This cavernous, 120-seat restaurant in Windsor reopened in March 2018 after a major overhaul of food and fit-out.
The building was erected in 1887 to be a furniture and carpets store. It still has the name of the original owner, Henry Morris Jones, in relief on the facade. In contrast, the interior is modern. The main marble island bar is blindingly white, the checkered black-and-white floor tiles glint, and while the velvet and leather couches are glossy and plush. And artist David Bromley raided his private collection to fill the walls with 1960s Japanese art.
The menu fuses the current food, flavours and cooking techniques of LA and San Francisco with Japanese cuisine. That means a lot of raw fish. The first half of the extensive, not-so-vegetarian-friendly menu focuses on sushi and seafood presented either rolled, cut or nigiri, or as a larger raw dish.
Behind the bar there’s a rice cooker next to the garnishes, and among the dozen or so bartenders shaking cocktails there are two sushi chefs.
The tuna otoro nigiri is (fatty tuna belly) is imported fresh from Japan every two days, cut thick, quickly kissed with a blowtorch flame, then topped with a pinch of scampi caviar. It also comes with a side of liquid nitrogen that’s poured at the table for the full Heston effect.
And there’s a crab and sea urchin “nachos” – a single puffed chip made of nori (seaweed) and dashi (a stock of kelp and fermented tuna), topped with crab salad, whipped sea urchin and chipotle queso. The cocktails are as elaborate. The Nakatomi Old Fashioned is mixed, smoked in the glass, then de-lidded at the table to inevitable oohs and ahs.
There’s also a strong international wine list, some easy-drinking Japanese draught beers, and four types of Espresso Martini.