Dai Chi is the sexy Soho sister of the delectable Angelina in Dalston. The greeting you receive is the same warm and cheery welcome that we enjoyed when we had the pleasure of dining at Angelina in the autumn, but Dai Chi has its own unique culinary identity.
For the first time in London, you can now enjoy dishes inspired by the famous Japanese kushiktasu dining culture. Don’t be fooled by the somewhat simple word translation (kushi = skewer, katsu = deep fried) and expect some sort of ‘stick food.’ Dai Chi, like its big sister, has elevated the famous dining experience of Osaka by serving it omakase style – which in essence allows you to savour morsels of the most powerful taste sensations of the highest quality meat, fish and vegetables, served on traditional kushi skewers.
As we sipped on a Ume & Kosho cocktail (plum and peppercorn shrub, Suze & Italicus), we soaked up the environment – sleek and sophisticated, intimate black tables, leather seats, a wall of playful teddy bear statues accented by sumptuous Italian marble, all encompassing the perfect setting for a date.
The first of our six courses – delicate small plates of tuna tobiko taco, hamachi with truffle soy and chawanmushi made our mouths salivate and opened our pallets. The clever drinks pairing of wines from around the world (a very reasonable £35 per person) is a must. We savoured a stunning Gavi di Gavi as we delighted in black Iberico tomato, shiso and cucumber and carrot with sesame and daikon.
What Dai Chi does so well is mastering the art of balance, which is no easy feat. With only 28 covers, the room is airy and yet also intimate. The sleek Japanese design sits comfortably with plush materials and the food, managing the true essence of balance itself. Kotsuobushi and squid donuts, winter leaf with burrata and ikura are combinations that perhaps sound daunting but are in fact both subtle and packed with flavour that makes bite-size cuisine so unique and exciting.
A glass of exceptional Pinot Noir ‘Rully Rouge’ cut through the deep-fried delicacies of beef, duck and chicken. Each skewer is topped with the addition of Dai Chi’s unique, modern Japanese flavours to heighten the experience. Our favourite was the Carabineiro red prawns with lardo di colonnata.
It’s always a surprise when you feel full after devouring small plates of food but thankfully, we had enough room to enjoy a creamy yet light panna cotta with chocolate and orange which was playfully washed down with a Sicilian Moscato.
Dai Chi is a restaurant for all. To one side we had an Instagram fanatic who was giddy with happiness with each snap they took of their beautiful food. To the other side was an exultant couple enjoying the ability to share their dishes and get even closer. A private dining room that sits twelve is also half open to the rest of the restaurant so that you can still enjoy the buzz coming from the other diners.
How Dai Chi manages to produce food of such quality at these prices (£38 for the six course Omakase menu) is simply baffling. But the beauty of this is how it allows fine dining to be so accessible and inclusive to all and for this we adore it even more.
Don’t leave without sampling a number of the sakes available, curated by Haruka Hisata, a sake and wine sommelier from Nagasaki.
To discover more, visit: daichi.london
All imagery courtesy of Dai Chi.
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