With ice buckets sporting fish-tail motifs, walls running with water, a giant gold-plated crocodile on display and a brigade of ever-charming, really professional staff in jewel-coloured velvet jackets, this glitzy dining room could be Neptune’s banqueting hall.
The Asian-inspired menu is, unsurprisingly, sea-based, but not exclusively so – there are enough meat and vegetarian offerings to keep fish-avoiders from going hungry, but that misses the point. Small plates are the order of the day and they’re brought to the table when they’re ready (ie. in no particular order). Even so, the cumulative effect is mightily impressive.
There’s caviar (served Asian style with steamed buns and smoked tofu), as well as copious amounts of lobster for those who want it, although the menu also includes plenty of less ostentatious pickings – salt-and-pepper squid coated in the lightest batter, prawn gyozas set off with a light soy and ginger dressing, ceviches, tiraditos and platters of sushi and sashimi all feature.
The house version of Chilean sea bass with spicy miso is a dish worth crossing town for, while die-hard carnivores are sure to make return visits for the meltingly good Japanese Wagyu sirloin and the crispy duck, watermelon and pomegranate salad. There are also some very cheeky desserts – peanut butter parfait, banana bubblegum ice cream, ‘petit four pebbles’ etc.
Staff don’t take themselves too seriously and ensure that a good time is had by all, while the wine list fits all price brackets. Famous DJs get the crowd going come brunchtime, and the outrageous cocktail list comes into its own at the weekend when SF morphs into a proper party venue. “This place is most definitely sexy”, confirms one fan, “and so much fun too”.