Head to decadent Nozomi for a much more stylish and Japanese affair in Mayfair. Here you’ll find the pretty restaurant offering a lesson in aesthetics, drinking and taking in the atmosphere for the New Year.
In three words: Stylish, Tantalising, Seductive
The Lowdown: Yep, it’s now 2015. New year, new mindset. Whether your resolutions involve eating healthier, trying exciting new things, spending time with your loved ones, or treating yourself more, then we can recommend a place that fulfils all these wishes – Nozomi in Mayfair.
This sensational restaurant not only offers fine-dining with a focus on beautiful, tasty dishes, but Japanese fare is known to be one of the healthiest in the world. So, if you are watching the waistline then it’s the perfect place to eat out while still enjoying a glamorous evening. While to some sushi brings to mind a central conveyor belt and more sterile environments, Nozomi has a hint of delicious decadence about it. It’s sleek and sultry, and has the kind of cocktail list that makes you kick dry-January to the curb without a second thought.
Location: Nestled along the swanky and impressive Beauchamp Place in Mayfair, just around the corner from the shimmering lights of Harrods and Harvey Nics, sits Nozomi. Chic white steps, midnight black awning, and a glass facade offering a peek at the glamour within.
The Occasion: Nozomi is an ideal date-night location – the mood lighting, luxe surroundings and sense of cool opulence make it an ideal place to get glammed up and come and share some food. It’s also great for a group celebration – bring the party to Nozomi and soak up the ambience.
Decor: The front of house cocktail bar is a lesson in aesthetic sexiness, with a gorgeous granite counter, silver grey seats and rich dark wood tables to balance your martinis atop. Step into the main restaurant and you’re greeted with art-deco chic, including sumptuous leather banquettes, more of that mirror-shining wood, and a sweeping glass ceiling.
Atmosphere: Nozomi is as sleek and elegant as elaborate calligraphy; it has the confident prowess of a slinking tiger. There’s a wonderful sense of occasion while dining here – you’ll really feel you are in for something special.
Culinary Concept: As is often the case with Japanese restaurants, there are no discernible starters, mains and desserts. Instead, the menu is divided into tantalising sections including sushi, dumplings, small dishes, seafood and meat. Teriyaki, miso and soy abound, along with Asian favourites of chilli, ginger, ponzu and daikon. Lovers of this delicate, fragrant cooking style have cause to celebrate indeed.
What we tried:
We started with some sensational sashimi – light as a whisper on the tongue, but with a massive punch of fresh flavour. The Unagi was particularly fine, with the smoky taste of mackerel in a sticky, sweet coating that lingered wonderfully and was cut through with fresh ginger.
Seafood dumplings were grilled pockets of glorious, delicate fish with a tangy sauce, while Wagyu Beef Tataki came as a plate laden with slivers of ruby-red meat, seared to perfection so that the amazing flesh-flavour remained and was heightened by a fierce ginger dressing.
The oven roasted duck breast was hearty and nicely pink, made slightly sweet with orange miso glaze and teriyaki sauce, while seared scallops almost stole the show with Ume Boshi Relish, topped with the salty luxury of oscietra caviar. They were pillows of intense flavour that seemed to burst in the mouth and then be gone, leaving the memory of all the complex, layered tastes that the head chef has mastered.
But the star of the meal was undoubtably the Black Cod, grilled and served with Nozomi miso and pickled daikon. It was like no Japanese fish dish I’d tried before. The miso glaze had that wonderful Asian sweetness, and the fish flaked away in chunks as snowy white as the peak of Mount Fuji. If you do visit Nozomi, this is the dish to order.
For next time: We would be happy literally working our way through everything on this menu thrice. Judging by what we ate, it would all be incredible. But this would be both highly gluttonous and probably rather expensive, so next time we will definitely be making a bee-line for the Chilean Sea-Bass marinated in spicy miso and baked on cedar-wood, and the slow cooked pork belly with herb infused soy sauce. Oh, and since we didn’t try the desserts, then an order of the deep fried crème brûlée served with a mango and pineapple carpaccio would finish things off nicely.
Veggie delights: As long as you eat fish then you can try all the very best items on the menu. But for those who eschew even the smallest bit of seafood then fear not – there are vegetarian versions of gyoza, tempura, kushi skewers, as well as mushroom rice cooked in a clay pot and even a tofu steak.
Best of the booze: Nozomi offers an exciting and eclectic cocktail list that will have the mixologist in you shivering in delight. For fans of sake, dip into the specially crafted options like the Japanese Old Fashioned (a mouth-watering take on the classic using Yamazaky Whiskey and Sake infused with caramel and ginger), and the Pomelo Martini. This is a sharp and thirst-quenching combination of pink grapefruit shaken with grapefruit vodka, sake and hibiscus syrup, and comes with a sprinkling of chilli so you can add your own fiery kick. Another absolute must is the Ginger Martini – just sweet enough, with that wonderful warmth that fresh ginger brings.
Fun Fact: Nozomi is one of the forerunners in championing Velocity – a new app that allows diners to pay using their phones, thus streamlining their eating experience. After a successful trial in December, we await the launch in March with excitement.
Overall: Whether you’re attempting to be healthy or not, it doesn’t matter – Japanese food delivers on freshness and taste, and nowhere is nailing it better than Nozomi. The quality is incredible, the variety is impressive, and every dish sets the taste buds dancing for joy. Not only that, but the cocktail menu is a real triumph. If there’s one resolution you make in 2015, try and ensure you visit this absolute gem of a restaurant.
14 – 15 Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge, SW3 1NQ
+44 20 7838 1500