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Aesthetics are important, don’t you think? That holds true for virtually everything on a date, from presentation of self, through use of language, ease of interaction to choice of venue for dinner and the appearance of whatever is magicked on to the plate. At Kanpai, you can concentrate on chat, eye contact and the avoidance of wardrobe malfunction because the food is reliably drop-dead gorgeous and serves as a launchpad for all kinds of conversations.
The restaurant opened in 2011, the décor is all clean lines, wood and Japanese minimalism, while the menu covers everything from miso soup via all the usual maki sushi, nigiri and sashimi to octopus fishcakes, assorted tempura, teppan teriyaki salmon and teppan sirloin steak.
All restaurants involve ritualised behaviour to some extent but it’s thrown into sharper relief when the food culture is so markedly different to granny’s mince and tatties. Sitting in Kanpai, gazing at the colour, form and decorative splendour of the sashimi platter for instance – sipping on saki, and trying to make sense of a whole different attitude to food – can serve as a real bonding experience, especially if it’s a new for the individuals on both sides of the table. Perfect for a date then.