If Nobu alumni Masaki Sugisaki and Keiji Fuku said au revoir to Nobu as it became a tourist attraction rather than a restaurant, populated by Wags, Simon Cowell and pap-hungry diners, their current abode, Dinings, is so out of that world. A celebratory (and expensive) orgy of blisteringly impressive Japanaese ‘tapas’ in unassuming, borderline cramped, almost spartan Marylebone surroundings.
We came here while the London food glitterati and reviewing literati (as well as upscale wags and pap-hunting diners) all flocked to show-off SexyFish. Dinings won’t be hosting any album launches, the entrance isn’t awash with photographers looking for Rita Ora and Kate Moss, they don’t sprinkle gold leaf on their dishes for opulent, pointless extravagance . What you pay here is for innovative Japanese fusion creations and unassumingly stunning sushi.
You enter a Georgian townhouse, past a tiny sushi bar/counter with a few stools to a basement of only eight or nine tables. In terms of style and decor, I could be in a mini-Wagamama. Plain black bench tables, whitewashed walls. Minimalist to the simplest degree. Until you eat.
Some Nobu-tinged favourites make an appearance. Crispy tar-tar chips with seared Japanese Wagyu beef with chilli miso, delicious ‘Toro’ fatty tuna with jalapeño mayonnaise and indulgent Scottish Native lobster. Sourcing and needle-sharp freshness is what you would and should expect. Our bouches are freshly and richly amused, accompanied by delicate, graceful Seitoku Junmai Ginjo sake from an impressive Sake selection.
Cold tapas dishes include arguably the star of tonight’s show, Seabass carpaccio with fresh autumn truffle and ponzu jelly,‘Hamachi’ Yellowtail sashimi and Seabass sashimi with ‘yuzu daikon’ pickles. All delicate, precisely flavoured and quietly luxurious. Simple, beautiful.
Accompanied by sizzling scallops with yuzu garlic chilli soy, another nod to Nobu with grilled chilli garlic black cod and a standout double crab extravaganza of Cornish spider and soft shell crab roll. The daily special of Oysters three ways was an indulgent add-on but for once, I’m not thinking of my wallet. especially with the arrival of another taste-bud showstopper, Fresh water eel and pan-fried foie-gras roll with sweet soy sauce. Sharp meaty eel dancing with rich, almost creamy, foie gras.
The bill said goodbye to something like the average monthly wage of half the world’s workers but crucially, at no point was that for anything other than what was served on a plate. When I was an impressionable teenager, I was semi-obsessed with Brideshead Revisited. At one point in the book, Julia Flyte is bought her wedding ring, not from the grand opulent jewellers her family would expect, but a backstreet, almost dodgy diamond dealer. She finds that sexy. Translate that into Japanese cuisine and you have me at Dinings.
22 Harcourt Street, W1H, 4HH
0207 723 0666