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A sushi restaurant in Mayfair.
Tucked into the tiny eighteenth-century jewel of a square that is Shepherd Market, this sushi restaurant has a perfect location. Inside, it’s pleasantly unstuffy: a narrow room with heavy dark-wood panelling, wipe-clean banquettes and a soundtrack of sugary pop.
The menu is large, with dedicated robata and kushiyaki (grilled and fried skewers) sections, but sushi is by far the best thing to order here so let’s start with that. A highlight was the soft-shell crab roll dotted with beautifully orange cod roe – so often metallic, the meat of this crab was juicy and crisp. A prawn tempura roll, too, was texturally rich; the sushi rice delicate, with a good bite. The quality of the fish at Taka is very high – tuna nigiri, particularly, was succulent. But Taka has a bit of a problem with over-saucing. Perceptible in the otherwise impressive rolls, this was pronounced on the non-sushi side of the menu. Hamachi (young Japanese amberjack or tuna) carpaccio came with a really overwhelming truffle dressing. Dishes of diced aubergine, vegetable tempura and octopus karaage were massively over-fried. And while the service was friendly, they also did that annoying thing of bringing every single dish at the same time so you feel rushed into eating unbelievably fast and spend the whole time anxious about knocking something over.
Go to Taka if you fancy Japanese and you’re in Shepherd Market, but stick to the sushi. And ask them to take it slow.
18 Shepherd Market
|Transport:||Tube: Green Park|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: £75.|
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