Impeccable and affable are not necessarily easy bed mates. One requires a fair degree of control and precision while the other contains measures of easy breezy loosey goosey.  

KOYN however, the sublime new izakaya in Mayfair, manages to nail both.  

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Created by Samyukta Nair, who also has the sumptuous MiMi Mei Fair, Bombay Bustle and the Michelin-starred Jamavar under her belt, KOYN, found on Grosvenor Street, is impeccable.  

The Resident: KOYN's ground floor dining roomKOYN's ground floor dining room (Image: KOYN)

The design concept is flawlessly considered. Representing the duality of Mt Fuju, at ground level, the impressive marble reception gives way to a creamy elegant dream, while down the stairs things start to get a little more feisty. 

The two spaces are supposed to symbolize the volcano’s serine lush exterior that conceals its fiery and volatile underbelly. It’s not a figurative interpretation, thankfully, but the message is clear. 

At ground level, the brightly lit dining room exudes the tranquil comfort of Japanese minimalism. There were moments when both myself and my friend wondered if we needed to see each other’s post-work haggardness aglow, but I really did enjoy admiring those milky walls. 

The Resident: Sweetcorn, tuna, wagyu senbeiSweetcorn, tuna, wagyu senbei (Image: KOYN)

The downstairs dining room is the other side of the koyn. It’s a more snug, dark and intimate space and a little more moody too. If the two rooms were sisters, downstairs would be the Jessica Wakefield to upstairs’ Elizabeth Wakefield from Sweet Valley High – the one most likely to get into trouble.  

There’s also a den of a bar to the other side of the reception. With soft seating and low lighting, it’s the kind of nook that asks you to stay for another. Given the bar serves the caliber of cocktail that comes with patterns chiseled into the sole chunky ice cube, why wouldn’t you? 

With ex-Nobi chef Rhys Cattermoul overseeing the kitchen, charcoal robata grill and raw bar, the food is equally as impressive and as equally flawless as the design. 

Dishes came out as they were ready, which was good, because we had plenty coming. The manager had added extras to our order so we didn’t miss a trick. The menu is extensive, but we managed to sample a fair whack of it. And it was delicious.  

The Resident: KOYN's luxurious interpretation of Mt Fuji's fiery coreKOYN's luxurious interpretation of Mt Fuji's fiery core (Image: KOYN)

Each plate had that delicate balance of flavours, where umami notes rolled over gentle bursts of sweetness and sour, and the many various textures were a joy to discover. While all dishes shined bright, none outshined another (for me anyway) - they all seemed to work delicately together to create a triumphant meal. 

Life this good doesn’t come cheap. A plate of the smoked wagyu sushi rolls, which arrive at your table ensconced in a drama of smoke, is upwards of £50. For when someone else is expensing it, the wine list has a bottle of red for £11,500, and the sakes run high too.  

Yet as slick and unblemished as KOYN is, it has a warmth and comfortability to it, which may just be the meeting point Mt Fuji’s two sides.  

 A bright chorus of ‘Irasshaimase!’ pops out to greet guests as they walk into the ground level dining room. The wait staff were warm and on their game, luring you into a comfortable stay. While I never forgot that I was swaddled in luxury far beyond my day-to-day, I settled quickly into it, like drinking a £300 bottle of rose on a Tuesday night was my native state. And there’s a real charm in a place that can facilitate that.  

Address: 38 Grosvenor Street W1K 4QA