A new restaurant in an already overly-catered city needs to stand out. Sushi Des Artistes, a Japanese take on French sushi, certainly stands out. Located frighteningly close to Barts London on Sloane Avenue, this 98-seater restaurant has décor which makes a funfair look dull. Red and white striped tables, banquets, walls, menus, uniforms, floors – need I go on? Actually, yes, there are bowler hat lights hanging over each table.
Trying, but not totally succeeding, to put the curious interior design aside, I was thrilled to be dinning with my visiting Sarasota friend, an ultra cool undercover photographer and my dearest London-living Canadian. Flanked by almost all yanks, we flitted from one subject to the next, hardly drawing for breath.
If a menu can be bling, this one is. Each item has an additional ‘romantic’ name. We ordered two of the chilled soups, Day Break (potato/white truffle £8.50) and Mon Cherie (clam/tofu/tomato/dried pancetta £7.50). They came in cocktails glasses dressed to the nines with a logoed ribbon. As well two regular miso soups, Too Young (with the divine Mekabu £5.80), which came looking much more regular. All the soups were drop dead exquisite. Now, you didn’t expect that, did you? It was at this point that the penny dropped and I remembered the idiom: never judge a book by its cover.
Plate after plate, mouthful after mouthful… the team were swarming around us, more eager to please than dog wanting a bone. One for My Baby (a sashimi selection of salmon, tuna, scallop, sea bass, hamachi £59.50) arrived (are you getting the idea here?) looking utterly spectacular and certainly didn’t disappoint as we slurped the raw fish and sipped our Saki.
Big screens on one wall of the restaurant were playing a looped recording of the Bee Gees in concert. One or two hits would have been ample but after an hour or two, one of my fellow diners felt she needed to point out to the men-in-charge that this was simply not complementary music to his fine cuisine.
To sum up, Sushi Des Artistes serves some incredibly beautiful sushi. It tastes and looks exquisite. However, and it’s a big HOWEVER, the restaurant will never reach its full potential with those dazzling stripes, grating music and eye-watering prices.
85 Sloane Avenue, SW3 020 35833797 www.sushidesartistes.com