Golden Gai, Soho
From the team behind cult Dalston restaurant Angelina, atmospheric bar Golden Gai offers innovative Italo-Japanese cocktails, from the ‘Tokyo Banana’ with toki, yellow chartreuse, ginger, black garlic honey, banana and Laphroaig to the ‘Negroni Al Fresco’, made with lemon verbena. When it comes to food, there’s a small selection of piadine flatbreads and a signature formaggio bento Italian cheese board – all served with Japanese accoutrements such as aged tofu, miso, wakame, seaweed toma and truffled soy.
16 D'Arblay Street, Soho, W1F 8EA
Nanban means ‘southern barbarian’, a term once used to describe the first European visitors to Japan centuries ago. Here, MasterChef champ Tim Anderson celebrates this ‘barbaric’ side of Japanese cuisine with new takes on traditional dishes that incorporate the international flavours of Brixton Market. Guests can tuck into ramen, gyoza and curries, burgers laced with gochujang, and matcha affogatos for dessert. The deep-fried ‘electric eel’ is a must-order.
426 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LF
Sushi expert Taiji Maruyama opened Maru in Shepherd Market last autumn. The second restaurant from the team behind Taka, Maru offers diners an immersive experience, serving a 20-course farm-to-table tasting menu, presented omakase style to guests seated around an intimate counter accommodating 10. Maruyama previously worked in Tokyo, as well as at Nobu, Beaverbrook and Taka, and hopes to introduce his guests to a new way of eating: the omakase principle is taken to the next level with the chefs behind the counter serving all aspects of the meal to their guests, including the drinks, which they also make. The menu combines British ingredients with classical training and techniques and changes daily, with dishes influenced by what Maruyama decides to serve and by what ingredients are seasonally and locally available.
18 Shepherd Market, Mayfair, W1J 7QH
Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, Various Locations
This acclaimed Danish sushi house now has sites in Covent Garden, Victoria, Soho, Chelsea, Canary Wharf, Greenwich and Wimbledon (plus spots in Oxford and Cambridge). Focusing equally on traditional sushi and yakitori sticks from the grill, there’s a selection of chicken, pork, beef and vegetable skewers for those not so keen on fish. Our favourite spot in London is the Henrietta Street branch – dim lighting and large round tables make it the perfect spot for getting a group together to devour one of its platters (we like the san-ban menu, which features scallop ceviche, wagyu maki and miso black cod).