Top Japanese pop up
There are many top Japanese restaurants in London already, from Nobu, Zuma to Saka no Hana and Roka. But I just got to say they are far too expensive for what they are offering. I don't understand why a plate of grilled fish can cost more than £40, and a few pieces of sushi can cost more than £30, hence I rarely go for Japanese food when going out as it is hard to find a value for money joint. So when I discovered there is an informal but high-end Japanese pop up coming to town by Australian chef Shaun Presland, I had little interest. However, after checking the menu, it seems the quality of the ingredients that Shaun is using is really interesting, things that you won't see much elsewhere, such as kingfish and abalone.
|Seabass sashimi white soy|
To test out the sushi skill from the kitchen, I ordered a plate of seabass sashimi. The fattiness of the fish was fantastic, the sesame and crystal salt seasoning was spot on. It was not classic Japanese for sure but the taste was simply wonderful. On to the main, the wagyu steak from Australia had a melting texture as expected. The smoky, rich-tasting beef was so moist that I was amazed it is only costing £25 for a plate. Similar things in other top-end Japanese restaurants would set you back at least £50. However, even better was the miso toothfish, it was so flaky, buttery with an overwhelming umami flavour. It was fish cookery at the highest order and can rival any top Michelin restaurants in London.
|Crispy skin hiramasa kingfish|
|Deep-fried lobster, umami banging sauce, spring onion|
|Robata grilled wagyu BBQ dressing and wasabi chimi-churi dipping sauces|
I dined at its soft launch period, so the menu is much reduced with less than 20 dishes from its a la carte menu. I am keen to return before the pop up is over as I really enjoy this modern Japenense popup. The cooking quality was top class and while it might look simple just from the presentation, I am sure plenty of hard work went into it. The service was pretty weak which was to expected as it was in its soft launch stage. Based on what I have experienced, give it a few more weeks, once the kitchen is used to the London environment and fine-tuned its offering, it could well on to become one of the best Japenese restaurants in London, just such a shame is only a popup!
Average cost without drinks and services:
10 Heddon Street Mayfair, London W1B 4BX