Dinings (Marylebone): where birthday sushi dreams come true

One of my favourite documentaries of all time has got to be Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It’s rather inspiring to watch the makings of a man who has dedicated his life in mastering a craft and very humbling to see how great things (and awesome food) start from nothing but a dream.

Also, all that sushi porn made me salivate rivers of hunger. Mark my words, buddies. one of these days, I will go to Tokyo and eat at Sukiyabashi Jiro.

In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy the sushi we have here in London. 
For my actual birthday dinner, I was surprised to end up in front of a rather unostentatious establishment in Marylebone and thought we were going to someone’s home for a supperclub. Little did I know those unsuspecting doors would open into what would be one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in the city, Dinings.

I’ve heard much about Dinings from foodie friends and have always wanted to visit. We walked into the tiny restaurant and were sat by the sushi counter upstairs. There’s also a small table service are downstairs.

Using the freshest ingredients, Dinings marry traditional Japanese cuisine with modern European fare.

First up, a very fresh salad of half a Scottish lobster (£20.45) with jalapeño mayonnaise and vinaigrette. The simplest of salads with the freshest ingredients are truly the most delicious (like this one I had in Cafe Savini in Milan) and this lobster salad was no exception. Compared to a relatively overpriced tuna nicoise I’ve had recently, I would gladly pay more for more of this salad.

Of course, there was sashimi.

The Scottish salmon ‘zuke’ style sashimi (£4.95 per piece) was topped with caramelized onion soy jam and it was perfect. Fatty but firm in all the right ways with a balanced sweetness you can not fault.

But oh, the akami tuna sashimi (£4.25 per piece). The moment I put it in my mouth I almost cried. It was so fresh it just melted! I wanted the experience to last as long as it could because it was so good and I didn’t want it to end… but it was TOO good and I just wanted to devour the damn thing!

My birthday crab came in form of Dinings’ double crab roll (£18.90 for 6). These were filled with super fresh Cornish crab meat and topped with crispy soft-shell crab, dressed with a yuzu garlic sauce and cress salad. It’s a pretty dish which delivers in Instagrammable criteria. The taste is subtle yet substantial.

I love me a good piece of unagi and the ‘uzaku’ style fresh water eel sushi (£4.40 per piece) did not disappoint. Unlike most unagi dishes it wasn’t covered with an overly sweet glaze. The sear on the eel was good, giving it a smoky flavour that somehow enhanced its natural flavour.

The seared A3 Japanese Wagyu beef sushi topped with foie-gras and sweet soy (£8.95 per piece) was just divine. I’m not particularly keen on aburi sushi but I fell in love with this one badly.

It had the right amount of foie gras, the perfect slice of beef and the rice… wow. Great acidity, great bite, great portion size. This was seriously divine.

The only thing on the savoury menu that didn’t move me much was the grilled chilli garlic black cod (£18.95). The fish was well-cooked but I found the chilli jam a bit too salty for my liking.

The creme brulee was served with matcha ice cream which I thought was an odd combination. However, I actually quite liked it - it felt like having two desserts! 
Down to desserts, Dinings really got the balance right. 

I opted for a black sesame panacotta which was exactly what I wanted: a light dessert with strong flavours. It came with an espresso ice cream that was really good, too…

…and a very happy message that put a smile on my face the way it did my belly!

I absolutely loved my experience at Dinings and I couldn’t think of any other place to have had my birthday dinner this year. Service was excellent and the food was amazing - possibly some of the best Japanese I’ve had in London. It’s truly a fantastic establishment and I definitely won’t wait for my next birthday to come back!

22 Harcourt St, London W1H
Ave spend pp: £60
Square Meal

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  1. 3rd November 2015 / 12:48 pm

    I agree, it's such a hidden gem but amazing food. Definitely one of the best in London.
    Lots of love,

    SilverSpoon London

  2. 3rd November 2015 / 1:59 pm

    God I NEED to visit Dinings - it sounds up to the standards of Sushi Nakazawa in NY (where Miho just went with E and where Jiro's protégé is head chef). The food looks sensational - great choice for a birthday meal! Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea's Passions

    • 4th November 2015 / 8:49 am

      I think you'd love it, Andrea. Saw photos of E's & Miho's photos on IG of Sushi Nakazawa… now on the bucket list! x

  3. 3rd November 2015 / 5:43 pm

    I've yet to dine at Dinings but I've heard that it's one of the best sushi places in London so it was great to read your review!

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

  4. 4th November 2015 / 8:25 am

    It sounds like you had a wonderful birthday! x

    • 4th November 2015 / 8:49 am

      I really did, Amanda. Even much better than my 30th! x

  5. 5th November 2015 / 12:15 pm

    Absolutely need to try that black sesame pannacotta, it looks heavenly ! xx

  6. Babble and Bite
    6th November 2015 / 6:49 am

    I have heard so much about Dinings but still haven't made it over! And I loveeeee Japanese, so I really need to go! It's on the list. xx

    • 8th November 2015 / 11:31 am

      Lesley you seriously should go, it's awesome! x

      • Lesley Pittaway
        6th September 2016 / 5:56 pm

        …I still haven’t. The shame.

        • Honey de Gracia
          6th September 2016 / 7:36 pm

          *GAAAAASP* For a sushi lover like you, gooooo!

  7. 6th November 2015 / 3:09 pm

    This looks like the perfect birthday joint for you, H 🙂 Sushi - tick. Sashimi - tick. Crab - tick. Matcha - tick. And the black sesame pannacotta looks to die for. Someone clearly knows you well. Dinings is going straight to the top of my list! And I LOVE Jiro Dreams Of Sushi - not a doc to watch on an empty stomach though! xx

    Tamsin / A Certain Adventure

    • 8th November 2015 / 11:30 am

      The pannacotta was yum! And yes, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is something you can't watch on an empty stomach (although I'd still go hungry even if I were full!)

  8. 7th November 2015 / 12:55 pm

    Sushi heaven! I would try to say something more intelligent and interesting but… yum!

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