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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Chic and high end omakase counter in super plush Mayfair

Taku is an extremely serious place. So serious that when me and my friend arrive at the plush Albemarle Street address, the front door is unbolted to let us in, and then swiftly locked behind us. Welcome to sushi Alcatraz. With a maximum of 16 covers who perch along a light pine bar, this highly fancy omakase joint is headed up by chef Takuya Watanabe. Watanabe knows good fish – he used to be behind the counter at Jin, Paris’s first omakase to score a Michelin star – and now he’s bringing edomae to one of Mayfair’s grandest thoroughfares. Harking back to the way fish was cured with vinegar to preserve it during the 1800s Edo-period, this is a deeply traditional style of Japanese cuisine. But before we take a little trip to the past, we’re delivered a round of bracingly modern small dishes as part of our 20 – 20! – course set dinner. 

Using largely British ingredients, first comes a tiny white pot of mussel soup, steamingly hot, bracingly fishy and as transportive to the seaside as the fast train to Margate. Then it’s time for slithers of catwalk-worthy line-caught sea bass from Cornwall before a hilariously good and creamy French abalone risotto which is graced with shavings of white truffle. Even more attractive is a bowl of steamed lobster held captive in a glistening jelly, then layered with folds of sea urchin and dotted with teeny tiny purple flowers. Each dish is incredible, yet in this rather clinical setting it’s hard to enjoy these chic delights with anything more than hushed reverence and whispered yummy noises. Such stillness also makes nattering about anything even slightly scandalous – aka the ideal dinner conversation – seem impossible. 

Mussel soup is steamingly hot, bracingly fishy and as transportive to the seaside as the fast train to Margate. 

When Watanabe gets to work on the sushi is when the theatre of omakase truly begins; there he is, slicing fish, shaping rice and personally delivering each piece to the diners. We are told that to experience the sushi at its best we must eat it within 10 seconds of it being made. This is as thrilling as it is daunting. Launching beautiful, hand pressed sardine, trout and tuna nigiri into your mouth at high speed is intense, but worth it for the purity of flavour and expertly seasoned rice still warm from Watanabe’s hands. After that, it’s just about possible to squeeze in a trio of puddings – the Mont Blanc chestnut puree coming in first place and dainty clementine mousse a close second. 

Yet such extravagance – and skill – doesn’t come cheap. The lunch offering is £180 for 17 courses, while Taku’s signature menu of 20 dishes comes in at £280. The prestige version is even more of a reach. A bank-busting £380, it sets itself apart with high end smatterings of caviar and truffle as well as additional courses. And that’s all before the booze – but such is the price of a night spent with sushi royalty. 

The vibe Reverential omakase sushi dining in the fanciest part of town.  

The food Twenty courses of expertly prepared sushi, including some magnificent starters and delicate desserts. 

The drinks Sommelier Bowie Tsang has chosen rare wines, posh champagnes and specialty sakes to match the menu. 

Time Out tip Save yourself £100 by going for the lunch menu rather than the £280 dinner.

Leonie Cooper
Written by
Leonie Cooper


36 Albemarle St
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