11/29/2012 11:33:00 AM

Wabi: A First Taste of the New Japanese in Holborn

Yesterday we attended the unveiling of Wabi, a contemporary Japanese restaurant in Holborn from two ex-Nobu chefs Scott Hallsworth and Taiji Maruyama. It was more of an occasion than dinner, so the food was bite-sized and passed around as canapes rather than dishes on plates. The verdict? Well, the speed with which the circling vultures pounced upon it speaks volumes.
First up were tender portions of salmon lightly poached in a red pepper sauce, succulent with a sweet finish from the red pepper. There were plates of traditional sushi, with rice and seaweed-wrapped tuna, okra and salmon and avocado, with teriyaki dipping sauce. Soft rice-flour pancakes layered with cucumber pickle, juicy chunks of pork belly, and finished with a spicy peanut sauce were exquisitely satisfying, while the crisp tempura vegetables in a whisper-fine batter laced with salt were extremely addictive. But the stand-out dish was the innocuous looking mouthfuls of Yellow Tail fish skewered through a green olive and topped with smoked aubergine relish. The light taste of the soft, raw fish boosted by the smokeyness of the aubergine and a quick tang of olive. Some eye-opening flavours.

The miniaturised menu included other dishes that never came near us, including the intriguing sounding tea smoked lamb chops with spicy Korean miso, or desserts such as the tomato jam and sweet basil grenache macaroon. But it seems safe to say that Messrs Hallsworth and Maruyama have nailed this particular fusion of the Asian and European. With the water-feature entrance, smartly attired servers with matching yellow trainers and crisp greeting staff, Wabi is an interesting mix of the formality of Japanese dining with a more contemporary relaxed London vibe - not complete, of course, without a bar serving excellent cocktails.


  1. So glad no baby dolphin and whale sushimi were on the menu. Taiji, Japan kills them by the scores then markets those horrors in slippery, lucrative ways, wherever/however they can. Taiji is a fishing village sold out to the devil, it seems ..but most of Japan is finding out and disgusted with the high mercury meat, thank heaven.

  2. Looks like a demo may be on the cards

  3. I wonder WHY there's a BOYCOTT in place on this restaurant !!!!!!!

  4. First I've heard of it ANONYMOUS! Are you trying to cause trouble?