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WABI LONDON

7 March 2013

I recently visited new Japanese restaurant Wabi, from former Nobu head chef Scott Hallsworth, and had one of the best dining experiences I can remember in London. We went for the ten course tasting menu - eleven if you include the charming dessert chef (and fellow ex-Nobu alumni) Sergio del Castillo Mora's complementary dish - and not one disappointed.

Wabi London lounge bar

We sat in the dark, sleek lounge for pre-dinner cocktails (I had Honey Blossom, a rich Champagne cocktail topped with Akashi-tai Umeshi and a dash of honey, he had the zesty Winter in Nagano with vodka, limoncello, lime juice and pomegranate; both bang on the mark) before taking our seats at the table.  The decor in the dining room and sushi bar is minimal and understated in that typically Japanese way; smart, clean lines, soft colours and subdued lighting which complements the contemporary, modern cuisine.

Wabi London cocktails

We ordered a bottle of Sancerre from the extensive (if a little overpriced) wine menu, grouped by regions into good selections, then started with the best edamame beans I've tasted; warm, tender and fire roasted with delicious-but-naughty tea-smoked pork scratchings.

Wabi London edamame beans and pork scratchings

Next up, crunchy Temaki cones were served with toro chopped tuna, wasabi cream and charcoal onions. Very good, very moreish. Seabass sashimi followed, served with homemade koji, then yellowtail sashimi with smoky nasu and frothy yuzu bubbles.

seabass sashimi at Japanese restaurant Wabi

The lobster and chips course was an unusual one; kombu and butter poached lobster with uni, vegetable chips and yuzu truffle egg dip - unexpected, but then Wabi prides itself on showing that there's more to Japanese cuisine than sushi and sashimi.


Next up is a beautiful warm Loch Duart salmon with lemon miso, green chilli salsa and a decorative piece of burnt cedar wood which infused smoke throughout the whole dish.  One of my favourites.


The Wagyu steak ishi-yaki was served with sizzling hot BBQ sauce and grilled vegetables over a flame. Tender, rich, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.  A small plate of today's special sushi was up next, before the desserts: a calpico sorbet with tasty sloe gin jelly, then deconstructed tiramisu, before finishing with a raspberry and beetroot sorbet with petal decoration.

Wabi London

The team made the evening too - our waiter Serjio was attentive, polite and amusing and our Aussie barman Adam served us a couple of cocktails on the house and talked with great passion about (and insisting we sample) their selection of Japanese whiskies.

Pleasant staff, sleek decor, good drinks, outstanding food, nicely-presented and perfectly sized portions; we left full, impressed and promising to return to do it all over again. Checking out Wabi is a must.

Wabi, 36-38 Kingsway, London WC2B 6EY
Wabi on Urbanspoon

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