Baldwin Ho reviews luxury Mayfair restaurant, Cube – a new addition to London's premium Japanese scene.
With the latest three-Michelin starred restaurant in London being a premium grade sushi restaurant serving only nine, there is definitely a growing interest in high-end raw fish in London. The glittering list of such premium Japanese restaurants includes Kikuchi, Tsukiji and three-Michelin starred, The Araki. And, there is one more to add to this list: Cube.
The pedigree is impeccable. The head chef used to work for Sake no Hana and Nobu, whilst their bar manager used to work at Tokimeite and Kouzu. If you want to admire the masterful knife skills of head chef Osamu Mizuno, then book a counter table and sample their omakase menu. This tasting menu involves three kinds of assorted starters, ten pieces of chef's special nigiri, based on seasonal ingredients, maki sushi and an umami clear soup for £75pp. You might think this is pricey, but it is only a quarter of the price of the equivalent menu at The Araki.
The starters we received included a simple dish of spinach broccoli, which tasted sublime with the addition of sesame miso sauce. Capelin isn't a fish dish you see often at a Japanese restaurant, but their capelin yuzu nanban had an appetising citrusy kick which set the scene for the sushi courses later on. Duck and pickles only had a thin layer of fat, which was equally pleasing. Although, I do find it puzzling when Japanese restaurants like to call their starters ‘tapas’ dishes.
The highlight of the evening was no doubt the chef preparing the special nigiri courses. Despite his austere exterior, the head chef was extremely affable and was on hand to explain each dish. The provenance of the raw fish is always fascinating; you might think the best quality tunas are direct from Japan, but nowadays most of the top UK Japanese restaurants source their Bluefin tuna from off the coast of Spain. The fatty tuna we tried had a deep, vibrant red colour and had a silky, smooth texture which is hard to match elsewhere in London.
It was generally a roll call of winners, especially the more unusual offerings: Botan prawns had a delicious sweetness, whilst the eel was coated with a thick hickory-flavoured sauce that was packed with umami goodness. You might notice their sushi chef makes numerous cuts into their raw fish, so much so that the blow-torched salmon nigiri resembled a porcupine; this is so the sauces and spices readily seep into the nigiri.
Next up was a crunchy, well-constructed soft-shell crab tempura roll and then finished off with an umami clear soup. If there is any constructive feedback I can offer, it might be a tasting menu, but don't walk out expecting you might suffer from a food coma. This is very much a case of quality over quantity and Cube is up there with the very best of the high-end Japanese restaurants you will find in London.
Make your booking here.
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