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|Address:||45 Moscow Road, London W2 4AH|
|Tel:||020 7221 9790|
|Price: £82.00||Wine: £23.50||Champagne: £61.00|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sat 12N-3pm 6-10.30pm|
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
The Japanese consider us gaijin to be unco-ordinated, galoots; all bulk and noise, an anathema for the quiet, delicate Japanese sensibility.
Shiori is a small, delicate place. There are but six tables. The waitress is petite. The plates are tiny, delicate and subtle; each a miniature work of art. There should be a quiet tranquility to the place. There is not, courtesay of two tables: a threesome of Americans and a foursome of hoorays. Every bellowed guffaw, or shrieking “like totally” brought a wince to the waitress, who struggled to smile through the physical pain brought on by this rampant display of ignorance, this disregard for the food (let alone other diners). There is nothing wrong with getting drunk and being loud: that is what TGIF and Wetherspoons are for. This is a ton plus for a 12 course tasting menu; for goodness sake enjoy it.
In between the noise, the food is fantastic: as all Kaiseki style is, it is subtle and delicate, no more than a few mouthfuls of intricately nuanced food per course. To many it is too subtle; bland even. I love it: how often do you get to eat cherry blossom, both in a soup and in an ice cream (ok, more like a granita than an ice cream, but still)? How often do so many courses bring such sublime combinations?
As well as the cherry blossom, the razor clams in ponzu, the lobster and chu-toro sashimi and the simmering Wagyu all stood out. So the fermented rice might have been best left to turn into sake rather than overpowering a scallop, but it was still an interesting addition.
Yet there is still something that isn't quite right about this: it isn't the cooking, which touches on the genius; it is the place. So often in Japan, the most out of the way places open up to the most astonishing restaurants. Café Anglais aside, this particular area north of Hyde Park is renowned for very little by way of culinary delights. But it does not work. It is just wrong: the location is totally wrong; the room is set up wrong; the acoustics, the ambience, they are all just wrong.
I might be tempted to go back: the food is just so good, but I would be more tempted to book the whole place out, so that the food could star and the peace descend. Until I win the lottery and can do this, or they get enough space to have proper tatami matted rooms, I think I'll pass.