Hindley Street is the exclusive home of the only Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu outside of Japan. The dining concept is made up of three elements; Shitamachi – a region 15 kilometres North of Tokyo where you can immerse yourself in the culture of old world Japan, Tendon – a Japanese style rice bowl topped with assorted tempura, and Akimitsu – a highly awarded chef who is a fifth-generation master of the art of tempura.
“Our most popular dishes are the lobster tempura and the Akimitsu Deluxe Tendon. We are the only restaurant in Australia to make lobster tempura as it is our flagship dish, designed especially for this market to integrate the Japanese culture in a way specific to Adelaide”, explains Desmond Wong, the Owner of the restaurant who formerly owned Dragon Court in Central Markets. “People are often surprised we don’t have sushi on the menu, but we are unique in that way to, specialising in tempura and tendon”.
When Chef Tanihara Akimitsu, who earned the “King of Tempura Bowl” Gold Award in the Donburi Championship in Japan, wanted to present his artistry and recipes to the world, he partnered with Mr Wong who has over 30 years of experience in the Adelaide restaurant scene. Now, the team at Akimitsu source their ingredients fresh every day, working with the specially imported Japanese flour, house-made sauces and special blend of oils in the only environment outside of Japan to enjoy traditional tempura and tendon.
We were invited to the launch of this modern styled restaurant designed by a Japanese Interior Designer, where a variety of their flagship dishes are on showcase.
We tried a few Entrees to start, some Edamame, Yakitori, Porterhouse Steak with Yuzu Kosho and Karaage. Although the establishment is not your conventional Japanese eatery, no Japanese meal is complete without Edamame, which was nicely steamed and salted.
The Yakitori – grilled chicken and spring onion on a skewer glazed with Yakitori sauce was next. The succulent chicken and spring onion were generously coated with the sweet Japanese sauce, and when grilled created a glossy finish.
The Porterhouse Steak with Yuzu Kosho is a topping on the Steak Don, a Tendon dish on the menu. The steak is chargrilled and served on rice in chef’s special sauce. The cook on the steak was perfect for the slices of Porterhouse, with the outside browned and crispy and the middle still being pink and medium rare.
Another expected crowd pleaser is the Karaage, or Japanese fried chicken. The bite-sized pieces of chicken are marinated in sake, soy sauce, ginger and garlic and coated generously in potato starch before being deep-fried to a golden brown colour. The flavours are encased in a light but crispy shell that explodes with every bite of the juicy chicken.
Next is the Una Don – a bowl of steamed white sushi rice topped with fillets of grilled eel. The fillets of eel are grilled and then drizzled with caramelised sweet sauce, creating a glossy finish on the luxurious fish which is often considered a delicacy.
We move on to sample a few of the Tempura dishes. Options on the menu include Vegetable, Ebi (Prawn), Kingfish, Salmon and of course their flagship Lobster Tempura, but we tried the Ebi and Salmon Tempura. Besides being standalone dishes by themselves, they are also served as part of Tendon on top of rice. The Ebi and Salmon are coated with crispy tempura batter and deep-fried in hot oil. The coating of tempura better reaffirms Chef Akimitsu’s artistry in the special cuisine, it is light and ultra crispy with a beautiful golden finish, and encapsulates the fresh flavour of the Ebi and Salmon at the same time. This can be enjoyed with special dipping sauce or soy sauce for extra flavour.
The combination of passion and artistry from Chef Akimitsu and the profound knowledge and experience brought by Desmond Wong came to fruition when they opened the doors to this restaurant, making a mark on the tough market of Japanese food in Adelaide and creating a point of difference for themselves.
Akimitsu is located at Shop2, 62-68 Hindley Street, Adelaide and are open from 11:30am-3:00pm & 5:00pm-10:00pm Sunday – Thursday, and 11:30am-3:00pm & 5:00pm till late Friday and Saturday.
Words by Yasmine Yusuri
WHERE: Shop 2, 62-68 Hindley St, Adelaide