With its seductive after-dark atmosphere, velvet-flocked walls and a regular’s list that includes Britain’s young royals, it would be easy to dismiss Ramusake as just another addition to Kensington’s already ample supply of slinky bars. However, there’s certainly more to it than that.
The restaurant is the product of the partnership between Piers Adam and David Phelps, owners of famed London nightspots such as Bodo’s Schloss and Mahiki, and Scott Hallsworth, ex-Nobu head chef, and founder of the phenomenally successful restaurant Korubuta.
It describes itself as a ‘Japanese izakaya-inspired local hangout’, serving ‘post Japanese food’, which isn’t that enlightening – but there’s no denying that the food here is flavourful and addictive. The menu is divided into sections, from snacks and ‘junk food japan’ to maki rolls and ‘robata bbq’, and the idea is to pick a selection of plates to share.
The cocktail list is imaginative and extensive in equal measure. To accompany our drinks, we started with the sweet potato and soba-ko fries, which had that perfect yet elusive balance of crispy and salty, and were rivalled only by the equally more-ish flame-grilled edamame served with lemon, butter and Maldon salt. From the ‘cold, raw & salad’ plates, the beef fillet tataki with onion ponzu and garlic crisps was faultless, the softness of the meat cleverly contrasted by crisper textures.
Thanks to Korubuta, Scott Hallsworth is famous for his fast-food twist on classic Japanese dishes and it’s easy to see why when you bite into the tuna sashimi pizza with wasabi tobiko and truffle ponzu. Likewise, traditional sushi rolls are given a clever makeover, as in the king crab California-style maki rolls with spicy mayo and salmon nigiri with béarnaise salsa and tiny fries, which demonstrated both impressive skill and inspired flavour combinations.
Ramusake, 92B Old Brompton Road, London SW7 5LR, +44 (0)20 7842 8518, ramusake.com