Delicious Japanese in Mayfair


Given that Chisou is largely unheard of, this Japanese restaurant has so far escaped probing scrutiny. Although it lacks the infamy of heavyweights like Roka and Zuma, the food at Chisou hovers around the same quality of its more prominent peers. The Mayfair arm of Chisou projects an unassuming façade, and although its modest interior sports ‘hip’ blonde wood and oriental art, these are largely puerile in nature when compared to the wow-factor at better known restaurants.

On being seated, an amuse bouche of softened beef and turnip morsels are offered. Although the drinks menu boasts an abundant selection of sake, there are no cocktails. Whilst a cosmopolitan should be in the repertoire of any barman worth his salt, the waitress only understands jabbing motions at the menu and so our request is left unfulfilled, which is mildly upsetting.

The food menu is organized in a haphazard manner and it takes a few flicking of pages back and forth to find our feet. The fare itself is gorgeous on the plate and divine in the mouth – fat rounds of scallop have smooth innards, contrasted with a bubbly tempura-battered exterior. Soft shell crab possesses a gentle sweetness of flesh, lined in more of the crisp batter. The generosity of these plates is noted and appreciated.

Atlantic prawn sushi with deep fried prawn head is unspectacular, whereas the rainbow maki is a delightful offering of salmon, tuna and seabass wrapped in blade-thin bands of cucumber, and topped with slivers of more fish. Miso blackened cod is a triumph, consisting of white fish infused with a yuzo miso marinade, and cooked so soft that it is almost gelatinous in texture, falling apart in silky caramelized chunks.

Dessert, of course, is mochi – a Japanese confectionary of ice cream lined with pounded sticky rice. Available in a selection of flavours, our vanilla, green tea, and mango balls are chewy, sweet, playful mouthfuls. Chilled custard pancakes are uncommon but not sufficiently stimulating next to the mini orbs of creamy mochi fun.

Chisou serves delicious food, and booking a reservation isn’t as tortuous a process as it can be elsewhere. Service is slow and unhelpful, average price per person is £45.

Tube: Oxford Circus

Tempura scallops at Chisou
Tempura scallops
miso black cod at chisou
Grilled black cod marinated in white miso paste
Soft shell crab, ponzu dip at chisou
Deep fried soft shell crab
Garden maki at chisou
Rainbow maki
Prawn sushi, fried prawn head at chisou
Prawn sushi, fried prawn head
Mango, green tea and vanilla mochi, custard pancakes at chisou
Mango, green tea and vanilla mochi, custard pancakes

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