Koji, Parson’s Green
Beautiful space, beautiful food, beautiful people. Koji is an exquisite creation – a sleek Japanese restaurant, complete with sushi bar, robata grill, zen inducing courtyard, and expert bartenders creating cocktails for those who wish to sit street side and watch the world go by. It’s cosy and intimate here, with the kind of warm buzz that you so rarely feel in fine dining eateries in the capital. This is ideal date territory – sophisticated yet not intimidating, you’ll find yourself sharing far more than divine plates of tataki and nigiri.
The beauty of the food here is that it’s light, fresh and can come at a steady pace throughout your evening. It’s a talking point in itself so be prepared to gasp in delight as each stunningly presented dish arrives. Particular highlights include the tuna tataki with spicy ponzu sauce, scallops with umami jelly, and the tuna nigiri. If you’re keen for something meatier, the pork belly on the robata grill will have you weeping with joy, as will the wagyu, obvs. Save room for the Koji cheesecake, ending your meal with the cleansing hints of yuzu. Drinks wise, it’s cocktails to start and wine to continue – their lists are seriously impressive so splash out and try one of the vintage Rieslings.
Meet at the restaurant. Don’t meet after work – go home first and spruce up. This is a place for heels and shirts – you can rip them off later. Start at the cocktail bar and if it’s a warm evening you’ll basically be drinking alfresco. Move to your table and prepare to stay here a while. Rush no element of this date, savour it all and late into the night you’ll look outside to see the lanterns in the courtyard warmly glowing. It’s hard for this place not to feel romantic, the waiters know this and expertly judge when to take their time explaining dishes and when to simply leave you to enjoy them. Taxi it home, or walk if you’re close by. A goodnight kiss is definitely part of the game plan.
Try your hardest to save the Instagramming for a hashtag latergram……