This November, Joshua Owens-Baigler and Amar Takhar - the founders of cult Italo-Japanese Dalston restaurant Angelina - will launch Japanese-inspired kushikatsu restaurant, Dai Chi, in the heart of Soho. The restaurant will open with a soft launch, exact dates to be announced soon.

Dai Chi will bring Osaka’s famous kushikatsu dining culture (kushi = skewer, katsu = deep-fried) to London for the first time, with a menu centred around fried skewers of the highest quality meat, fish and vegetables. Offering an elevated interpretation of the Japanese speciality (also known as kushiage), Dai Chi will serve its kushiage omakase-style as a nod to sister restaurant Angelina, with the option of a simple or more complex tasting menu, both centred around precisely fried, panko-breadcrumbed skewers that elevate seemingly simple foods to new levels.

The omakase set menu will consist of two crudo courses to start, followed by the main event - the kushikatsu - exploring the art of deep frying vegetables, fish and meat on traditional kushi skewers. Each kushiage skewer is topped with the addition of Dai Chi’s unique, modern Japanese flavours to heighten the experience, from Carabineiro Red Prawns to Chestnut & smoked soy, replacing the usual simple dipping sauce found in Japan. There will also be the option to upgrade the omakase menu with the addition of higher-end kushikatsu dishes, from sticks of fried A5 wagyu tenderloin and white truffle to Deep fried oysters with blackberry & yuzu kosho granita.

Kushikatsu skewers will include -

  • Shiso, shitake and hazelnut
  • Lotus root, goma and black sesame whipped with tofu, aged balsamic
  • Scallop, bergamot ponzu and Exmouth caviar
  • Lobster tail and hokkaido brioche ‘skewered lobster burger’
  • Lamb neck with ginger, rosemary and soy, finished with harissa and mustard garnish

The fried skewers will be tempered with the likes of unlimited palate-cleansing house tsukemono pickles dressed with fiery chilli oil and sesame honey and chilled miso soup, and the Omakase tasting menu will finish with a Japanese risotto, kicking off with Japanese uni & Mentaiko, and a dessert. The set menu is priced at £35 and is payable in advance, with the all-in option including all premium extras priced at £58.

Drinks are headed up by Haruka Hisata, JSA sake and wine sommelier, who has curated at Dai Chi a unique international wine list and extensive sake offering to be paired with kushiage. The drinks-led offering mixes sake and wines from across the globe for a playful and elegant pairing that recalls kushiage’s origins in Osakan bars, from floral Barbaresco to clear, smooth Junmai sake.

Guests can be seated in the intimate 28-cover restaurant on Soho’s d’Arblay Street, or at the 6-seater counter to reflect the dining experience at quintessential kushikatsu restaurants. The elegant, pared-back interiors mirror Angelina’s sophisticated design that mixes Japanese minimalism with Italian marble accents, softened by dried floral arrangements and with the addition of a vinyl record player as a focal point to the restaurant, bringing a curated yet unobtrusive soundtrack to the space. For group dining, Dai Chi will also offer a private dining room seating 12. |