RESTAURANT REVIEW: Diplomat enjoys traditional Japanese cuisine at Ginza Onodera
Diplomat enjoys traditional Japanese cuisine at Ginza Onodera in St James
PART OF THE ONODERA GROUP, which has restaurants in Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles and New York, Ginza Onodera focuses on traditional Japanese cuisine and techniques at its Bury Street location in St James. The restaurant’s à la cartemenu spans kobachi (rarely seen in London), tataki, tartare, sushi and sashimi, as well as teppan-yaki and robata grill dishes. The menu is long, but our waitress was on-hand to advise us on the path ahead.
We began with sharing a selection of starters: wagyu carpaccio with soy sauce, ginger and truffle melted in the mouth. Next the scallop, caviar and ponzu jelly had a zingy kick; crab croquettes were rich and decadent with a creamy bechamel filling. The star of the show was the spicy tuna tartare, with gochujang, pine nuts, burdock chips and red miso. Deep purple and minced so finely, it was a different consistency to any other version of this dish I had previously encountered. The tuna alone was worth the trip. We followed this with a 10-piece sashimi plate of rich marbled fatty tuna, white fish and salmon that was served on beetroot carpaccio above a bed of ice, decorated with fresh colourful, edible flowers. As you would expect, the quality of the sushi and sashimi at Onodera is unrivalled. For a truly interactive experience, diners can take a seat at the counter and watch as sashimi is sliced, and seafood shelled. Our final course of Black Angus fillet steak and black cod saikyo yaki both came direct from the robata grill. These too were exquisite.
The cocktail menu fuses Japanese flavours with fresh, seasonal ingredients and carefully curated craft spirits, while whisky lovers will appreciate Onodera’s extensive collection of over 35 Japanese and international single malts and blends. The wine and sake list is impressive. Our glasses of Chablis were the perfect accompaniment to the meal. With no room for pudding, the sommelier was keen for us to try one more thing: a glass of a zingy sparkling saki. A first for me and quite delicious.
For special occasions, Ginza Onodera has three private dining rooms, and the exclusive sushi suite and teppanyaki room each come complete with a dedicated chef, who will expertly prepare your dishes at the central counter. A range of tasting and set menus offer huge possibilities, but crucially for those without a corporate credit card, the set lunch menu starts at £15. A Japanese afternoon tea menu also looks like a lot of fun, offering guests a chance to try bite-size portions from the menu, along with the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, or champagne and cocktails for those looking for more of a kick.
GINZA ONODERA , 15 BURY STREET, LONDON SW1Y 6AL T: +44 (0)20 7839 1101