Monday, 3rd February 2020 – Akasaka, Milton Keynes
We had a date to go to the theatre in Milton Keynes, as we had tickets to see Sandi Toksvig on her “National Trevor” tour. As Lynne was working in the office that day (which is in MK), we decided I would pick her up from the office and we would go and have dinner somewhere in MK before the show. This can be tricky because central Milton Keynes is not known for its cuisine. The default venues tend to be the ghastly end of the multi-site chains where a portion of saturated fat and a cheap and nasty glass of wine can be yours, served to you by a sulky, poorly trained teenager, for an extortionate amount given what you’ll get for it. Independent venues are few and far between and we will seek them out when we can. Akasaka is one such independent venue though it is attempting to become a chain of 2, with a second original venue in Wolverton, a couple of miles away. We’d been to the Wolverton restaurant a couple of time, in 2015 and again in 2016, but the MK branch is new since then – and convenient for the theatre, so I booked a table as early as I could so we’d have plenty of time to eat and then get over to our seats.
This meant that when we got there the restaurant was pretty much empty bar the staff, and there certainly didn’t seem to be the atmosphere the Wolverton branch has. However, the staff were attentive and we quickly had the menus to study, and a glass of wine to drink. We started with a couple of fishy choices, including a lovely soft-shell crab, deep fried and crisp but still tender inside its batter.
Along with the crab we had a light dish of scallops (2 of them) with asparagus, a spring-like dish on a fairly miserable winter night. These were really just a curtain raiser for what I suppose should be considered a main course. And a very successful curtain raiser they were.
As the main plank of the meal we’d decided to share what they called the Assorted Sashimi Deluxe with a selection of tuna, salmon, seabass, sea bream, saba, scallop, and yellow tail. Impressively it actually looked exactly like its picture in the menu, and it was delicious. The fish was good and fresh and theadditional vegetables and accompaniments of pickled ginger added crunch and texture to the meal. The wasabi was suitably pungent and needed to be treated with a certain degree of caution, though it also lifted the whole flavour profile of the fish.
Afterwards the staff were keen to try and get us to order desserts, but we didn’t really fancy any of them (they appeared to be standard bought-in items that really didn’t appeal) and instead we ordered a couple more items from the main section of the menu. Both of them were small items, but packed with flavour, starting with the Tako Yaki, described as octopus meat balls battered with wheat flour, which is a description that doesn’t really do them justice. They have a squirt of Japanese mayonnaise added to them, and are soft and redolent of the sea. I could have happily eaten several more of them, despite being pretty full after the sashimi.
And finally, because I can’t resist it any time I see it, eel sushi. Just two pieces, which was enough to finish the meal in fine style.
We had plans to go back again for a proper long slow meander through the menu, but Covid-19 had other plans and that idea is on hold for now. I am considering the possibility of a full scale takeaway from the Wolverton branch or even the Northampton one, which is closer, but that will also have to wait because they don’t deliver so I’d have to go and collect.