Run by brother-and-sister team Andrew and Anastasia Datsenko, Taka Marylebone builds on the success of its original establishment in Mayfair. Set in the premises vacated by fusion restaurant The Providores, the opening benefits from a prime Marylebone location with two floors and terrace seating. It also boasts a brand-new menu designed by group executive chef Taiji Maruyama and head chef Jonathan Dowling.
Drawing inspiration from modern Japanese design, Taka Marylebone has a minimalist feel with a few well-chosen bold details sprinkled on top. A perfect illustration of this is the umbrella-shaped wall-lightning installations that are both visually arresting and a smart nod to Nippon culture. The ground floor’s focal point is the bar’s wall of premium sakes and spirits. The decor successfully combines a sophisticated cocktail-bar vibe with a hint of an industrial aesthetic thanks to its open ceiling. Upstairs, warm wooden tones (mostly light oak) are harmoniously teamed with buttery soft tan leathers, while the clever use of standout lightning fixtures adds real personality to the room. The overall impression is one of minimal elegance, restrained but daring at the same time.
While Japanese flavours and cookery is at the heart of everything, Taka Marylebone takes a commendable approach to seasonality, provenance and local ingredients. Vegetables, for example, are sourced from Nama Yasai, a family-owned East Sussex farm specialising in Japanese produce. In fact, the Nama Yasai Farm Tsukemono – a salad made with preserved vegetables, field greens and shiso dressing – is a highlight.
The menu is divided between Japanese tapas, robata, mochi flatbreads, yakitori and sushi rolls. The general vibe is one of sharing, so pick items from every section and tuck in as they’re brought up to the table.
Don’t miss the bluefin tuna tartare served with smoked Gochujang soy and confit egg yolk. Salty, sweet and with a deep umaminess, this is a seriously addictive dish. Equally impressive is the black cod with yuzu miso. The dish demonstrates a kitchen adept at balancing tastes and flavours with the umami miso and citrusy yuzu elevating the succulent black cod. Other menu highlights include the miso-glazed Wagyu sando made using milk bread from Happy Sky Bakery, and popcorn shrimp with daikon salad.
The selection of drinks to accompany the food is equally on point. The cocktails menu features a selection of craft creations using Japanese ingredients and flavours, while the wine list features a curated list of sakes and international wines.
Dinner, including wine and a selection of Japanese tapas, robana, mochi flatbreads, yakitori and rolls, from £150 for two.
With its rich traditions, Japanese food can feel intimidating – this is certainly not the case here. Taka Marylebone is welcoming, and the approachable staff are friendly and knowledgeable. As for the food, it’s the real deal. Both inspired and inspiring, the dishes find the right balance between tradition and creativity – and will leave you craving more.
Long link: http://takalondon.com/marylebone/
109 Marylebone High St, London, W1U 4R, 020 3637 4466; firstname.lastname@example.org