One of the many perks of calling an international city home is, of course, the food. I’ve been spoilt for choice most of my life: I’ve lived in LA, Chicago, New York, Paris, Dublin - and now call London my home. My stomach might have been born and bred in America, but my gut knows the globe. I grew up eating multi-culturally. Sure, plain chicken and rice were a fan favourite in my household but I grew to love the taste of most of the northern hemisphere. All this to say: I am no foreigner to great food.

People often ask me as an expat what the difference between living in America and the UK is. It doesn’t matter if I’m taking a taxi or talking to a new colleague. Everyone wants to know: is it better here or there? The answer is nuanced. But the hardest adjustment in moving across the Atlantic has without question been the food. Don’t hate me Brits.

There are two world class food experiences here in the UK: Indian and English. It’s sausage rolls, pies, and the occasional masala. I find there is little creativity outside those two food groups. Mexican, Chinese or really any other area of expertise are hard to come by. And since we’re being honest: I should tell you that I’m not a foodie. I have my favourites, my go-to’s, my moments of mouth watering admiration. But it takes a lot for me to sit back and soak in food like I’m at a great museum, to remind me that it is an art form.

So believe me when I say: my sit down at Sushi Kanesaka gave me a new perceptive on food - not just in the UK, but in the world. Allow me to walk you through my ninety minute transformation.

What’s The Vibes?

The eight seats at Chef Kanesaka’s table is about as exclusive as it gets. It’s a front row seat to the best show in town. This is not a dinner. It’s a delicacy, a ritual, some kind of divine intervention - Sushi Kanesaka could be described as many illusive things. But fine dining doesn't cut it. 

This experience is not one I’d recommend for catching up with old family or friends. The setup leaves little time to chat, but plenty of room for side bar reactions to Chef Kanesaka’s sublime presentation. A sit down at his table is a masterclass in presence. The omakase experience, translated as ‘I’ll leave it up to you,’ is a transfer of trust, and with that exchange - your taste buds get taken to places they would have never otherwise known. When you book in to eat here, you admit that you are in the presence of a master. It’s intimacy at its best, beyond the physical and verbal world.

The decor is traditional Japanese, featuring a single carved piece of hinoki wood straight from the Japanese forest. A pink cherry blossom sits centre behind chef, hamonising the space. It’s minimalist and authentic. The staff’s garments are split between the high fashion suits standard of a Dorchester collection employee, to authentic Japanese robes and kimonos. From the first step you take, Sushi Kanesaka is like a portal to another world. The glasses are hand cut, and different for every single drink you order. No expense has been spared, and certainly not when it comes to food. Let's begin, shall we?

How’s the food?

The nineteen course chef’s tasting will take you across land and sea - literally. The range is unbelievable. I’m pretty sure we saw more sea creatures, than actual sea creatures have seen. The species were vast and favourable. Chef chooses ingredients based on Japan’s 72 micro seasons. Though most of the fish and meat come fresh from European seas. You can rest assured that you will get the finest food money can buy at any sit down with Chef Kanesaka.

Our evening started with a scallop and crab chanwanmushi, a traditional Japanese egg custard dish. While the fish was fully emerged, it managed to not be soggy. The way texture and taste blends here is immaculate from the first taste. You’ll journey through your standards: sushi toro, seabass, and salmon ikura. And then you will move through your delicacies: squid with beluga caviar, steamed octopus, and fried Scottish lobster. Forewarning: the lobster is caught fresh, and the sous chef likes to prove just how fresh it is. It’s alive just up to a few minutes before it’s in your mouth. Safe to say, this experience is not for the faint of heart when it comes to the circle of life. My favourite though had to be the hand roll of unagi kabayaki, an eel wrapped in rice and seaweed.

We finished with miso soup and an array of Japanese fruits for dessert. A slice of melon carved into squares was followed by daifuku or strawberries wrapped in mochi. I can promise you that you won’t be left feeling hungry, yet, you won’t feel too full either. This meal masters balance.

If you’re come all the way to sit with Chef Kanesaka, there is no question on doing the sake pairing. They have sweet, dry, or sparkling. I’d try all three. If sake isn’t your thing, they specialise in Japanese whiskey. The staff knows how to pace you, I’d trust them with my life for these ninety minutes, but just your stomach will do.

What's the Damage? 

A chef’s tasting at Sushi Kanesaka will put you out £420…per person. We know. But, in their defence, this meal is a once in a life time kind of thing. The experience is enough to make the food cynics shake off their cold exterior; like Anton Ego in Ratatouille - it’s a reminder of where food can take you to, and Sushi Kanesaka is ninety minutes in Japan. This isn’t fine dining, this is teleportation.

Anything else to note?

They have a private four seat dining table for the ultra-ultra exclusive experience. This is 45 Park Lane’s third sit down dining experience. There’s also their Wolfgang Puck original restaurant CUT downstairs, and the waiting room for Sushi Kanesaka is the brilliant Bar 45, featuring the famous aged negroni and world class bar snacks. I’d suggest coming early and sitting for a glass of champagne before you set off to your evening in Japan.

Happy teleporting.

View on Instagram

45 Park Ln, London W1K 1PN; Sushi Kanesaka