Mark Cholewka and Cathal Kiely, the guys behind successful restaurant and bar Shore in L Place, have opened up another venture. se sa me, also in L Place, just one floor below Shore, serves delicious ‘Japanasian’ cuisine in a modern, stylish setting.
se sa me doesn’t officially open until 7th March, but naturally I jumped the gun and snuck in during the soft opening to try their tasty treats.
The menu, put together by Chef Rodelio Aglibot (known as the ‘Food Buddha’ due to his disciplined approach to cooking) and Dominic South (with restaurants such as NOBU London under his belt), combines traditional Japanese dishes with ingredients from all over Asia, serving food you would never come across in your average Japanese eatery.
Whilst choosing the rest of our menu, we nibbled on some rock shrimp tempura – delicious, soft morsels of prawn mixed with caramelised nuts – and the sweet corn crunch, similar to the Yardbird sweet corn fritters but somehow the batter seemed much lighter. Dipped in a Vietnamese nuoc cham sauce, to give them a salty-sour taste, these were definitely something special.
To follow, a platter of beautifully fresh sashimi – scallops, umi, toro – awaited us. We were advised to eat them in the aforementioned order, perhaps because each one got better and better. I particularly loved the way the platter was adorned with pretty, edible flowers.
The Buddha crispy rice with spicy tuna is something you won’t find elsewhere – here the sushi rice is fried lightly on each side to give it a crispy outer layer, topped with delicious melt-in-the-mouth spicy tuna, although actually its only down side was that it wasn’t as spicy as I anticipated.
The Alaskan snow crab handroll with dynamite sauce came wrapped in rice paper as opposed to seaweed, making it phenomenally fresh. I was expecting the dynamite sauce to blow my mind, but again was ever so slightly disappointed by the lack of spice.
A plate of Pork and duck gyoza followed. Crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside, these are some of the best gyoza I have tasted. Go easy on the dipping sauce as too much makes it a little on the salty side, but the combination of pork and duck works beautifully.
We then chose the Seared Wagyu nigiri from the specials board. The most tender and flavourful beef made me sad that there were only two pieces.
For dessert, the namesake se sa me is an incredible array of seven different textures of sesame: sweet sesame ice cream, crumbly sesame biscuit, chocolate sesame crunch, sesame sponge cake, sesame panna cotta, all enhanced by sesame paste and beautifully fluffy and velvety white chocolate mousse, garnished with a thin sheet of sesame sugar. Amazing.
The Passion fruit cloud however, was for me the absolute star of the evening. The fluffy ‘cloud’ made by whisking passion fruit, sugar and gelatin was deliciously tart, complemented by the juicy berries and sweet meringue pieces, topped off with fresh passion fruit and a sour lime glaze. If you like exciting and sour desserts, as I do, this will definitely make your taste buds dance.
Don’t forget to try some unique cocktails and delicious sake from sommelier and general manager Maiko Tsuji’s drinks list to complete your meal.
Service at se sa me is second to none. The food isn’t cheap, but it isn’t outrageously priced either, and for the quality and range of flavours you’re getting, I think it’s worth every cent. Conveniently I work just behind L Place, so I will definitely be returning…with frequency!
se sa me
2/F, L Place
139 Queen’s Road Central
Tel: +852 2870 2323