Five minutes with… Samyukta Nair

The co-founder of LSL Capital, a restaurant collection that has brought MiMi Mei Fair, Jamavar and Bombay Bustle – as well as 2022’s launches KOYN and Socca – to Mayfair’s dining scene, talks her newest restaurant opening, Japan and what to do on a day off

Food and Drink 19 Jul 2022

Samyukta Nair, co-founder of of LSL Capital

Samyukta Nair, co-founder of of LSL Capital

KOYN is an izakaya. What is it about Japan that inspires you?

I was first introduced to Japan by my parents, who share a mutual love for its food, culture and design. Over time, I fell in love with the country for its nature-spirited roots, simplistic but succinct approach to life and acceptance of transience and imperfection.

Can you describe what diners can expect from KOYN?

KOYN is our upcoming modern Japanese restaurant situated off Grosvenor Square that opens its doors on 9 September. Inspired by the duality of Mount Fuji, KOYN’s philosophy places value on subtlety and detail through an amalgamative lens where art, design and textile traditions meet culinary craftsmanship. The kitchen is led by executive chef Rhys Cattermoul and presents a menu showcasing a broad spectrum of Japanese cuisine through rich umami flavours. There are an array of signature KOYN dishes in addition to those from our sushi bar and robata grill.

KOYN is a new izakaya restaurant in Mayfair. Photography: Stephen Joyce

The past two years have been difficult for people in the restaurant industry. What has this time taught you?

It hasn’t been easy for anyone, but there is nothing greater than the community you build around a set of meaningful core values. The support and encouragement to keep going during our dark days came from our patrons and we are incredibly grateful to be blessed with so much love across all our restaurants at LSL Capital.

What ingredient can you not live without?


What marks London as different from other cities in its approach to food?

London is a cultural melting pot and I most adore the way people come together to share their experiences, travels and diversity through food. I’ve always said food is culture and there are very few cities like London that embody that at its soul.

Expect beautifully prepared modern Japanese food at KOYN
Expect beautifully prepared modern Japanese food at KOYN. Photography: Stephen Joyce

What is your favourite restaurant in the world and what do you like to order?

I’m a creature of habit and though you can take me far away from home you can’t really take home away from me. Hence, I think my favourite restaurant has to be Jamavar London and I would very happily dig into our Chandni Chowk Ki Aloo Tikki, Kid Goat Shami Kebab and Old Delhi Butter Chicken to finish any given day.

What do you like to do on a day off?

I love to read, listen to music and work out. I also thoroughly enjoy exploring new cities, visiting museums and design spaces immensely as I draw from them. I also adore spending time with my family and friends.

This will be your fifth Mayfair restaurant. What’s next for LSL Capital?

I am so grateful for all the love we’ve received across all our restaurants at LSL Capital. I hope we can keep giving to our community and continue to be known for our delicious food and warm, gracious service in thoughtfully designed spaces as we explore bringing varied culinary experiences to London.

KOYN opens 9 September. Photography: Stephen Joyce
KOYN opens 9 September. Photography: Stephen Joyce

If you could choose anyone from today or history, who would be your ideal dinner party guest and why?

It would be my late grandfather, Captain CP Krishnan Nair. I grew up very close to him and was always inspired by his vision, warmth and generosity of spirit. As a hospitality entrepreneur today, if there was one person I wish I could share my experiences with, it would be him.