1. Sushi donut
‘Eminently instagrammable’ declares the menu about this brand new invention for the just-built Camden branch (the other two are in Soho and Covent Garden). They’re not, of course, wrong (see main pic): equal strips of the freshest raw prawn, tuna, salmon and creamy avocado are artfully arranged on rice to provide a clean opener to a meal. Perfect, in fact, as you fiddle about with the lighting using your nifty table remote control, or check on the chef’s progress in the kitchen via the web-cam. You can even ‘doodle’ on the digital table-top electronically. The future is here.
2. Dragon roll
Sipping a non-alcoholic Anime Apple cocktail, a fusion of apple and lime juice, passion fruit puree and a touch of honey (so good I was convinced it had real vodka in it), we gazed out of the big windows overlooking Mornington Crescent’s oxblood red tiled station, as crowds gathered outside an illuminated KOKO. And the dragon roll, which arrived promptly, was similarly dazzling: crunchy tempura shrimp, topped with avocado, and a very moreish mayo. Eight pieces meant an easy share, and it was a looker, too.
3. Tuna sashimi
We could imagine gobbling a light plate of sashimi down on summer evenings when the vast downstairs roadside garden will come into its own (as will the cute upstairs terrace). In fact, the outside spaces seat far more punters than the smallish interior, with its warming coppers, golds and Tom Dixon lighting. The twist with this dish is that succulent slices of fresh line-caught tuna are seared on the grill, giving the outside a pleasing charred flavour, lightly glazed with wasabi, yuzu and soy sauce dressing. Yum.
4. Black cod
There are many reasons to enjoy this classic dish — it’s sustainably fished, full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and wonderfully buttery when cooked. In my mind it’s the one that you have to order at a Japanese restaurant, and here it’s executed admirably: silky smooth, just-cooked flesh is marinated in salty-sweet spicy miso overnight. It’s served on a jumble of chestnut mushrooms and shallots in an oyster and sesame sauce to add earthy and tangy notes.
5. Stone fillet
A fun dish in keeping with the interactive spirit of the restaurant itself. Red slices of fillet steak straddle a oblong plate with aromatic thyme and sea salt strewn about. You chuck the pieces on to a sizzling hot black stone, before dunking them in one of three very different sauces, of which a zingy Nam Jim, by turns salty, sweet, spicy and sour, was our favourite, with the teriyaki and Korean BBQ equal second.