Sachi, a new restaurant which celebrates Japanese food, culture and design has recently opened in Pantechnicon, London’s home of Nordic and Japanese creativity. Having heard so much about it we decided to pay a visit to see if all they hype was in fact justified.
Sachi is located in the heart of Belgravia on a now pedestrianised Motcomb Street. The Pantechnicon building is a huge palatial Georgian building that now occupies restaurants, bars, shops and more. Set in the barrel-vaulted lower-ground floor of Pantechnicon within the foundations on which Pantechnicon’s imposing Doric columns rest, the restaurant’s interiors show off the fabric of the building. In keeping with Japanese design philosophy, there are no gimmicks or unnecessary adornments.
As you would expect from a Japanese restaurant our reception as we arrived was heartfelt and welcoming, instantly putting us at ease adding to our feeling of anticipation and excitement. As you would expect in London, the staff are a very international bunch with a heavy dose of Italian - all of which were truly superb and passionate about both Japanese food and their roles in the restaurant.
Sachi translates as “happiness” in Japanese and that’s the focus of the food. The menu has been crafted by Head Chef Collin Hudston (Dinings, Roka) and Pantechnicon’s Executive Chef Chris Golding (Nobu, Zuma, Dinings). The duo are joined by general manager Lorenzo Cannavina, a fluent Japanese speaker who spent many years living in the country.
Working with Lorenzo, Collin and Chris have dived into the diverse regional cooking of Japan to create contemporary and delicious dishes inspired by the local delicacies in Hokkaido, Osaka and Fukuoka. The menu showcases seasonal, local ingredients: Japanese Greens grown in Sussex, meat from British farms, trout organically reared in Scotland and wasabi produced in the UK. Reflecting Pantechnicon’s focus on both Japanese and Nordic culture, some surprising hints of Nordic flavours and ingredients can also be found in the dishes.
Each plate is made with unparalleled ingredients from independent producers, creating dishes never experienced in London before. The strikingly designed open dining room is complemented by private vaulted booths set in a Japanese garden, a private dining room, a sushi counter and a late-night bar inspired by Tokyo’s secret speakeasies.
Designed for sharing, standout dishes include Hotate no chōri - scallops, artichoke, and yuzu with fermented grains; Suzuki Usuzukuri - a delicate combination of seabass, lava salt, sea and buckthorn and Robusutā Nama Harumaki - lobster, kohlrabi and cucumber with mugi miso. Guests will enjoy line caught fish prepared in front of them or at the sushi counter. Choose sashimi, nigiri or sushi maki, as well as a chefs' selection moriawase plate, that’s also available as a selection of show-stopping vegan nigiri.
The sushi, prepared masterfully by the chefs, was amongst the best we have ever tasted in London. Now a staple on all fine-dining restaurants, the Wagyu beef, was as delectable and beautifully prepared as you would hope. This dish is a true treat when prepared correctly and here it was succulent and full of flavour.
The sense of theatre leads through to the hot dishes featuring premium meats of Butaniku - succulent pork belly and barley miso with radish alongside Toriniku - chicken, kanzuri, shio koji, and peach served table-side, served alongside seasonal vegetables.
Utilising the shape of the space, across Sachi’s 130 covers, guests can choose from central tables, hidden noren covered booths or even a fully private room – it’s a space to be seen or hide away. The restaurant also features elements of Japanese garden design by DEIK, a London-based studio by Susumu Shioya which utilises the Japanese notion of ‘wa’ or ‘harmony’.
Diners can also sit at the eight-seater sushi counter and watch the chefs at work. Crafted from three eye-catching natural materials of warm oak, bright burnished brass, and blue clay brick, the counter acts as a stage for the chefs. The inviting bar at the front of the restaurant meanwhile features a curated drinks list of crafted cocktails and rare Japanese whiskies and sakes from Pantechnicon’s bottle shop, Sakaya: our sake expert Natsuki Kikuya is one of the UK’s few Sake Samurais.
The furniture has been created by Karimoku Case Study, a collaboration between Japanese furniture maker Karimoku and Copenhagen-based Norm Architects. The studio shares Pantechnicon’s belief in beautiful yet practical, understated design using natural materials for the furniture, some of which has never been sent outside of Japan before.
The walls are adorned with original art works by Tokyo-based artist Ryo Matsuoka which were also specially commissioned for the restaurant. They include a striking six-metre-long piece of vibrant abstract expressionism. Matsuoka also hand painted the restaurant’s logo – the Japanese typographic symbol for Sachi.
Barry Hirst, co-founder and Director of Pantechnicon said: “My vision for Sachi is to be an unexpected discovery in the heart of London. A place to meet, eat and celebrate life that’s completely inclusive. I wanted to create a space of comfort and calm whilst maintaining energy and intrigue. The design reflects the culinary offering, with spaces that are honest, authentic and approachable, which celebrate the materials and craftsmanship that brings them together.”
Pantechnicon is the home of Nordic and Japanese creativity and craftsmanship in London, where guests can eat, drink, shop and explore. It houses two Japanese and Nordic design shops, the UK’s first Café Kitsuné, a roof garden bar and winter terrace, a Nordic bar and restaurant – Eldr (meaning ‘fire’ in Old Norse), and Sakaya – a micro-bar and bottle shop.
19 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8LB