The capital’s booming nightlife has leaked into the restaurant industry, with many clubs joining forces with top chefs to offer pre-dance meals. Yoshiaki at DSTRKT London is one such hip venue, says Molly Dyson.
One doesn’t normally associate a nightclub with business, but my mind is changed for the good as soon as I set foot inside Yoshiaki, a swanky pan-Asian restaurant located next door to the ultra-cool DSTRKT London. The club itself is a favourite among A-List celebs such as Tom Cruise, Kanye West, Rihanna and Nicole Scherzinger, to name a few. Yoshiaki provides an equally swish setting for a meal complete with live DJ on Fridays and Saturdays, plus top-notch service.
Don’t let the thought of booming beats put you off this venue – it’s not so obnoxiously loud that you can’t have a conversation but injects just enough bass to get people’s feet tapping. Plus, there’s a private dining space that can be walled off from the rest of the space and seats up to 14. The setting alone is enough to impress clients – coloured lighting, eclectic textures on the walls and a particularly stunning art piece that resembles a pond full of lily pads and doubles as the main light fixture.
If that’s not enough, you can take your guests on a journey through Asia with a wide variety of innovative dishes accompanied by creative cocktails inspired by ingredients of the region. My drink of choice is recommended by our waiter based on my affinity for gin and called a Hot Garden – an expert blend of gin, apricot liqueur, elder flower, ginger beer and chillies. I decide to start with a Malaysian laksa soup with prawn tails and fried tofu that’s got just the right amount of coconut to offset the red chillies, while my plus-one goes for a small dish of crispy tofu fried to perfection and served with quinoa and pomegranate. Our eyes are bigger than our stomach tonight, as we also plump for an order of spicy tuna rolls – but they’re so good we devour them in no time.
After much deliberation, my partner plumps for king prawns grilled on a robata in a slightly spicy ponzu sauce with a side of coconut rice. I go for a house speciality, a tender miso black cod wrapped in a giant hoba leaf with pickled vegetables, along with a small Thai herb leaf salad on the side. It makes my top five fish dishes of all time, with the hoba adding a delectable fragrance to the traditional miso flavours. We both eat in silence, not wanting to pause for conversation for fear of missing out on such exquisite food.
I’m ready to call it quits, but our waiter convinces me the dessert menu is well worth having to loosen my belt so we have a look. I’m immediately won over by the idea of a dark chocolate and chili mousse, which turns out to be as divine as it sounds – smooth and sweet with a kick from the candied chillies. My companion’s matcha and passionfruit cheesecake is a hit and disappears without a crumb left on the plate, washed down with a smooth coffee.
If unique is what you’re after you can’t go wrong with Yoshiaki, whether you’re looking for a private dining space, a convenient location for an after-work meal with colleagues, or a place to host a reception.
What we had
Spicy tuna rolls – £12
Malaysian laksa soup – £9.50
Crispy tofu – £9
Miso black cod – £35
Grilled king prawns – £28
Coconut rice – £5.50
Thai herb leaf salad – £5
Matcha and passion fruit cheesecake – £7.50
Dark chocolate and chili mousse – £7.50
Cocktails – £42
Yoshiaki, DSTRKT London, 9 Rupert Street W1D 6DG; dstrkt-london.com/yoshiaki