In a nutshell: The second restaurant from Marylebone’s contemporary Japanese restaurant, focusing on traditional izakaya style cuisine with modern European twists.
Restaurant review: After 10 years of fine-tuning its contemporary Japanese offering, tiny Marylebone restaurant Dinings has opened a new spot in a grade-II listed building in Knightsbridge.
Hospitality starts at the door: shortly after being seated expect warm towels and edamame beans. Order a cocktail while you peruse the menu of sashimi, sushi and modern Japanese tapas that has evolved from traditional Japanese Izakaya cuisine. The Dinings martini is a great way to kick things off, combining umeboshi (a sweet and sour Japanese pickled plum) with oil made from shiso (Japanese mint). Or, try Dinings’ own-label sake from Konotomo, a family-run brewery in Japan.
Start with the impressive sashimi platter; a heavy stone box filled with ice piled high with tiny, perfectly constructed mouthfuls, such as mosaic salmon wrapped in crunchy kohlrabi, sea bass carpaccio and hay-smoked toro (fatty tuna).
The gentle smoky flavour was achieved with a Josper grill, using charcoals that reach 480C, which also help to create other robata-style dishes on the menu, such as tender chicken teriyaki skewers and scallops with punchy and refreshing wasabi salsa.
For desserts, go for the trio of crème brûlées – buttery wasanbon sugar with kuromitsu (molasses-like black honey), charcoal-roasted hoji tea topped with sweet nashi pear, and black sesame with passion fruit caviar – and pair with one of the many green and oolong teas on offer, served at 40C so the subtle aromas come through without burning the leaves.
Expect to leave feeling somewhere between happily zen and really special from the attentive Japanese hospitality.
Menu must-order: The nasu miso grilled aubergine, slow-cooked in sweet miso, was so deeply caramelised and rich in umami that we ordered a second for pre-dessert.
Price range: Expensive