Bespoke Japanese counter dining restaurant in Mayfair for 9 people at a time, serving a set tasting menu using rare and quality ingredients with an equally bespoke price (the most expensive in the country).
Editor’s note: review conducted at time of restaurant holding 3 Michelin stars – venue subsequently demoted in the 2020 Michelin guide.
I now understand why this establishment charges £300 per person for the one tasting menu (which changes regularly). From the rarity of the ingredients to the utterly heartfelt service, the century-old hand made crockery the food was personally chosen by the head chef to serve on, this was a special food occasion without a doubt. I thought all of the flesh that I ate was oustandingly tender through the sushi courses and many of the entrées had a luxurious, creamy and velvety feel to them. The cuts of fish served had a superb melt in the mouth quality and lovely fattiness to them. The ingredients were all as fresh as they come and I loved the polite ceremony that came with each course served. Meticulous explanations were afforded and the staff clearly had great reverence for the Head Chef and architect of the dishes. Particular highlights for me were the yuzu sauce that acoompanied the opening Yellow Tail course and the instantly gratifying tuna with onion mayonnaise mixed with truffle. The truffle was the most thinly sliced I have ever had and the addition of toasted sesame seeds made this a truly wonderful dish when all mixed in.
Elements that I wasn’t too keen on were the sauce that went with the abalone (although the supple and squidgy texture was obviously unique) and the eel which seemed to have quite a hard and chewy wrapping in places. The latter made me feel as if there was something possibly off the mark with one of the pieces however, they were otherwise ok.
Separately, the ginger was surprisingly hot (almost uncomfortably so) and diners were encouraged to eat the dish in the traditional manner that Japanese people ate with their fingers before the invention of chop sticks. The gold caviar from rare sturgeon fish (caught in Caspian Sea and then reared in Germany) was pointed out to be £10,000 per kilgoram. This, along with many other finely sourced ingredients and the antique nature of the hand made crockery the dishes are served on (some going back 100 years), personally selected by Sushi Master Mitsohiro Araki and the staff overheads in terms of ratio to diner (virtually 1:1), all make me understand the total cost now.
That said, my summary of this meal is that the ingredients were obviously luxurious and a clear joy to have in the main with a couple of great moments that brought joy. I have no doubt it is mathematically worth the price tag but also predict that you will need to be seriously in love with Japanese food to feel this return. An oversight by the restaurant led to some interesting logistics on the day of my visit which also led to me not being able to try the minimalist-style dessert that is given (and actually looked more atune to petit fors from seeing briefly), but these issues were kindly dealt with by the management.
Some wonderful and rare things to experience here and served in a very bespoke and heartfelt manner.
Food Grade: 84%
Location (Click google logo for directions)