Jason Atherton may have only just launched his latest restaurant, Social Wine & Tapas in Marylebone, but another one is due in just a few months.
The Pollen Street Social chef will open Japanese restaurant Sosharu in Clerkenwell in early autumn, and it will come with a basement hip-hop bar and a mini restaurant-within-a-restaurant.
The restaurant’s name translates as ‘social’, and will take the form of a 75-seat izakaya – an informal Japanese restaurant that serves tapas-style Japanese food to go with drinks.
The menu will span sashimi, teppanyaki and robatayaki dishes, with some already confirmed including a plate of sea urchin, fresh cheese, apple dashi, flowers and vegetables alongside snacks of karaage chicken with lemon and salt, and oysters with ponzu, wasabi and daikon.
There will be no sushi as Atherton says that it is a “very specialist area which we don’t want to venture into” and there will also be no ramen.
Empire: Socharu will be Atherton’s eighth London restaurant
In terms of the look of the restaurant – which will occupy a space in the newly-built Turnmill Building on Clerkenwell Road – Atherton says that it will be “beautiful”.
Upstairs there will be a small restaurant-within-a-restaurant called Kisetsu, which is a word referring to ‘seasonal’ in Japanese. Atherton tells us that it will have its own entrance and seats for just 12-15 diners, offering a “super-fine dining experience” based on seasonal ingredients.
There will be no menu with dishes simply brought out by the chef in line with Japan’s omakase style of dining. Atherton says: “At Kisetsu the chef will keep bringing out dishes until diners say they’ve had enough. A 15 course tasting menu here will likely cost between £100 and £120 before drinks – which will be taken care of by a dedicated sake sommelier.”
Downstairs will be very different. A basement bar will play Japanese hip-hop music and serve cocktails made with Japanese ingredients such as sake, shochu and Japanese whiskey until 1am. “I hope people will enjoy a bit of a dance here as well as a drink,” says Atherton. “I loved my hip-hop music when I was a kid,” he adds.
He will also open an Italian restaurant in Victoria in early 2016 and a Little Social-style restaurant in Covent Garden in early 2017, as part of the Bow Street Magistrates’ Court hotel development.