Belgravia, huh? Japanese? Jesus Christ. The mind springs to stark, dark basements where models slink around eating edamame and the host makes you feel humbled that they’re hanging your coat for you. Eradicate all of this; rewind, and enter a Grade II listed palace of a building that houses Kouzu, a newly opened Japanese restaurant that will wow the type of date who is bored of Roka and Zuma, and won’t eat at Nobu since it lost all its stars.
Guys, for some reason Japanese beers are sophisticated and socially acceptable on a date so knock yourself out and recommend the Umeshu Bellini to your date (if she quizzes you, umeshu is made from Japanese ume fruits and tastes both sweet and sour). Food wise, there is next to nothing that will disappoint, however, must-haves include the tuna tartar, roasted black cod and as much nigiri and aburi you desire. Save room for one of the beautiful desserts, or act all coy and order a scoop of the yuzu sorbet.
This isn’t somewhere you just pop into; once through the doors you won’t want to leave, and when you do it’ll be in a cab back to theirs, intoxicated by life. Start at the cocktail bar downstairs where the staff know their stuff but won’t give you attitude. Sweep upstairs lightly tipsy and request a table close to the sushi bar, discussing how much you just love Japanese food. Maximise the sharing potential on all the dishes, beginning with overt politeness – “No, you have the first bite. No I insist” – before descending into flirtatious feeding of one another with divine slithers of fresh sashimi. Order wines by the glass, and mix it up with sake – potent exhilaration is easily achieved here. Staff will glide seamlessly around you and when you’re ready, will brandish your bill and bid you farewell as though you were the oldest of friends.
Minimal – besides price, which you’ll forget about when there’s a sliver of yellow fin melting in your mouth and a stack of brownie points stacking up in your favour.