Dai Chi, Soho
Having already sent discerning foodies flocking to Dalston with their experimental, Italian-Japanese fusion restaurant Angelina, ex-Bocca di Lupo chef Daniele Ceforo and owner-manager Joshua Owens-Baigler (of River Café acclaim) are taking on Soho. Only here, in a similarly pared-back, elegant dining room, they’ve adapted their offering to suit the grab-and-go culture craved in these quarters, where dinner is often supplementary to a theatre trip or night of dancing. Osaka’s signature concept of kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers) make up the bulk of the six-course menu, making dinner here akin to a night of feasting on canapés.
Some work better than others. A dry skewer of fine bean and its understuffed shiitake mushroom companion are missable, but on the same platter was a juicy and flavoursome mouthful of black iberico tomato topped with anchovy. A subsequent skewer of lamb neck rubbed in green harissa and grapefruit proved a highlight worth returning for. Sandwiching the skewers are fresher small bites, including an oyster speckled with sweet blackberry granita, gulped down like a frosty bite of winter; and a ceviche-style sliver of hamachi with truffle soy and furikake, which stole the show.
Fans of Angelina will be happy to hear the lauded hokkaido milk bread buns encasing softshell crab make it onto the menu here, and are every bit as delicate, fragrant and moreish as you no doubt remember them.
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16a D'Arblay Street, London W1F 8EA