Izakaya at Dreams | A Pop Up Restaurant In A Supermarket
The Supermarket of Dreams might sound like somewhere you’d find yourself desperately needing to buy half a dozen melted cuckoo clocks only to discover that they’re fresh out of stock and also that you’re naked.
We’ve all been to that place.
But it’s actually just a really, really nice artisan food shop in Holland Park. It comes to us from the same team who recently dipped their toes into the world of actual restaurants with the wonderful Dorian. Well, now they’ve decided to push the beds together and turn the supermarket into a sushi restaurant every evening – and they’ve called it Izakaya Nights.
To find it, you just need to wander down the leafy promenade of Holland Park Avenue until you see a beacon-like sign piercing the twilight with purple neon. Inside, the place is all jet-black walls and gleamingly polished silver fittings underscored by an upbeat funky soundtrack – it’s a bit like stepping into an ’80s nightclub that happens to sell six types of oat milk and two kinds of Japanese mayo. Or at least, it would be, were it not for the huge communal table running down the centre of the space, covered in candles that effortlessly cut through the coldness of all that chrome, warming the atmosphere in more ways than one.
At the back, there’s a small sushi counter with chefs huddled over it diligently prepping, slicing, scorching, and seasoning an aquariums-worth of fish, all pulled from the glass-doored fridges behind them. And those chefs have some impressive CVs: there’s Jaime Finol who cut his teeth at SUMI, and Juan Cardona who helped Endo at the Rotunda win its Michelin Star, and they’re both at the top of their game. The menu they’ve put together starts with cooked stuff, including a gorgeously light monkfish tempura, some ultra-crispy chicken karaage, and a meaty scallop drenched in miso-butter sauce.
Then, there’s the sushi. It’s absolutely first-class, with salmon belly that’s been tenderly seared & dressed in simple salt & pepper; brill decorated with truffle; sea bream brushed with sweet soy, and more. But the real star is the tuna. They have every cut, from the lean & mineral-rich akami right through to the buttery, flavour-packed otoro. In fact, if you head here on a Tuesday night, you’ll find their Tuna Fight Club, in which they showcase all the various cuts & ageing techniques, and pit them against each other on the plate.
The drinks list has been taken care of by the gloriously appropriately named Ale Villa (formerly of CORE by Clare Smyth) and Nathan Ho (who also did the drinks at Dorian). They’ve put together a tightly curated list of only a dozen or so wines & sakes, making sure that they’re all paired perfectly with the food, and that that meet every price point, from low to high. Speaking of which, it is entirely possible with a little guidance from your waiter to keep your expenditure to a reasonable amount for the whole meal, or to go all-out and take out a small mortgage. But whatever you spring for, it’ll be absolutely worth it. Frankly, as set-ups go…
…this is the dream.
Supermarket of Dreams | 126 Holland Park Ave, W11 4UE
If you like your swimmers raw… you should dive into our guide to the best sushi restaurants in London.