I'd heard good things about Akashi. So I stepped in today for a try at the Paragon basement branch. The a la carte is really pricey so I went for a bento (S$20). Seemed ideal as a sampler - has sashimi, tempura, grilled fish and soup - although I never hold really high expectations of bento/sets.
I requested the sashimi to be changed to salmon (did not feel like tuna today; and tako and ika are my least favourite items). They said they had run out of salmon, which was either an outright lie or they really have bad inventory management. How can a Japanese restaurant in Singapore run out of salmon in the middle of the day?
They suggested other things which I didn't like, including cheap replacements such as kappa (cucumber) maki and oshinko (pickles) maki. No, I wanted fish. In frustration, I told them to just stick to the original. At least I could eat the tuna.
Then came the long wait. I watched as nearby tables (which were seated after me) slurped into their second and third courses. How could a single bento take so long?
I was tempted to cancel my order and leave when it finally arrived. Well, to a very hungry person (me!), it looked nice. Except for the sashimi. You can see how bad the tuna is. Thin, with false shine and that dark cherry hue that suggests carbon monoxide treatment to preserve "fresh" colouring. It was not the freshest thing I've had.
The grilled mackerel was moist and oily but at least not overcooked. Tempura was okay, nothing too thrilling. The rice...the rice was bad. Poor quality, clumpy and a little dry here and there.
I also could not help noticing some poor waitress hobbling uncomfortably on slippers with soles widely frayed, each with a gaping hole.
So OK, not a good first impression of the place. Sigh, to think I was hoping this would be a good place to recommend to hubby and friends. Perhaps the a la carte stuff is better, but it will be expensive to find out. I think the only thing I really liked was the mugicha (roasted barley tea). Should have just gone to Tatsuya nearby.