Test Drives

taka marylebone california rollsIt's all very calming here at Taka (at the beginning of the evening).

So what do we need to know about Taka Marylebone?

This is the second London opening by brother and sister team Andrey and Anastasia Datsenko who were born and grew up in Tokyo. They opened Taka Mayfair in 2017 and have just followed that up with this new, larger restaurant.

Where is it?

You'll find in on Marylebone High Street - it's taken over the spot where neighbourhood favourite The Providores used to be. It's about halfway between Baker Street and Bond Street stations.

What kind of food is it?

Think Japanese food made with the best British ingredients. So the veg comes from Sussex farm NamaYasai which specialises in Japanese produce. The milk bread for the sando comes from Shepherd's Bush-based Happy Sky Bakery and the all-important fish for the sushi comes via Kernow sashimi in Cornwall. Group Executive Chef Taiji Maruyama (Beaverbrook and Nobu) has come up with the menu working alongside Head Chef Jonathan Dowling.

It's a mix of Japanese tapas, robata dishes, sushi and rolls and their mochi flatbreads. Here's what we had:

taka marylebone california rollsLoch Duart Salmon Tataki with Shio Kombu, Green Chilli Sauce (£12.50) - just so beautiful...

taka marylebone california rollsLord of the Fries (£14) top tier potato action using Red Duke of York 1943 and Lady Cristl for the chips and then piling them with truffle and Parmigiano Reggiano. You can even add Exmoor caviar for more bling.

taka marylebone california rollsPopcorn Shrimp Tempura with spicy mayo (£14) - if you're able to see the words popcorn shrimp on a menu and not order it, then you are a stronger person than us. The tempura was perfect on this. 

taka marylebone california rollsSurf and Turf (£13.50) two fat chicken thigh yakitori piled high with prawn floss.

taka marylebone california rollsKigoshima A5 Wagyu Sando (£50) - we'll be honest, while this was lovely, the sauce was a little too strong. We'd have preferred to be able to taste all that expensive wagyu.

taka marylebone california rollsMochi flatbread served with garlic nori butter (and a super cute paintbrush for slathering it on) - there's a choice of meat, fish and veggie 'big dips' to go with it. Our Bluefin tuna sweetcorn (£13) was light years away from what that filling usually tastes like.

taka marylebone california rollsCalifornia roll - made with Snow Crab, Yuzu Tobiko and Yuzu Mayo (£12) and a very good roll too.

What's on the drinks list?

We would strongly recommend you start with a cocktail - we thought ours were both excellent. There's an extensive selection of English still and sparkling wines on the list too, but we ended up with a lovely light Vinho Verde (£29) which didn't overpower our dishes.

taka marylebone california rollsThe Welkombu made with Olmeca tequila-infused kombu and the Perfect Match with Havana 3yo infused mustard seeds, macha syrup, lime juice and yuzu foam (both £12.50). Truly top-notch cocktails both - with that yuzu foam pushing the Perfect Match into the lead. 

How about dessert?

Save a space, for sure - we were glad we did.

taka marylebone california rollsWhite chocolate saikyo miso ice cream with milk crumb iced and caramelised yuba (tofu skin) - (£8).

Overall thoughts

It feels like the team behind Taka are trying to do something genuinely different with their restaurants. The back of the menu with the map of the UK on it, listing their suppliers, sets out their stall. But while the focus is on all that amazing, sustainable produce, the chefs are then given free rein to do something fun and interesting with it. We liked this place a lot.

 

More about Taka

Where is it? 109 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4RX

How to book? Book online

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @takarestaurants.

 

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