A mid-week treat could not get any more indulgent than a visit to Ginza Onodera, the re-incarnation of the former Matsuri site. Following a six-month £2.5 million makeover, it is the latest venture for the Ginza Onodera brand, with sister-sites in Tokyo, Paris, Shanghai and New York.
There seems to be a theme for impressive underground restaurants in the area, and Ginza Onodera certainly keeps up with its sleek and sophisticated interior, and strong staircase game.
Apart from the extensive open restaurant area, there are three different types of private rooms: a regular Private Room, a Sushi Counter Private Room, and the Teppan-yaki Counter Private Room where we were seated that evening. We had a curious peek inside the Sushi Counter room where two sets of cutlery were placed on the counter – a sign of a romantic date perhaps … ?
The Seasonal Zensai was such a beautiful sight to behold. Delicate slices of black Kanpachi carpaccio in a tangy yuzu dressing, topped with shaved truffle; lightly seared shime saba (Japanese marinated mackerel) on a bed of boiled stem broccoli with ponzu jelly; and scallop kobujime (a Japanese method of preserving fish by curing it between layers of kombu) with wasabi dressing. These were perfectly paired with elegant flutes of chilled DUBL+ sparkling wine, a lovely floral and fruity apéritif.
Next was a cooking demonstration by the chefs, where we watched and learned the methods and skillful techniques that we were to replicate later on. I must admit that I was probably too distracted salivating over the food that I didn’t really take many notes …
First was the Canadian Lobster, one of my favourite shellfish, perfectly grilled and seasoned, and served with a bit of brain on the side, or rather the lobster tomalley, which serves as the lobster’s liver and pancreas – the “green stuff” you find in the head (“carapace”). Those fresh, juicy chunks of lobster meat were accompanied by a light tomato sauce dip.
The next dish was the classic Egg Fried Rice. I can never seem to replicate a good version of this dish. Maybe it’s because I’m not very patient and rather stingy with the oil … When I’m in a rush, I become that person who dumps everything into the pan all at once and hopes for the best (!)
Chef definitely had a much more structured approach to this – even watching him fry those onions was pretty mesmerizing … Egg Fried Rice has never tasted so good, and I made sure to finish every single grain of rice. Rice (and carbs in general) always make me feel exuberantly happy.
The Kobe Wagyu beef was an absolute luxury, with it’s distinct marbled fat – rich, tender, and each mouthful was a burst of flavours. If I ever was a vegetarian (which I never will be), then this would have definitely converted me. Served on the side were some grilled shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, courgettes, and fresh wasabi – sweeter, and has a much more complex flavour compared to those harsh, imitation supermarket wasabi pastes.
This was accompanied by an intense garnet cherry coloured Viña Fuentenarro 4 Meses en Barrica, with fruity aromas of berries and currants, and had a pleasant aftertaste.
After the brilliant cooking demonstration that I never wanted to end, the time arrived for us to don our chef jackets and hats and swap our seats for a space behind the grill. I ended up cooking the Egg Fried Rice, which was much more intense than he made it look (!) – I did manage to eventually come up with some bowls of edible, albeit slightly burnt, fried rice.
The evening ended with a vibrant selection of fresh sushi, paired with a sweet and fruity Shochikubai Shirakabegura Mio Sparkling Sake. Everyone seemed quite full at that point, but my bottomless pit and I never say no to more food …
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Ginza Onodera. It’s definitely a fun idea to consider for special occasions or a night out with your friends/work colleagues.
And if you love Japanese cuisine and sake, Ginza Onodera will be hosting the first in a series of exclusive five-course dinners in collaboration with World Sake Imports. The collaboration between Head Chef, Ryosuke Kishi, Head Sommelier Angelo Lorea and leading sake brewery Yoshida Shuzi-ten will feature a bespoke menu of trademark teppan-yaki and robata dishes and signature sushi, all expertly paired with interesting and rare Tedorigawa sakes (including the highly acclaimed Tsuyusanzen Nama Daiginjo – only 24 bottles imported to London each year).
Diners will also get the opportunity to purchase the sampled sakes by the bottle on the night at a discounted price. The dinner is priced at £120.00 per person, which includes five courses, four sakes and green tea to finish. Tickets are limited and available to book over the phone – 020 7839 1101.
You can find out more information on Ginza Onodera on their website.
The Cheekster, signing out x
- I was invited to review, but views remain my own.