Sitting in a quiet, sheltered mews just minutes from the glitz and glam of Harrods and Knightsbridge, Dinings SW3 has nabbed an enviable spot in West London. And that’s not all it has going for it. In the five years since Masaki Sugisaki first threw open the doors here, the restaurant has evolved greatly. Once upon a time the menu was heavy with European influence; now it seems, those fusion accents are a welcome background note to some absolutely delicious modern Japanese cooking.
First thing's first though, yes - you’re still in Knightsbridge, and the menu does reflect that. There’s a lot of truffle, and plenty of luxe ingredients like caviar, wagyu and lobster. You will pay through the nose for it. But the food that emerges from the kitchen ranges from good to spectacular, so if you’re splashing out on a special meal, you won’t be disappointed.
The interiors are nice and spacious too. At street level you’re greeted by a smart cocktail lounge (and some clever cocktails too - try the Kumamoto Spicy Margarita, made with mezcal, Ancho Reyes, chocolate bitters, watermelon and yuzu juice), before descending into a cavernous, moody dining room that still conjures the raw fun of an izakaya.
What follows is luxury food, turned up to 11. We start off with sashimi, then get stuck into juicy wagyu beef burgers in impossibly-soft buns, and a fat round of double-cooked aubergine, coated in a sticky layer of sweet, salty miso. Your mileage may vary with some of these dishes - every dish is so full-on with ingredients and flavour that it can get a bit much - but the sushi is where the restaurant excels. In fact, the shrimp tempura inside-out roll was one of the best things we ate, and at £15 for six pieces it was also one of the most affordable things on the menu. Don't sleep on the sake menu either, which features some very exclusive bottles available by the cup.