Japanese-inspired bar and nightclub designed by Ashley Sutton
What do Akira Kurosawa’s seminal samurai film Yojimbo, the country’s imperial past, Harajuku punks and Ginza’s storied drinking culture have in common? Apart from them being Japanese, absolutely nothing. And yet, these chalk, cheese and rising suns collide in Dining Concepts’ new cocktail bar and nightclub, Yojimbo, which has taken over the spot formerly occupied by Boujis. Much like a kid having a blast trying to fit together puzzle pieces that don’t match, designer Ash Sutton clearly isn’t here to pander to historians or cinephiles. He’s more interested in being fun than coherent or cohesive – and that’s absolutely fine.
Once we’re past the door and through the curtains, we’re met with a good-sized seating area – replete with rising sun chairs – prefacing the main bulk of the club, a more chill place to start the night. Stepping through into the main area, we’re struck by how understated the surrounds are given the ostentatious nature of Sutton’s previous efforts at Ophelia, J Boroski and The Iron Fairies. Another rising sun is the predominant decoration here thanks to a giant light fixture that spreads across the entire left-hand side of the club.
As for the drinks, with Alberto Aldave, formerly of The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz London, in charge, we expect big things. Thankfully, Yojimbo delivers. To kick off, we opt for the Yakuza Revenge ($130) with José Cuervo tequila, Campari, Lillet Rouge, orange Curaçao and chocolate bitters. Basically a modified negroni, the extra accoutrements add some satisfying complexity while the tequila and bitters are used sparingly and don’t muscle out the main players.
Next up, the Geisha’s Aphrodisiac ($130) with Calvados, Grand Marnier, peach purée, fresh lemon juice, vanilla syrup, Grenadine syrup and redcurrant. Though it sounds sweet, the lemon juice cuts through the syrup, giving the brandy and Marnier a chance to shine. Last up, Yojimbo’s take on the vodka martini – Ninja Shadow ($130) – is an elaborate combination of Beluga vodka, fresh lemon juice, Dolin dry vermouth, elderflower syrup, plum bitters and salt solution. Again, the peripheral ingredients are kept suitably in check and the drink is stirred and prepared with expert precision – there’s no dilution through over-working, which is great.
With Yojimbo, Dining Concepts have once again created an exciting space with good drinks that isn’t afraid to be loud – even borderline gregarious – with its themes, inspirations and execution. That’s something to be applauded.
Shop 2-7, Car Po Commercial Building
37 Pottinger Street
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