KOJAWAN, a seductively cool 21st century izakaya with unrivalled views of the metropolis, is now open and here at Hero & Leander we cannot wait to try it out. It brings together inventive dishes influenced by the far side of Asia, namely Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Taking innovation to new heights, KOJAWAN sits on the 23rd floor of the Hilton London Metropole and offers fun and exciting compositions including the K-Bar – a combination of Europe’s first Kirin Ichiban beer and raw bar. Combine the playful menus with an exceptional view and zany, retro-futuristic interior and you are guaranteed an out-of-this-world experience, just minutes from Marble Arch.

This playfully delicious restaurant is the brain child of Bjorn van der Horst and Omar Romero. It feels fitting that these two applauded chefs should collaborate, given their similar training. Bjorn Van Der Horst (Greenhouse, La Noisette, Eastside Inn) and Omar Romero (Rhodes Twenty Four, Rosewood) have come together to create what is their ‘genuinely inauthentic’ interpretation of a 21st century izakaya. Russell Oxtoby joins the team as Head Chef, having previously run the kitchen at two AA Rosette restaurant Berners Tavern and has worked in the industry for over thirteen years.

KOJAWAN- Experience The Genuinely Inauthentic

KOJAWAN- Experience The Genuinely Inauthentic

Organised by cooking style, the refined dishes reflect the sleek minimalism of the aluminium menus that showcase them. Irresistible ‘Booze Food’ dishes are an unusual play on fast-food classics such as crispy chicken with a hot/cold dipping sauce, hot cricket bombs with citrus butter sauce and spicy crab dumplings. ‘Charcoal Oven’ and ‘Fire Stove’ dishes include crab and turnip or pork and green onion ‘egg cakes’ with Ibérico ham flakes; a show-stopping dish of fat noodles with clams, sake and fish flakes dancing in the heat of the bowl; BBQ beef cheek with chilli, ginger, and a perfectly tender octopus with lemon and smoked paprika. Raw food lovers can feast on a ‘Sushi-style’ rice sandwich with spicy crab and wakamole; Suffolk wagyu tartar with pear, sea lettuce, chilli and sesame crackers; and watermelon sashimi with black radish. Dilemma-inducing desserts include a new take on the Eton mess with lychee, green-tea meringue, whipped cream and a boozy hit of sake; ‘fish’ waffles with blueberries, black sesame and honey whiskey cream; and PanTako; a fluffy pancake with white chocolate and berries.

KOJAWAN- Experience The Genuinely Inauthentic

KOJAWAN- Experience The Genuinely Inauthentic

One of the things that has really grabbed our attention here at Hero & Leander are the flight meals on offer at KOJAWAN. Hand-crafted to offer a guided trip through the menu, the two flight meals offer a whistle-stop tour of Seoul, Tokyo and Taipei. The first is a mix of four meat and fish tasters, including black pudding with white asparagus and egg and Cobia blue tartar with Osietra Caviar. Refresh your palate with a Kirin Slurpee shot before tucking into a sampler of sweet dishes. The ‘flora-based’ flight allows vegetables to take centre stage. Dancing between BBQ sweet potato and stuffed tofu, it is every bit as well-rounded and satisfying as its non-veg counterpart.

KOJAWAN- Experience The Genuinely Inauthentic

KOJAWAN- Experience The Genuinely Inauthentic

The drinks move effortlessly between East and West – a must-try is the signature ‘K-slurpy’ a refreshingly cold beer with a choice of frozen top from the Kirin bar. Opt for the ‘Lar-gerita’ tequila combined with beer then frozen into a slushy, or go for mango and passion fruit. These drinks and many more are easily dispatched by the knowledgeable ‘service crew’ who are on hand with their bespoke airline drinks trollies. Take a high seat at the ‘O’ bar or relax in the space-age lounge and take advantage of superb cocktails created by head mixologist Jonathan Lee. Try ‘Off The Record’ creations such as Totally Tang made with Bacardi Bianco rum, pineapple, red pepper and Sansho, or Dashing Sun a mix of Death’s Door gin, Honjozo Sake and dashi. ‘On The Record’ classics feature the house Bloody Mary with Kimchi marinade, wasabi and a seaweed cigar. House Champagne Laurent Perrier takes centre stage and an affordable wine list completes the picture, including biodynamic varieties, as well as Akashi Tai Sakes.

KOJAWAN- Experience The Genuinely Inauthentic

KOJAWAN- Experience The Genuinely Inauthentic

Designed by London-based artist and designer Henry Chebaane from studio Blue Sky Hospitality, the identity of the restaurant is a delicate balance of science-fiction film set mixed with urban art gallery, interplaying sleek design with comfortable, pod and swivel seating. The collection of collaborative artwork includes a roster of international artists with their cultural roots in manga comics, animated movies, street graffiti, indie, rock and funk music. Named ‘ARTSCAPE’, this quirky collection found throughout the restaurant is as striking as the expansive window views overlooking the capital. The stainless steel sculptural design of the ‘O’ bar evokes the multi-dimensional quality of the “ultra-brut” label from house Champagne Laurent Perrier and its zero dosage, cool-fermenting and blending process, whilst the K-Bar is an abstraction of the barley molecule, housing more abstract art within its irregular alcoves. The front of the bar is tiled in a stunning kinetic scale-effect to resemble the skin of the Kirin, a Sino-Japanese mythological hybrid beast.

KOJAWAN seems to embody playful dining at its very best – providing a ‘genuinely inauthentic’ experience for couples seeking an alternative to conventional dining.

 

KOJAWAN

23rd floor, Hilton London Metropole

225 Edgware Road, London, W1T 1QQ

020 8088 0111

www.kojawan.uk