat of the spicy salmon with the heavy creaminess of mayo.
The Hotate Mayo Tobiko Gunkan ($1.80 per pc) comprised diced scallop, mayo and fish roe.
Although every table has a platter of Edamame ($2) by the time you're seated, beware that these are chargeable, and not complimentary. These looked malnourished, and were a little anemic and rather forgettable.
I really liked the Yaki Meshi ($6), commendably fried rice choc-a-bloc with squid and prawns and scrambled eggs, and redolent of fragrant garlic.
The Gyu Don Set ($16) beef rice bowl was highlighted by a perfectly glorious poached egg, which we pricked to smear it all over the soft fluffy rice.
The Sukiyaki Set ($16), with silky beef ribbons set bubbling in a pre-heated pot with a melange of greens, tofu, shitake, carrots, glass noodles, was rich with the sweetened oniony broth. Some people prefer to dip their meats in the raw egg before eating it with rice, but I prefer dunking in the egg into the broth to let it cook in the hot soup.
The Saba Shioyaki Set ($16) comprised a slab of beautifully grilled mackerel sided by grated radish, rice, soup and freshly cut watermelons.
The Tenzaru Cha Soba Set ($16) wasn't the best I've had, what with a more flour-based batter than tempura batter, and overdone, dried out prawns, but it was substantial.
The Dobinmushi ($10) a teapot soup sweetened by shimeiji, prawns and clams and fishcake, was delicate and nuanced.
Akashi Japanese Restaurant
1 Harbourfront Walk
Tel: 6376 9972
Open daily from 11.30am to 11pm