Restaurant Review: Taka, Marylebone
Ellie Smith reviews Marylebone's latest opening
There’s more to Japanese food than sushi, says new Marylebone restaurant Taka. That’s not to say it doesn’t serve excellent fresh fish – but that’s just one element of the extensive, unique menu.
Just opened on the old site of Providores, Taka Marylebone is the sister restaurant of the acclaimed Taka Mayfair, run by brother and sister duo Andrey and Anastasia Datsenko. Set across two floors, the Marylebone eatery has a similar look to its older sibling: minimalist and elegant, with lots of oak, timbers and tan leathers nodding to the ‘Japandi’ design movement – the work of B3 Designers, the interior force behind Roka, Hakkasan and Gymkhana.
It may be a low-key setting, but the food is anything but, thanks to an impressive menu devised by group executive chef Taiji Maruyama (Beaverbrook and Nobu) alongside head chef Jonathan Dowling. A farm-to-table ethos lies at the heart of Taka: the restaurant is based around the Japanese philosophy of shun, which means food should only be eaten when it’s at its best and at the height of its season. There’s a strong focus on British ingredients, including vegetables sustainably sourced from Nama Yasai, a small family-owned organic farm in the UK specialising in Japanese produce. The menus feature maps showing where everything comes from too, which is a nice touch.
You’ll find all the Japanese staples here (black miso cod, sushi rolls, tempura) but there are unique spins too: the wagyu beef, for instance, is served sando style – the Instagram-famous Japanese take on a sandwich. At £50 a pop it’s an undoubtedly pricey sandwich, but worth every juicy, melt-in-the-mouth penny. If you want a taste of the wagyu without damaging your bank account, the dripping rice bowl – wagyu fat and sukiyaki sauce on sushi rice – is just £9.
Elsewhere, a whole Botterills chicken (100-day reared from Botterill Farm in Lancashire) is broken down into its different components, grilled over hot coals and served as little bites – a fine example of nose-to-tail dining. Vegetarians, however, have not been overlooked: the miso glazed aubergine is one of the best dishes on the menu. The mochi flatbreads are another surprising winner – rice-based bread served with a variety of different toppings, from smoky tomato salsa to bluefin tuna sweetcorn. Don’t overlook the Neon Salad either, a fresh, flavoursome number with beetroot miso and crispy shallots.
The cocktails are another highlight, which, if you’re sitting downstairs, you can see being mixed in front of you at the bar. There’s plenty to choose from on the menu, but if nothing takes your fancy the expert bartender will whip something up to your suit your tastebuds. We enjoyed, for instance, a particularly good fiery chilli martini. Naturally, there’s a large sake selection too.
It’s common for Japanese restaurants of this calibre to feel a little stuffy, but sushi snobbery is nowhere to be seen at friendly Taka. Marylebone is bursting with great dining spots, but there’s always room for one more – and this one’s high up on our list.
Review: Nobu London Old Park Lane / Best Sushi Restaurants in London
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