Built in 1830, the huge Pantechnicon building in Belgravia began life as an arts and crafts centre. Towards the end of last year, the building was overhauled, however, and turned into a ‘cultural space’ centred around food, drink, design and shopping experiences, all inspired by Nordic and Japanese cultures.
Set across six floors, the space is divided into eight individual entities, including the Roof Garden, Eldr, Café Kitsuné, the Kiosk, Sakaya, the Edit, the Studio, and Sachi – a new restaurant celebrating Japanese food, culture and design, with subtle Nordic influences. Occupying the building’s basement space, the new restaurant has a beautiful, open dining room with space for 130 covers. An eight-seat sushi counter is joined by vaulted booths and a private dining room, while the late-night bar is inspired by Tokyo speakeasies, serving cocktails, rare Japanese whiskies, and expert sake pairings worth taking advantage of.
“My vision for Sachi is to be an unexpected discovery in the heart of London,” said Barry Hirst, co-founder and Director of Pantechnicon. “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.”
Meaning “happiness” in Japanese, Sachi serves a menu crafted by Head Chef Collin Hudston and Pantechnicon Executive Head Chef Chris Golding. Split into sections showcasing Japanese regional cooking, the menu highlights dishes inspired by local delicacies in Hokkaido, Osaka and Fukuoka.
Seasonal and local ingredients are also utilised, including Japanese Greens grown in Sussex, meat from British farms, trout organically reared in Scotland, and wasabi produced in the UK. Some Nordic flavours are also employed throughout. Like all of the best Japanese restaurants, the chefs at Sachi are also happy to provide an omakase menu tailored to guests’ preferences.
A recent dinner at Sachi began with a plate of Suzuki Usuzukuri: thin slivers of sea bass prettily fanned across the plate resembling a sunflower, simply adorned with sea buckthorn and lava salt. Toro tataki, another simple yet effective dish, featured dominos of fatty tuna gently seared and served in a shallow bath of dashi ponzu, showcasing the fish especially well. More of that gorgeous fatty tuna featured as the jewel in the proverbial crown of the sashimi platter, all served at body temperature (as it should be), alongside slivers of expertly prepared sea bass, sea bream, masu trout, and lobster tail. A selection of nigiri, on the other hand, showcased excellent, slightly warm nuggets of sticky rice draped with lightly scorched trout, masuko (trout roe), sea bream, and raw scallop with a clean flavour rivalling seared scallop.
Onto the warm main dishes, butaniku comprised slabs of pork belly with well-rendered fat alongside charred radish wedges and a deeply savoury barley miso. Naturally, Wagyu beef (A4 grade) is showcased at Sachi, served with beetroot and more miso, but the pork belly dish was far more compelling, at less than half the price. Even better was a seemingly humble dish of long-braised aubergine with plenty of sticky sweetness coaxed from the cooking process, while the miso element balanced with savoury notes. Elsewhere, Ankou Bubu Arare was a deeply comforting dish comprising two fishcakes made from meaty monkfish, cloaked with rice crisps to bring additional crunch, best washed down with a cup of sake from the extensive by-the-glass selection.
Sachi at Pantechnicon can be found at 19 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8LB.