Ramusake, South Kensington
In a word: sexual. Dimly lit, comfortable and sleek, Ramusake is full of gorgeous folk either confidently strutting around or languidly reposing themselves with one eye on the prize just like a pride of princely lions in their natural habitat. Piers Adam, whom you may have heard of as the man behind Mahiki and Whisky Mist has joined forces with Scott Hallsworth (former head chef at Nobu and owner of Korubuta) to create this underground speakeasy venue with just a hint of noir. The food is a witty take on Japanese izakaya staples, the alcohol is in plentiful supply (notably the Duppy Share rum made here in Britain), service is brisk and friendly and DJ’s keep the place pumping until the wee hours. According to various news items I’ve read, Ramusake is purportedly bringing a touch of New York’s East Village cool to South Ken. Call me cray but I don’t think we need the East Village. Ramusake encapsulates a lot of what is great about London right now; we’re coming into our own thanks to bright minds such as Adam and Hallsworth and it makes for exciting times.
SHA-MON. The dishes here are masterfully moreish and beautifully presented. The Beef fillet tataki with onion ponzu and garlic crisps is worth venturing out for alone. A subtle stunner. From the ‘Junk Food Japan’ section of the menu, definitely go for the Tuna sashimi pizza with wasabi tobiko and truffle ponzu. It’s a riot of flavour, texture and colour; a real talking point. Tea smoked lamb chops with spicy Korean miso from the Robata BBQ are damn fine and Jumbo shrimp barbequed with chilli, lemon and garlic are quite simply the biggest, tastiest shrimps you ever did see down on the bayou. The drinks list made me want to squeal with pleasure; cocktails such as the Jalisco Collins and the Bamboo Panda gracing the table in all their fragrant glory, all the rum you can drink and of course some delectable sakes to try. All of it comes in at quite good value too, all things considered. Eeeeeeeeee. Ooh I’m off again.
Your game face should be firmly on for a night at Ramusake. If you are out to impress, choosing this venue is a great first move. Next, you need to pull out all the stops in terms of first impressions. That part is down to you. Aim for effortless elegance. Keep it simple. Once you make your way down into the vampy lair, seduction will be like taking candy from a baby. Candles flicker, drinks flow and the music steadily gets louder until it’s coursing through your veins and it’s time to party. All heightened by the fact that everyone else in the room is watching. See and be seen. A night here has the potential to get wild. Just a feeling I have.
As you are in a cellar-like environment, the restaurant becomes a tad noisy when service really gets going so maybe time your visit to avoid this. Peak time seems to be around 9.30pm. Other than that, the only bad point seems to be how delicious everything is. You could always exercise restraint? No? I don’t blame you.
5 – hot as the hottest hob in the kitchen of hell. Scha-wing.