Sachi translates to happiness in Japanese, which felt fitting for the name of a restaurant that I left with a stuffed belly and an enormous smile on my face last week.
This trendy dining spot in the heart of Belgravia opened on 21 July, with its menu crafted by head chef Collin Hudston (formerly of Roka) and executive chef Chris Golding (of Nobu and Zuma, another top Japanese restaurant in Knightsbridge).
The restaurant is located on the lower ground floor of Pantechnicon – the swanky, five-storey Nordic and Japanese food and shopping centre which opened in September last year. The Pantechnicon building, originally built in 1830, also features a rooftop bar, Nordic-inspired shop and studio space, and the first UK outpost of iconic Japanese brand Café Kitsuné.
Despite there being no natural light, Sachi is a breathtaking space. Its open-plan dining room was designed in keeping with the philosophy of Japanese minimalism, where there are no gimmicks or unnecessary adornments. The room is accessed through a stunning living plant installation that contains both real and artificial flora, while calming tropical creepers are draped around internal beans and ceiling fittings.
Guests can choose to sit at a central table, in a noren-covered, Covid-friendly private booth or at the eight-seater sushi counter, crafted from warm oak, brass and blue clay brick, to watch the chefs at work. There’s also a private dining room which is used for parties and sake masterclasses, as well as a late-night bar inspired by Tokyo’s secret speakeasies that serves rare Japanese whiskies.
The ingredients of each plate on the tantalising food menu are grown and sourced from independent producers in the UK (the trout, for example, is organically reared in Scotland and many of the greens hail from Sussex). The menu is extensive but not overwhelming; for a table of two, a recommended order is two or three sushi dishes and then one fish, one meat and one vegetable dish.
We had the pleasure of sampling a variety of fabulously fresh sushi including bright pink masu (trout) and blood-red otoro (fatty tuna belly) sashimi, as well as masuko (trout roe) and suzuki (sea bass) nigiri. Rather than individually choosing our sushi, we went for the “chef’s selection”, which I highly recommend as it forces you to branch out from your ordinary order.
As well as the sashimi and nigiri, we tried the toro maki rolls made from bluefin tuna belly (one of the most prized cuts), spring onion and buckwheat. The contrast of the soft-as-silk tuna with the crunch of the spring onion made this a complete showstopper of a dish and among our favourites of the evening. We also ordered the nigiri special which featured buttery wagyu beef Tatar and was even better than we anticipated.
Along with some sake-based cocktails, we washed down our sushi with light but warming robusutā miso, a twist on the classic Japanese miso soup which decadently featured small chunks of lobster within the salty-sweet broth.
Next up was “ankou bubu arare 9 monkfish” – soft monkfish encased in crispy rice, which my dining companion (who generally is not a big fish eater) said was one of the most delicious things he’d ever tasted. We also tried the beef short ribs which were served in a black garlic sauce and with a side of fermented mushrooms which definitely had an umami quality once you overcame their slightly odd texture.
Our final dish, which we scarcely had space for, was one of Sachi’s bestselling items: miso aubergine. This was cooked to perfection – perfectly charred and crispy on the outside, yet creamy and silken on the inside – and came with a side of tangy green tomatoes.
The restaurant is still trialling its desserts but after such a colossal meal we were quite happy to call it a day. The lovely staff did, however, bring us two slices of cake to sample as part of their dessert recipe testing (if both make it onto the eventual pudding menu, you won’t be disappointed).
Sachi certainly isn’t cheap but if you’re a sushi fanatic like me then it’s more than worth making a special trip for. Everything we tried was exceptional, with the restaurant itself so thoughtfully designed and authentically Japanese in style. I admire anyone who is attempting to launch a new restaurant during the pandemic and I wish the team behind Sachi every success. They deserve it.
Sachi, 19 Motcomb Street London SW1X 8LB; pantechnicon.com/sachi