Dinings: Ultra Sophisticated Japanese food with a French twist
I've always thought that a great restaurant would have the perfect combination of the following factors:
a) Interesting ingredients that are of good quality
b) Talented chefs who will create beautiful plates of food
c) The right atmosphere and service to ensure you are having a lovely experience
Of course, the more famous the chef, more expensive the ingredients and more popular the location, you could end up spending quite a bit of money on the bill. However, there are times when it is just simply worth it. Dinings in Marylebone is one of those places. Don't be fooled by the rather uninspired name, the food served is amazing and dishes look like works of art on your table.
Story has it, that the head chef of Nobu Tomonari Chiba left and started his own place. But other than serving a similar cuisine, the two restaurants are very different. Dinings has none of the razzle-dazzle effect of Nobu. Located on a quiet residential street, you enter a small room with a sushi bar where you can see the chefs at work. Downstairs has a sort of intimate, underground bunker feel with minimalistic decor.
They serve a sort of high-end version of Japanese food - a lot ponzu-truffle-foiegras-wagyu magic going on with most dishes. It can be intimidating looking at their endless menu and daily specials but there are a couple of must-have signature dishes which I think showcase the best of Dinings.
1. Sea Bass Carpaccio with Truffle salsa and Ponzu sauce.
Simple divine. I liked it so much that the second time I went there, I tricked my unsuspecting friend A. to order it twice. The presentation is so dainty and delicate and the flavours of ponzu and truffle come together beautifully.
2. Eel and Foie Gras sushi roll
Another signature is their take on mixing European and Japanese flavours by adding foie gras to sushi.
3. Wagyu beef tataki with ponzu and porcini oil
Wagyu beef is the big-daddy of beef. It's a premium cut of beef which is very popular in Japan and taste amazing - in a dense, fatty, melt-in-your-mouth kind of way.
4. Yellowtail Sashimi with jalapenos
The simplicity of it shows how good the quality of the fish is.
5. Lobster tempura
I went green with envy with I saw this on the neighbouring table. A huge lobster comes out with bits and bobs of it encased in a light tempura batter.
There are many more dishes that I would like to try and I find it very hard to control myself from over-ordering at Dinings. I usually get a severe case of food envy from seeing what other tables have ordered but despite all this, even with some wine added, the bill usually comes up to 50£ per person - which is much, much cheaper than Nobu. Another strategy of mine, is after trying out a few big-ticket items, I then proceed to fill my self up with some sushi rolls. It was at Dinings that I discovered how good a sushi roll tastes when it is served correctly with the rice slightly warm/at room temperature.
This is the perfect place to come if you want quiet night with friends filled with conversation or a romantic night out with a special someone with less conversation and more gazing into each others eyes if that's what you feel like - I'm happy to say I've done both ;-)
22 Harcourt Street
London W1H 4HH
Tel: 020 7723 0666 (It's best to call ahead for reservations)
Tube: Baker Street/ Edgeware Road