There has been a lot of hype about this place, not surprising with a reported 15 million fit out. You are greeted by the doormen in flat caps, quite what the significance of the flat caps is I have no idea but as soon as you enter the main restaurant and bar area, you can start to see where the money went. Huge sculptures on the walls, giant illuminated carp hanging over the bar and even the cutlery had fish scales on it.
Having had a good look at the menu online, we’d pretty much worked out what we were going to have to eat which made it much easier to pick a wine for Bev, her old favourite – an unoaked Chablis. I fancied some Sake and went for Honjozo Akita Shuri Seizoh and no I didn’t remember the name I had to look it up!!
A lot of the menu items are small plates particularly suited for sharing, similar to tapas but there are some obvious larger plates which would typically be a main course. Between us we ordered three “starters” and two “mains” and our waitress explained that the food would come out as and when it was ready but she would try to stagger it so that the “mains” came last. We both understood the concept but just imagine the potential chaos of a busy Saturday night, everyone orders dim sum or sushi or fish and hardly any one orders meat, your beautiful piece of Wagyu that you’ve ordered as your main will be turning up before you’ve had your starter of oysters. I’m not saying it has happened, I’m just hoping they have a system in place so that it doesn’t happen.
As we waited for whichever of our starters came out first, they bought out some warm endame beans as an appetiser which were a pleasant and very healthy change from the norm and made me feel that at the very least I’d had one of my five a day. Fortunately for me the first dish out was the Beef Tataki. Thinly sliced beef, lightly seared on its edges and with a garnish of crispy shallots and truffle, I love carpaccio so this was perfect for me.
Our two very different salads came out next. Bev went for the Crab salad, she insisted I tasted it primarily for the yuzu vinaigrette which was amazing. I went for smoked eel with shavings of frozen foie gras as I’d read so much about it in other reviews. I’m now even happier I went for it as in the time it has taken for me to write about it, it has disappeared from the menu. I can only hope it is a seasonal reason as it was a wonderful combination, the smoke of the eel with the richness and subtlety of the foie gras shavings, I would happily order that again.
We both went for miso glazed sea bass with artichoke three ways as a ‘main’ with sautéed spinach as a side. (So that’s 1x endame plus 1x spinach plus 3x artichoke = I’ve had my five a day!!). Now this is another landmark for Bev, believe it or not it’s the first time she’s had sea bass. Admittedly she didn’t eat the skin but I left it as well as I’d have preferred it crispier and the flesh still offered some resistance as you separated it from the skin which made me check if it was slightly under. If I’m being really picky, there was a difference between our two pieces of sea bass in both the colour of the glaze and the size and cut of the fillet. Despite these minor nit picks, it was a very enjoyable dish.
Dessert beckoned but with no cheese board in sight Bev was done. The raspberry soft serve caught my eye but lost out to the marble cake. As enjoyable as it was I’m still thinking about the soft serve that I didn’t have more than the marble cake that I did. The cake was lovely and moist, the ice cream smooth, the garnishes gave texture but it just didn’t “wow” me. Yet as I sit here writing this I’m thinking about the raspberry soft serve with popping candy or 100’s & 1000’s or most likely both.
The ambience was loud but not riotous, you didn’t feel like you had to whisper so that the table next to you didn’t hear your every word but you didn’t need to shout so the person opposite could hear you. The lighting was moody and dark, enough to require the torch on my iPhone to read the menu. The service was attentive but it never felt like you were being hovered over. The tables are quite close to each other but not uncomfortable, although it does lead to food envy. The Couple next to us liked the look of my tataki and they then ordered it but we watched them eat crispy soft shell crab and beef skewers and thought next time because there will be a next time.
Adam & Beverley xx