Starters: Akira Back

Supper explores the concepts hind new hotel F&B Venues

Born in Seol and raised in Colorado, Michelin- starred chef Akira Back has gained a reputation for combining Korean, Japanese and wester influences to create fusion cuisine of exceptional quality. Now he has opened his first Canadian restaurant with the launch of a 3,000 sq. ft. space on the second floor of Bisha, the newly built boutique in Toronto’s Entertainment District.

Patrons enter the Studio Munge-designed restaurant by climbing an opulent staircase decorated in gold leaf and topped by a six-tiered ceiling structure with glowing cove lighting. Once inside, they are freeted by a sleek 147-cover restaurant, with the dominant colours of gold and carbon black recurring across the floors, walls, tables, chairs and bar stools. This contrasts with the arched ceiling, featuring a handpainted mural showing indigo petals with shimmering gold accents, and custom mobile fabricated by PCL Graphics that organically weaves its way through the space.

The restaurant’s design cleverly signposts the chef’s Akira Back influences throughout. The walls, for example are inspired by Shou Sugi Ban – a traditional Japanese art of preserving and finishing wood through fire – while the destination sushi bar is illuminated by gold-finishes brass volumes and extending from floor to ceiling.

The restaurant's design cleverly signposts the chef's Akira Back influences throughout.

The food options, spanning everything from charcoal-grilled ribeye steak and eggplant miso to sushi and shashimi, include fan favourites such as Back’s signature raw runa pizza alongside several desishesunqiue to Toronto. Menu items are served on custom dinnerware by Kevala Ceramics and Legale, with some plates featuring artwork by back’s mother. Cutlery is by Studio William and the steak knives are from Laguiole.

The drinks selection continues the Asia theme with enticing cocktail incorporating ingredients such as shiitake-infused Belvedere vodka, sake and Hibiki Japanese Harmoney whiskey, as well as an extensive wine, spirits and beer selection. There are also a number of dessert wines that have been chosen to pair well with sweet treats like black sesame cheesecake, apple harumaki and matcha mousse cake.

Written by Robert Frost in SUPPER