‘The Japanese do stark better than anyone else’, notes a reader, and this minimalist 16-seater in a Bayswater backwater proves the point. Chef/owner Takashi Takagi used to run a sushi joint near Euston, but Shiori represents a big step up in ambition with its refined take on ceremonial kaiseki-ryori cuisine. Set menus offer ‘tiny mouthfuls of intricately nuanced food’, full of delicacy and subtle tones – ‘how often do you get to eat cherry blossom in a soup and an ice cream’? Sit back and marvel at the clean, startling flavours of diced raw sea bream with monkfish-liver sauce, snow-crab consommé, nigiri sushi with homemade soy sauce, or refreshing yuzu sorbet. Prices are on the high side, but specially chosen sakés and sweet service make amends. One caveat: ‘bellowing guffaws and shrieking Hoorays’ can scupper any thoughts of Zen-like tranquillity.
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