Dinings

Silver Award
15 Reviews
££££
Japanese, Sushi

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SquareMeal Review of Dinings

Silver Award

You wouldn’t come across Dinings by accident – and if you did, you might not think it was a restaurant at all. But this Japanese powerhouse isn’t defined by its postage stamp-sized premises on two floors of a backstreet townhouse as both technique and cooking are exemplary, allowing the repertoire to evolve into Japanese ‘tapas’ with inventive but complementary flourishes. Sushi and sashimi, such as open rolls of spicy tuna with sesame sauce and shichimi pepper, come from the ground-floor counter, or you could ring the changes with a crossover riff involving yellowtail topped with horseradish salsa, British caviar and wasabi jalapeño vinaigrette. Hot bites could be grilled chilli garlic black cod, while set lunches are donburi-based with toppings of freshwater eel and foie gras or Wagyu beef with garlic butter soy. Dinings’ fans are legion, so inevitably the basic basement dining room is a squeeze. If your heart is set on it, advance booking is a very good idea.

Good to know about Dinings

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Japanese, Sushi

Location for Dinings

22 Harcourt Street, London, W1H 4HH

020 7723 0666

Website

Opening Times of Dinings

Mon-Sun 12N-3.30pm 6-10.30pm (Fri-Sun -11pm)

Reviews of Dinings

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15 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mr. Alex G

Dine out on this
01 February 2019  

Blink and you might miss it. Dinings is located in a tiny Georgian townhouse on an obscure side street in Marylebone. Spacious, the venue is not. Rather, it is distinctly cramped and bereft of decoration, but the food is so supremely good that it is well worth a visit. Be advised, given space constraints, you do need to book in advance: upstairs there are just six seats at the sushi preparation counter, while downstairs (navigated via a very tight spiral staircase), around 30 covers can be accommodated. The concept of combining traditional Japanese food with modern European cuisine has become well-established in many dining capitals (think the spread of both the Zuma and Sushisamba franchises globally), but Dinings has been pioneering this approach for over decade. The freshest tuna and salmon may be combined here with the likes of caviar or foie-gras. The evening got off to a good start as I snacked on a bowl of padron peppers while I waited for my dining comrade to join me. This simple and commonplace dish is often executed poorly with the peppers either over- or under-cooked, but here, they were delivered perfectly with the shichimi pepper providing a marked kick. Traversing the menu can be complicated given the multiple sections comprising nibbles, tapas, sushi and sashimi. However, our server (who could be described as friendly if slightly officious) mentioned that the kitchen would be happy to prepare us a selection of dishes showing the best of what Dinings has to offer. This is a great way to the spectrum of the chefs’ skills. even if this is perhaps not the best value way of doing things. Not a single dish disappointed. We particularly loved the ‘tar-tar’ chips (pictured), a Dinings special, which comprises mini tacos filled with the likes of tuna and jalapeno mayo or salmon with chilli miso. Elsewhere, I could go to heaven happy knowing I had tried the eel sushi with foie-gras and sweet soy – it was such a perfect flavour combination, rich and savoury but with a brilliant moment of counterpoint sweetness too. Full plaudits to Dinings. Many are clearly already in the know regarding this venue; I am pleased now to count myself among this privileged group.

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Piglet

Excellent quality modern Japanese
23 March 2017  
Put simply there nothing on this menu that I haven’t loved (and I think I have eaten 80% on it), but some of the stand-out dishes for me are the Tar-Tar Chips (bite-sized crispy “tacos”) filled with Toro fatty tuna with jalapeño mayonnaise, Hamachi yellowtail with jalapeño mayonnaise and the seared Japanese wagyu beef with chilli miso. In addition the Toro sashimi topped with foie-gras mousse and wasabi, Wagyu beef bun, and some of the best quality sashimi in London. The restaurant itself is tiny – around 6 stools at the upstairs bar and 30 seated downstairs and the décor is basic –emphasis is on the food. Excellent service from the moment we were greeted by “G” at the door, all of the staff are attentive and friendly, the dishes are served at perfectly timed intervals. We were lucky to be treated to complimentary cocktails and a superb selection of individual spoons filled with chopped sashimi combinations with mouth-watering toppings. As other diners have pointed out, it is not cheap but in my book is worth every penny. I’m already planning my next visit.
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Mr. Desmond T

Good lunch options
11 April 2013  
I normally have their chicken teriyaki donburi for lunch. This is perhaps the cheapest, delicious and most ‘value for money’ Japanese lunch set I have tried so far. Miso Soup, Mixed Tempura and Chicken Teriyaki with rice for less than 15 quid (excluding service charge). You will be hard pressed to find anything ‘japanese’ in this price range. Similar to Nobu style (chicken teriyaki) but at a fraction. Rice is generous, you will be full ;o)
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Ms/Mrs. Natalia P

Dinings
21 February 2013  
If you go to Dinings, only order Sushi, by far the best! You especially have to try Fatty Tuna with fois gras! Amazing!! We actually ordered it twice! The chefs are nice, friendly and really accomodating when we asked for them to make special amendments to the ingridients. They actually greet diners as they enter the restaurant, as you enter through the sushi bar. The only concern for me that it felt rushed, our waitress seemed to be in the rush to ‘kick’ us out, eventhough there we no diners waiting. Downstairs was completely empty and there were only 2 more diners upstairs. So that's the reason for poor service score.
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Ms/Mrs. Bee O

17 February 2013  
Excellent food and well priced.Pretty presentations and Good service too!! Will definitely go back!
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Mr. paul S

05 December 2012  
if you can put aside the slightly damp atmosphere, then this is the place to go. I went last night, the experience took me back to the first time i ever tried sushi at nobu10 years ago, however this was in a different level. it was quite simply the best sushi i have ever had…period and i am a sushi snob. you cant beat zuma or nobu for the atmosphere but food and presentation blows zuma out of the water i will defo be going back. you have to go to expreriece the tastes and textures of flawless sushi. i would reccomend sitting at the sushi counter to see the masters at work!
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Ms/Mrs. Mairead C

12 October 2012  
This is the most delicious sushi that I have ever eaten. The head chef was a former Nobu chef. His creations are beyond crazy good. I always sit at the bar, since you get to see the food being made, and you can ask any questions to the chefs themselves. They are so nice and accomodating. I have never had anything other than an amazing experience from this place, and they always remember us, since the second time we went. Just be sure to make a reservation well in advance. Also, they have two seatings. I have only ever been to the 6:00 seating, but just arrive with a healthy appetite.
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Mr. Marcus S

13 May 2012  
Outstanding quality of food with very interesting, innovative takes on traditional dishes.
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Mr. james B

20 December 2011  
Lee (see other review) has hit the nail on the head. No real complaints about the food, which is fantastically fresh and innovative. The main problems are with the staff and the basement sitting area. I called on a Friday afternoon to be told that they had just had a cancellation and could fit myself and my wife in, but only if we could make it at 6:15pm. I asked if we could come slightly later, but was told that this was not possible. So we hot-footed it to the train station to get into Marylebone. On arrival we were shown past the ground floor sushi bar down into the depths. Apart from 4 staff, we were alone. In a basement. No windows. Piped Christmas music. An impending sense of doom. Anyway, we thoguht that we should give it a go and ordered a number of appetizers and bottle of sake. The highlights of the food were the Lobster Tempura salad (yum) or the mouthful of Cornish Gurnard with a yuzu dressing. But the lack of atmosphere was getting to us. Eventually another couple arrived to join us in the pit. So after an hour there were 4 of us in the hushed crypt. No atmosphere, no windows (obviously) and a nagging thought that these few mouthfuls might have cost me a lot of money. Dreadful. After the starters we asked for the bill, to which the French waiter raised his eyes heavenward but he held back from the full “boff, bien”. £90 for starters and a small bottle of sake. Delicious, but really! We spoke to the lady who took our booking and she rambled on about how Dinings is about an “experience”. Well if your idea of an experience is to sit in a quiet, non-descript basement and pay a small fortune for tiny mouthfuls of crab, gurnard and monkfish liver then Dinings is the place for you. Perhaps the 8:00pm sitting is better. Anyone?
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Mr. Lee A

17 June 2011  
Firstly let me be clear, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with the food at Dinings. The ingredients are fresh, of a high quality and brought together with skill and thought to create excellent modern Japanese food which, although sadly not wholly to my taste, I was able to appreciate for the obvious vision that went into creating and preparing it. The sake is likewise extremely good, and my guest and I got through a fair amount when we visited Dinings at the recommendation of a friend. What let Dinings down for me and earned my friend a narky text from me whilst I was still sitting at my table (such was the level of my ire at that point) was the service and, to a lesser extent, the price. Let me begin with the service. Poor. That seems a good place to begin. My guest and I were sadled with a young eastern European girl who appeared to lack any warmth or interest in the people she was serving. The only time she made any effort really was when she approached us repeatedly when we were first sat to see if we were ready to order. This to me screams ‘Hurry up and eat so we can free up the table for the next payout’ and is guaranteed to rub me up the wrong way. I say again – poor. Although during the meal our waitress was able to redeem herself slightly by being able to prise herself away from chatting with her mates to advise us on how much we should order, she then went on to ruin it all in a spectacular fashion when, on hearing that both my guest and I would like the chocolate fondant for desert, she told us that we couldn't have it as it took a long time to make and we had been in the restaurant too long already! WHAT!? I'm sorry? ‘Too long already’? Its not like we had come in to shelter from the rain or had made one bowl of miso soup last two hours. We had consumed a significant amount of food for 2 shorties and drunk enough sake to drown a tanouki. Too long? Obviously it was all downhill from here for me, especially when we were told in an extremely disinterested fashion that our second, speedier choice of desert wasn't available either. This sort of thing should carry some sort of mandatory sentence as far as I'm concerned. I feel myself getting riled all over again just writing this review… be calm. Now what else? Oh yes, Dinings is expensive. Very. Although you should kind of accept that, especially if you take the time to review the menu online before going, if like me you are a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to Japanese food, you will be left thinking there are at least a dozen places that serve quality, more simple food for a fraction of the price. With nice waitresses. In summary then: Dinings is technically excellent, the food is good especially if you prefer modern Japanese to the more traditional but you will pay a lot for the privilege. I privilege which unfortunately includes some of the worst service I have ever experience.
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