Cast from the same mould as its Korean sibling Koba (round the corner on Rathbone Street), this smartly dressed Japanese restaurant displays plenty of eastern charm. Nizuni, with its paper lanterns, dark wooden fittings and images of swimming koi carp, has a chilled out feel. At lunchtime, the black banquettes are populated by office workers grabbing a bite; in the evening the atmosphere is more intimate, with plenty of couples coming for a meal.
The contemporary menu hints at the Korean ownership, featuring the likes of squid and kimchi pancakes, or spicy seafood stew, but you’ll also find more standard Japanese izakaya-style dishes such as miso-grilled aubergine, or yakitori. Tuna sashimi arrived reasonably fresh, and a salmon and avocado inside-out roll was well wrapped, but there are more interesting options to explore on the menu, such as earthy beef stew with tofu and noodles served in a clay pot (nabe), or stir-fried pork with kimchi. Infused with Asian flavourings, the short list of desserts is also enticing – our chestnut cake was warm and sticky. The staff can seem a little absent-minded at times, but they’re always agreeable.