Akiba: Best Canberra restaurants 2015

Natasha Rudra
Pork belly buns at Akiba.
Pork belly buns at Akiba. Photo: Graham Tidy

Akiba burst onto Bunda Street last summer in a shower of neon and pop-Asian bravado.

The Harrington brothers - Peter and Michael - are stalwarts of the Canberra restaurant scene and Akiba is a contrast to their quiet fine diner Sage in Braddon.

Akiba, Canberra City
Akiba, Canberra City Photo: Jez Rozdarz

This is busy, crazy and packed, a place to see and be seen, filled with a mix of communal tables, bar dining, booths and a big outdoor area. 

The food is a fun "greatest hits" list of modern Asian - steamed buns, hip dumplings, kewpie and chicken karaage. A platter of soft shell crab buns is fluffy and filled with tender crab meat in a creamy ponzu mayo dressing. Baby gem lettuce gives the necessary crunch and freshness. 

Grab a cocktail or an Asahi, hop up on a bar stool by the big windows and get into a variety of small sharing plates. Shiitake dumplings are all clean flavours bundled inside a silky dumpling skin, soaking in a pool of tangy chilli oil. The Japanese fried chicken is well crisp and liberally dusted with chilli and mayo, worth eating with your fingers if you're careful not to smear it on your Saturday night club finery.

You could do worse in desserts than the tofu cheesecake, a creamy tumble dotted with bright green pandan jelly but if you want to linger take a stroll through the sakes or the colourful cocktails. The Harringtons have brought new life to this corner of Civic and set Bunda Street buzzing. 

40 Bunda Street, Civic, 6162 0602, akiba.com.au