Absolutely stops by Rika Moon, the new Japanese fusion cuisine in Notting Hill.
Words by Pendle Harte
Some people might remember when this dinky corner site was a Paul Smith store, a smaller offshoot of the main shop opposite. It’s a surprise to find it reborn as a stylish eaterie – and the intimate space is cleverly configured to include a stylish large bar with seating, as well as several tables, plus there’s a separate downstairs dining room too.
Cuisine is billed as Japanese fusion – it seems to be more Japanese than fusion – and cocktails are a speciality. We’re persuaded by the house cocktail, Shisorita, described simply as Jose Cuervo Especial, Mezcal Verde, lime or lemon and shiso, but is more than the sum of its parts: a smoky, citrussy, intriguing infusion with a seaweed rim. And the food’s the same: high class, intriguing and impressive.
Our feast includes butterfish tataki with citrus truffle ponzu, a delicate dish with a strong truffle kick and butterfish that really does taste of butter, a seaweed salad with sea vegetables and black Goma dressing – sharp, tasty and salty, and grilled aubergine with tomato miso that was sweet, intense and unusual. Then there was a sashimi platter, beautifully arranged in a basket with slivers of salmon, tuna and swordfish with wasabi, and perfectly crispy tempura prawns with a ginger sauce.
Then came a showstopping Kyoto miso black cod with mountain caviar, pickles and yuzu anori, which was artistically presented and cooked to perfection with a silvery sweetness and a luxurious texture. Clay pot Gohan rice with mushrooms and seaweed was a delicious side, though possibly we were now into the realm of too much food, and with a second cocktail also into possible flavour (and Mezcal) overload.
Still, a small pudding to share added extra interest, especially since it was ‘inspired by the forest’ and looked like a beautiful bird’s nest. A berry sorbet surrounded by chocolate sticks, chocolate shavings and lots of leaves and flowers on a bed of creme caramel, in fact. What a treat.