I love barbecue; I'm a sucker for anything barbecued. And robatayaki, the Japanese take on barbecue, would ipso facto be one of my favourite styles of Japanese cooking. One of the most renowned robatas in Singapore is Akanoya, a concept under the often underwhelming Akashi group. While I may not be a big fan of their mass-market sushi offerings, I'll happily admit that their robatayaki restaurant is one of the very best on the island.
It says volumes, too, that a certain Facebook billionaire and the Tatler-set frequent the casual restaurant. The food may be a tad pricey, but the ingredients are sparkling fresh, and finessed over a coal-fire with aplomb. A bonus, parking is always available at the adjacent Orchard Parade Hotel carpark, and the restaurant is open till late.
There's no menu, so you pick out whatever's laid out on the ice in front of you, and they'll cook them all right there in the open grill in front of you. If that boggles your mind, just ask what's available and the staff will rattle on whatever's in season.
Staples like the Yaki Tori ($6), hunks of chicken thigh dice, are a fail-safe.
Ditto for the Lamb ($18), a specialty here and a must-try. Lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, this was absolutely sumptuous.
The Eringi ($7) fat slices of oyster mushrooms, married the trio of dips wonderfully.
I love peppers, and the Piman ($5) lightly charred and mildly sweet, was excellent.
I never understood why people hate brussels sprouts, because I adore them! The Mini Kyabetsu ($6) beautifully seared and smoky, boasted a delightful crunch.
Ditto for the Kyabetsu ($10). There's something about Japanese cabbage that's extra sweet, and its sweet undertones played off well against the scorch of the fire.
Some carbs by way of potatoes, Jyaga Imo ($8) draped with melted butter and a good sprinkling of salt.
The Tontoro Kushi ($8) is another regular feature of our meals here, pork crisped with a golden sear and enlivened with a touch of lemon juice.
Pretty studs of Ginnan ($8), or gingko nuts, simply flavoured with salt.
The piece de resistance, the Omi Gyu ($40) was perfectly melt-in-your-mouth. So decadent, so indulgent, so insanely good.
One thing I didn't like about Akanoya was the obligatory add-ons of an appetizer and fruit finish, which were both chargeable. The appetizer of a seasoned octopus, was charged as an 'Otoshi' ($4) like a mandatory indirect cover charge. Not a fan of the appetizer, and not a fan of being charged for something I wouldn't have ordered anyway.
Ditto for the Kudamono ($12) a less-than-saccharine melon and persimmon that I didn't quite fancy either.
1 Tanglin Road #01-01
Orchard Parade Hotel
Tel: 6732 1866
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 6pm to 1.30pm;
Sundays from 6pm to 12midnight