Review: Rika Moon, Notting Hill

Decadent design, exquisite Japanese fusion food and creative cocktails make for an irresistible proposition.

I’m getting ahead of myself, but Rika Moon, in Notting Hill, has stolen my heart. Here’s why…

Stepping through the door is like stepping into a wonderland – grandeur is the order of the day: the walls are painted with Romanesque murals and a beautiful marble bar commands the space. With a bar like this, it goes without saying that cocktails are a speciality; I’ve sampled many an Old Fashioned in my time, but Rika Moon’s unique take on the classic makes it by far the best I’ve ever tasted. So much so that I’m compelled to enquire who made this masterpiece, and how it was achieved. Resident mixologist Ciara describes the process she uses to infuse the bourbon with sesame  oil. It’s safe to say we’re off to a great start.

Onto the food, and aside from pointing out a few items from the menu that are really calling out to us, we ask the team to select others to complement our choices. The meal starts with a seaweed salad; it is subtly sharp and salty, served with a delicious black goma dressing. Rock shrimp tempura follows; crisp and light it is incredibly moreish. Tuna, salmon and sea bass sashimi are all mouth-wateringly delicious. The tuna especially so, being a chutoro cut (taken from the belly area along the side of the fish). A rather special churasi salmon, tuna and kingfish sushi maki comes next.

Indeed, everything is excellent – if we’re really pushed to choose, we’d have to say that the stars of the show are the Kyoto miso black cod, and the Wagyu of lamb. The former is flaky, velvety, buttery perfection, while the latter is exquisitely tender. Special mention, too, goes to the Wagyu clay pot of minced beef and gohan rice, which is comfort in a dish and perfect fare for a dark, wintery night.

We finish with mochi and black sesame fondant, the slight bitterness of the matcha ice cream cutting through the glossiness of the fondant beautifully. We are utterly replete and gloriously satisfied.

It has been a flawless experience from start to finish. The staff, the cocktails, the presentation, the quality of the fish and meat, the subtle complexity of the flavours – all perfect. Our only regret is that, because of a private party occupying the space downstairs, we don’t get to visit the ‘disco loo’. Apparently, it’s a real showstopper, and already famous on Instagram. We resolve to return and see it for ourselves as soon as we possibly can – like we need an excuse.

120 Kensington Park Road, W11 (020 3372 0703;

rika moon