Engawa, Ham Yard, Piccadilly
Clean lines, intimately low-lit, super-fresh sushi and loads of Kobe beef. If you’re out to impress, but don’t want to run the risk of Michelin starred stuffiness then Engawa is a place you’ll want to put on your hit list. Wagyu beef is a relatively rare thing in London, however, here their entire menu is fashioned around this quirky product. Go hungry and with deep pockets.
The menu at Engawa is Kaiseki (a multi-course Japanese dinner), meaning, you have it easy here – there are three set tasting menus (£60, £80, £100), which should take most of the effort out of choosing what to order. You’ll want to be sure your date is willing eat a load of Kobe beef, and that you’ve got enough chat to keep things interesting as you plough through numerous courses.
If you’re based in the West End but want options of Soho drinking spots afterwards then Engawa is top of the list. Found in the courtyard of the Ham Yard Hotel – a little enclave just off Great Windmill Street, it is perfectly squirrelled away from the bustle and throb of nearby Shaftesbury Avenue and Piccadilly Circus.
Once you’re in, you’ll be well looked after. Arrive early, sidle up to the bar and grab an aperitif from their unique list of Japanese-inspired cocktails. If you take it easy on the Sake, the rest should take care of itself.
This is definitely not a place to go if you’re on a budget, at £100 per head for the 8 course tasting menu, be prepared to pay another £50 for drinks matching.