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The corner of the West End where Mayfair segues into St James’s has become the spiritual home of London’s slick, modern Japanese restaurants. And so, after 23 years on Bury Street, traditional teppanyaki outfit Matsuri closed for six months, emerging £2.5m later as the London outpost of globe-spanning Ginza Onodera. Out go the tabletop hot plates, replaced by contemporary trappings including a robata grill, marble sushi bar, pale woods, monochrome furnishings and high-spec private rooms. However, this is not the place to come for California rolls or blow-torched tuna; rather, the kitchen deals in exquisite updates on the Japanese hallmarks of delicacy and refinement, alongside ultra-respectful versions of classic sushi and tempura. Our favourites included tuna tartare with spicy miso sauce and a crunch of roasted pine nuts, sticky chunks of yakitori made with Norfolk Black chicken skewered on cocktail sticks, and black cod with miso that actually tasted like fish, rather than just something very sweet. A wine cabinet groaning under the weight of Super Tuscans, sakés and Japanese single malts reveals Onodera's greatest asset: eye-opening food and drink matching. Just ask the enthusiastic staff (many from the Matsuri days) to recommend their favourite dishes. A ‘Tsubaki’ set menu for £45 offers an affordable way in, while the £250 ‘Takumi’ indicates how much one could easily spend here.
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