23 St James's Street, St James, London, SW1A 1HA, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 20 7925 8988
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Thu noon-3pm 6pm-11pm; Fri-Sat noon-3pm 6pm-11:30pm
Door: Make reservation
Style: Restaurant bar
Recommended for: Cocktails, Wine
Price guide: High-end
Food: Full menu
Images By: diffordsguide.com
The celebrated Economist building, the first 1960s building to be listed and a site perhaps best known among the London drinks fraternity as the former home of Che, now houses this upscale Japanese restaurant.
The actual restaurant, and sake bar, is reached up a superb black gloss escalator direct from the front door, but downstairs, through two Japanese curtains that reach only to waist height, there's a small cocktail bar. Most people will treat this as a holding bar but there's plenty on the menu to entice you to stay before venturing upstairs. Under the signature bamboo poles, there's some innovative mixology with plenty of Japanese ingredients such as shiso leaf, shochus, sakes, plum wines, Japanese whisky and green tea -some drinks combine all of these.
There's a voluminous range of sakes here, surely one of the biggest in London, and divided helpfully by headings of mild, creamy, spicy, fruity, tangy, bitter, ripe fruit, bold and rich. Prices start at £20 for 250ml and rise sharply to £185 for vintage sake at just 500ml. Shochu and Japanese whiskies are also well represented and even wines are listed as particularly suitable for sushi.