Our expert restaurant review of Cubé, an intimate fine-dining Japanese restaurant in Mayfair that specialises in tapas-style dishes, sushi, rare sakes and whiskies. Next discover the best Japanese restaurants in the UK.


Cubé in a nutshell

This sleek, intimate restaurant brings sushi and Japanese ‘tapas’ with a fine dining twist to Mayfair

Cubé restaurant review

Tucked away on the edge of Mayfair, on Blenheim Street, Japanese restaurant Cubé is small – just 36 covers – but seems larger thanks to a minimalist, sleek décor that’s saved from sparseness by swathes of plush, pale wood panelling everywhere. It’s a bit like having your dinner inside a Scandinavian sauna – in a good way. Combine this with flatteringly dim lighting, a low-key atmosphere and inviting little snugs and corners where you can tuck yourself away, and the effect is welcomingly intimate.

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As well as the main restaurant area on the ground floor, you can also eat, as we did, at the cosy Kakurega bar (meaning hideaway, in Japanese) downstairs. Efficiently run by Reo Nomura (previously of Kouzu and Tokimeite), it’s ideal for those who’d like to raid Cubé’s extensive selection of sakes and Japanese whiskies, and the ‘owner’s cellar’: a stash of rare wines with low mark-ups.

Darkly lit bar with stools and spotlights
The Kakurega bar at Japanese restaurant Cubé in Mayfair

Cubé also have a signature range of Japanese cocktails – we tried, and enjoyed, a sour made with Nikka whisky, and a Citrus Monkey: Monkey 47 gin with fresh pink grapefruit, lime, lemon and grapefruit bitters.

Head chef Osamu Mizuno hails from Nobu and Sake no Hana, and his tapas menu is based on traditional Japanese dishes with the odd European ingredient thrown in, from fresh tofu with yuzu chilli, and steamed egg with foie gras and truffle oil, to rosemary pork kakuni (braised pork belly) and asari clam sakamushi (sake-steamed clams). Order three to four dishes per person, depending on how hungry you are.

A cold plate of al dente broccoli and cooked spinach came drizzled with a creamy sesame miso sauce and slices of crispy lotus root, while spicy tuna tartare was a delicious Japanese spin on a Gallic classic thanks to spankingly fresh fish.

Pieces of cooked beef in green lettuce cups with an orange-coloured salsa
Ox tongue tacos at Cubé

Ox tongue tacos turned out to be a clever Japanese-Mexican mash up; the tender meat served on lettuce cups, with an Asian-style salsa made with punchy red chilli and vinegar.

Dainty ribs of marinated lamb came with a mint oroshi – a Japanese dipping sauce normally made with radish and soy sauce but here made with mint and sour ponzu. Slices of tender pink beef had been aged with salt and koji (a mould used to make sake), and had a gorgeously deep meaty flavour.

Menu must-order at Cubé

Butter-soft scallops are a must if you’re a seafood obsessive; perfectly cooked, they came drizzled with an intense sea urchin butter so delicious we nearly drank it directly from the scallop shell it was served in. The soft, tender lamb with a bronzed, crisp ribbon of fat was another hit; the sour, refreshing oroshi a clever spin on a classic mint sauce.

A selection of small plates of food on a light wood table
Tapas dishes at Cubé

Price range

High end: small plates range from £4.90 to £26.90 (the latter for a plate of blanched lobster sashimi). Sushi starts at £2 for a single nigiri to £32 for a chef’s choice sashimi platter.


Written by Hannah Guinness


Photographs by Kaoru Ishikawa

This week food director Janine has a specially extended chat with MasterChef champion, author, chef and Japanese food expert Tim Anderson. Tim believes cooking Japanese food is a lot easier than people think and he’s written a book, Japaneasy, to prove it! Tim also talks about his time spent living in Japan, how he conquered MasterChef and why it's possible to make the best ever ramen in less than an hour.

olive magazine podcast ep69 - chef and author Tim Anderson on how anyone can cook Japanese food


Hannah Guinness olive magazine portrait
Hannah GuinnessSenior sub editor and drinks writer

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