40 � squaremeal.co.uk
64 Turnmill Street, EC1M 5RR
020 3805 2304 ££££
Sosharu breaks new ground for Jason
Atherton's Social empire: not only is the
newest project from Britain's most prolific
chef a Japanese restaurant, it's Atherton's
first Clerkenwell venue (on the site of 1990s
club Turnmills). �e dramatic space has
daylight flooding through huge windows,
although expanses of concrete make it look
sombre at night. It's big - 85 covers - but
clever partitioning means it feels intimate.
Chef Alex Craciun spent a year in Japan,
training that's visible in the highly creative
dishes. A spin on a temaki hand roll
involving tuna and spring onion gingerly
held in a carapace of crisp seaweed has
become one of our favourite things to eat
in London: an ultra-refined Japanese taco.
Sea bream sashimi wrapped around crispy
potato atop an addictively spiced sauce was
another hit, while melt-in-the-mouth fatty
tuna will thrill purists.
Hot dishes fare equally
well. All the tempura we
tried (including broccoli
with kimchi dressing) was
distinguished by featherlight
frying and zingy
accompaniments. A hibachi
grill dish of skewered chicken
skin with fat meatballs also
slipped down a treat.
Alas, go with a hearty
appetite and the cost swiftly mounts: two
hungry diners could easily put away half
the small-plates menu. Tense staff also do
little to imbue the space with warmth.
Kisetsu, a chef's counter serving an
omakase menu, was due to open as we went
to press. But our favourite bit apart from
the tuna temaki? �e high-tech loos.
23 Conduit Street, W1S 2XS
020 3544 0618 ££££
Tokimeitē is Japanese chef Yoshihiro
Murata's second bite of the London cherry;
his first, Chrysan, was a tie-in with the
Hakkasan group and opened in 2012,
although the restaurant lasted under a year.
Now he's returned with the backing of
the Zen-Noh Group, the business arm of
Japan's largest agricultural cooperative.
�e restaurant name means 'butterflies',
although it's unclear whether this
applies to Murata-San's feelings about
cracking London, or diners' monetary
fears about entering a Mayfair Japanese
venue specialising in Wagyu beef. Still,
if Tokimeitē lasts four decades, as did
the site's previous occupant, Sakura, then
Murata and his backers will be happy.
�e omens are good. Tokimeitē is smart,
spread over three floors and furnished in
the clean lines and pale woods that are de
rigueur for modern Japanese establishments;
we prefer the ground floor, with its robata
grill, open kitchen and cocktail bar; upstairs
has less life, although a private room
enclosed in a wooden cocoon looks fun.
Murata holds seven Michelin stars spread
across three restaurants in Japan, but he's
only consulting here. �e cooking, though,
matches the local Japanese competition,
without adding anything new to a crowded
Mayfair market. �e Wagyu takes the form
of truffled tartare rolls, sushi, shabu shabu,
steaks and, notably, the must-order sukiyaki
with truffle sauce. More modest dishes
include char-grilled edamame and salads -
modest, that is, until the bill arrives.
Still, no-one comes to Conduit Street for
cheap eats, and as an impressive, businessfriendly
newcomer, Tokimeitē fits the bill.
MUST ORDER Tuna temaki with spiced mayo
LIKE THIS? TRY THESE Aqua Kyoto 020 3589 3945 High-end Japanese, big on luxury ingredients and razzmatazz Sake No Hana 020 7925
8988 A vast menu o�ers the greatest hits of the Japanese table Sumosan 020 3641 5822 Creative sushi is the standout at this modern Japanese in Mayfair
MUST ORDER Wagyu sukiyaki with tru�e
A superb regional saké
list supports a selection of
wine that majors on French
bottles. It's generally pricey, but
you're paying for quality with some
exciting wines from top producers
plus big bucks châteaux. BEST
BUY St Bris 2014, Domaine Goisot,
Auxerrois, Burgundy, France, £48
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