You don’t get much fresher than fish swimming around in aquariums. Luckily these don’t appear on your plate although the sushi is so fresh you may begin to wonder...
Spread across three floors with an upstairs mezzanine bar, a ground floor and a basement restaurant, Kyashii’s spacious setting is its first major plus point. Upon entering the glamour is obvious with low lighting, a gleaming bar and a feeling of decadence that comes from its previous incarnation as members only bar Kingly Club St Martin’s Lane. For a night with the real wow factor head downstairs. The dark mirrored stairway and corridors are a little hard to traverse at first but stay with it and you’ll suddenly be thrust into one of the gleaming white, bright basement dining areas. White floors, white walls, white ceilings, glass white tables with accompanying leather sofas and chairs in, you guessed it, white could have been overkill if it wasn’t broken up by clever decorative touches. Circles of blue cover the walls and the centrepiece of the space – two huge blue aquariums filled with colourful fish – adds punch to the room. Neon yellow uplights complete the look, adding some much needed warmth. You’ll be hard pushed not to be impressed.
When it was the Kingly Club, this venue was borderline pretentious and even a little smug. Now, the doormen are friendly and welcoming and it’s far more laid back. Although many of the customers do get glammed up, especially on the weekend when visiting the upstairs bar, you will also spy groups of friends in trainers and jeans enjoying cocktails and sushi in the restaurant. It’s an interesting mix that adds some much needed depth to Kyashii that it previously lacked. The staff are efficient and friendly although sometimes you may feel a little forgotten if you’re in the basement but you'll soon lose track of time when staring at the beautiful aquariums, so it hardly seems to matter.
If you want to experience Kyashii and not pay too much for the privilege you can pick at the sharing dishes whilst drinking cocktails rather than splashing out on three courses. Dishes include generously portioned hot edamame in a spicy, tomato and garlic sauce (£4), perfectly seasoned minced pork gyoza with a delicate balance of spices (£5.50) or skewers with some unusual choices like a rich, intensely flavoured pork neck skewer or meaty eel skewer (both £2.50 per skewer).
Disappointing (given the quality of the other dishes), however, is the Kyashii tempura (£15). Bland and under seasoned, it doesn't do justice to the plump king prawn, squid, white fish, aubergine, shitake mushroom, sweet potato and asparagus, as all the flavours disappear in the bland batter. Far better is the delicious, extremely fresh sashimi and sushi with plump pieces of rich, flavoursome fish simply presented on plates of ice.
The stand out dish, however, is the foie gras sushi set. Didn’t think foie gras and sushi went together? Think again. The rich, meaty fois gras perfectly complements the fresh, light fish. Delicious. If you want something more substantial then main dishes are available such as an incredibly well flavoured, rich piece of black cod fillet marinated in miso to give the fish a delicate saltiness, best accompanied by the beautifully cooked steamed rice (£3).
Drinks in the restaurant take a back seat to the food with a surprisingly tiny choice of wine, well priced with most bottles coming in between £20-£30. A selection of cocktails designed to accompany the sushi with fresh citrus flavours are a clever addition to the menu as are the sakes and appertifs.
The Last Word
Kyashii has really benefitted from becoming a venue in its own right, leaving the Kingly Club far behind. A glamorous restaurant experience with a laid back atmosphere, it’s certainly got off to a fantastic start.