Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Shiori

Presenting the art and soul of Kaiseki in London

Located just down the road from Baywater station, The Shiori is a relaunch of Sushi of Shiori, which I never had the chance to visit but I'd heard so many great things about it. I've always been on the hunt, seeking fine Japanese food in London and so far I've yet to find one! However The Shiori turned out to be the perfect answer.

The d├ęcor is beautiful using classical Japanese elements to really give you an authentic feel to the place. This place is a tiny operation run by a husband and wife team, which properly can sit up to about 15 guests. We went for the mini Kaiseki menu at £50 for 6 courses. I was never a big fan of sake but I ordered a sake tasting flight anyway as I am in a Japanese restaurant, and oh my! All the sake turned out to taste really light, crisp and refreshing! It was totally unexpected and after checking with the manager, they only stock top quality sakes from special boutique merchandisers. I guess just like most drinks, you get both the bad and the good in terms of value vs quality.
Sake selection

The first course, monkfish liver and sea bream was absolutely delightful. The fish was freshly prepared, the sea bream was light and sweet with the monkfish liver really adding a good depth of richness, topping it off with some fine chopped vegetable and a dash of lime juice to give the dish just a hint of sourness which was a nice touch.
 monkfish liver and sea bream

Next up is a selection of sashimi, all the fish were perfectly executed but the tuna and mackerel was the highlight. The tuna fat was at the perfect level, smooth and rich just as good as tuna should be, the mackerel was sweet with that tiny hint of bitterness and really worked well with the freshly grounded wasabi and Japanese soy sauces.

Third course was a broth of crab cake, Japanese mushroom and leek. I've never tasted any broth quite like this before, it was so light but yet packed with very interesting flavours. The crab cake was sweet and fresh whilst the vegetables was soft and crisp to give it a very nice contrast in both the texture and taste, it was very enjoyable.
crab cake broth

Up next was another very interesting dish of prawn wrapped in pickled vegetable, the prawn was so fresh and juicy, the lightly sour taste of the pickled vegetable released a very good balance and the side of seaweed and cucumber was well crafted in terms of both presentation and taste, showcasing some top level knife skills. 
prawn wrapped in pickled vegetable

Course No. 6, a selection of nigiri sushi, this was stunning and the dish of the day. The freshness of the fish was second to none, the yellow tail and sea bass was just packed with flavours of the sea, each sushi came with different garnish such as black truffle and miso. And the rice is well worth a special mention, the rice's sourness was at the perfect level and each piece of rice was soft but not broken in form, exquisite.
nigiri sushi

Finishing off the meal with home make green tea ice cream, the crunchy and nutty taste from the biscuit really brought out the richness of the milky green tea ice cream, freshly made on the day makes all the difference with all the raw flavours coming through nicely. The manager has to be one of the friendliest front of house I encountered. Took the time to really explain the concept, the theory and art of Japanese food as well as teaching us how to cook simple Japanese dishes at home! We had a lovely time chatting together to complete a very memorable meal.
green tea ice cream

This was by far the best Japanese meal I've had in London, and it was wonderful to see a restaurant focusing on single concept/ style to seek perfection rather than trying to do too much to please everyone. The whole experience was just so refined and elegant, and the cost was very reasonable considering the quality of the ingredients and the skills from the kitchen, plus the service was probably the best I've had in London in a none Michelin star venue, simply brilliant. I am very interested to see if the full tasting Kokoro menu can take me to another level. I will return.

Food 7.5
Service 9
Ambience 9
Value 7

£62 per head

45 Moscow Road
London W2 4AH

The Shiori on Urbanspoon

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