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Restaurant review: Nozomi, London

14-15 Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge, London, SW3 1NQ
020 7838 1500
Cuisine: Japanese
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A vibrant Japanese lunch in Knightsbridge brings a little colour and style to Zoe Perrett's September.
The muted shades of September are hard on the jaded, sun-bleached retinas of jet-set Londoners flocking back from exotic summer escapes. The routine of the office, the ennui of the supermarket sandwich or same old cafe... We're all yearning for a little sensory stimulation.
So, midweek, lunchtime- and a girl's lunch booked at Nozomi. Sited on an unprepossessing Knightsbridge sidestreet, the Japanese restaurant is perfectly located for a break from the perennial hustle and bustle of Harrod's food hall. A window table provides a vantage point from which to size up SW3's elite, despite the rather distracting perpetually ring of the telephone beside us.
Summer's excesses have created a craving for light, healthful and pretty dishes. Nozomi's lunch menu encompasses a range of bento boxes that tick all the er, boxes- albeit in less than dainty portions. We opt for Classic and Supreme versions. And, with such an ample, wide-ranging cocktail list, it seems churlish not to try a rose and lychee bellini.
The seductive sound of a cocktail shaker being vigorously agitated whets my whistle, and the resulting beverage hits the mark. Sweet, fragrant and ice cold, Nozomi's mixologist clearly knows his stuff.
Bento boxes arrive after miso soup dotted with quivering, tender tofu. Each vast, double-decker battleship is divided into six sections- one layer cold, the other hot. Both squid and rock shrimp tempuras are fine- start with these to enjoy at their best. Sushi rolls and sashimi are generous and well-executed. Our favourite? It's a toss up between the pure starchy comfort of takikomi-gohan (toothsome brown rice), and delicious hunks of miso-grilled black cod and Chilean seabass.
The boxes are enough to set anyone up for a hard afternoon at the coalface of the Mac screen, but we're going shopping. Coffees fill the 20-minute wait for a decent chocolate fondant with mint ice cream- perhaps the very dish that inspired Nozomi's sombre decor. But the real colour lies in the food- beautiful presentation, varied textures and fresh tastes, guaranteed to ward off the September blues.
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6 September 2010
By: Zoe Perrett
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