London has a lot of sushi places.
But this one makes the honour rolls.
When it first opened as Matsuri a quarter of a century ago, it was an instant, and striking success. But that was back when London wasn’t exactly filled with Japanese eateries. Now that the restaurant game has changed, so have the restaurants, and Matsuri has been reborn as Ginza St James’s.
It joins a bevvy of sibling Ginza joints in New York, Paris, Shanghai, and Tokyo, but this two-floor flagship might just be the jewel in the crown. Walking into the imposingly grand entrance, we start –
This is the more casual of the two spaces, with a comfortably simple grey aesthetic topped off with wood panels in a pleasing geometric pattern. The bar here serves up a wealth of cocktails, including the signature Kinto-un (with gin, crème de pêche, and raspberry purée); the Million Dollar Flower (with cognac, bitter lemon, and chilli), and the deceptively simple Japanese Cocktail, a classic revived here with Remi Martin and orgeat.
Going down to the dining area, you’ll find a darker space decked out with similarly understated luxury. But it’s not the leather-backed chairs we’re interested in. It’s the cactus-fed turbot – yes, cactus-fed – flown from Japan, sliced usuzukuri-style (that is, thinly), then marinaded between layers of kelp. That’s the dish they’re famous for, and it’s quite something. Beyond that, there’s an array of menu-fillers including the richly marbled tuna tartare; the Cornish crab & cream croquettes; some crispy karaage fried chicken; light-as-a-cloud tempura; and of course all manner of sushi & sashimi.
It’s just how they roll.
NOTE: Ginza St James’s is open daily for lunch and dinner, as well as afternoon tea on weekends. You can find out more, and make a booking, at their website right HERE.
Ginza St James’s | 15 Bury Street, SW1Y 6AL
Like dining in the area? Peruse our guide to these other excellent restaurants in St James’s
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