Akira Back — Toronto, Canada
With equal measures of great stealth and taste, Akira Back restaurant is quietly building a burgeoning culinary empire that stretches from Singapore and New Delhi to Las Vegas, Seoul and, now, Toronto’s Bisha hotel.
For his first Canadian outpost, the Korean-born, Colorado-raised chef tapped local interior designers Studio Munge for the 3,000 sq ft cocoon. De rigueur is a pre-prandial Kinoko martini of shitake-infused vodka and peanut oil at the bijou black marbled bar, lined in velvet and marble pillars and trimmed with gold shelves. The main attraction is, of course, the dining room which Studio Munge has furnished with dark stained wall panels, glossy gold accents, a dreamy cloud-like ceiling of hand-painted indigo petals, and an undulating mobile that encases original artwork by Back’s mother.
It’s a suitably dramatic setting for Back to showcase his repertoire of Korean-Japanese fusion dishes like toro caviar and kojuchang miso, and jidori chicken shimmering with a maple teriyaki glaze.