38-40 James Street, W1U 1EU
Tube: Bond Street
The scene: A sleek pan-Asian restaurant with gleaming monochrome decor and floor-to-ceiling windows. The lighting downstairs is a little too dark to be romantic for a cocktails-on-the-sofa kind of evening. The service is friendly but, with one waiter to clasp the tray and another to serve from it, perhaps a little excessive.
The grub: The menu promises a skilful and knowledgeable kitchen. We share some tasty edamame beans – it’s a positive start, but you can’t really go wrong with something so simple. Some rather tough duck spring rolls momentarily ruin the experience but the Vietnamese seared beef salad comes to the rescue. Fresh strips of mango complement the tender meat, and a kicking chilli dressing provides a spicy balance. There was disappointment again with an overcooked chocolate fondant pudding.
Behind the bar: A substantial wine list, plus plum wine and sake.
Bill please: Most dishes straddle the £5 mark.
Verdict: Good ideas, but inconsistent quality may leave some opting for nearby Ping Pong.
– Rebecca Kent