Shochu Lounge: A Dark, Boozy And Floral Sunday Brunch
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Shochu Lounge: the darker, boozier little brother of a lunch spent at ROKA. Upstairs at ROKA's Charlotte Street restaurant, people sit in light-flooded rooms eating edamame and other things which are good for you. Downstairs, like a lurid secret, are the people like us. The ones who want to draw a veil of low lighting and sake over their Sunday. The ones who were only ever pretending to like edamame.
Shochu Lounge has always been a good spot for late night drinking, or drinks that feel late-night even in the middle of the day. It's Fitzrovia glossy meets Tokyo lacquer but a bit... sinister?
And now they've covered it with flowers. Pink sakura flowers, a thick carpet of fake cherry blossom across the ceiling and climbing pillars. In other hands it would look enormously twee. In the dim, lost hours underworld of Shochu Lounge, it looks like the dissolute inside of David Lynch's brain.
The Sakura brunch is dissolute in its own right. We're bottomless brunch sceptics, because so often it means paying roughly the price of a bottle of prosecco to panic-drink roughly a bottle of prosecco in 90 minutes. Not at Shochu Lounge, where cocktails and wine all flow like a boozy Niagara.
Beware the smoked pineapple shoga — mezcal, pineapple, celery and agave — as it tastes very strongly and deliciously of smoky pineapple and not that strongly of mezcal, making it worryingly sinkable. You know. Louche juice.
The food isn't bottomless, but the four-course menu is substantial enough that it might as well be. Sushi comes out in delicate rolls, in delicate arrangements, but lavish quantities. Hot dishes — fiercely rare beef fillet, chicken roasted and slicked with lemon — are tender and chillied and gingered into something forceful enough to compete with all the wasabi and umami in the first course. Iceberg lettuce is so doused in miso and caramelised onion that it's actually... moreish? Like, forks clashing over who gets to finish it, that sort of moreish. A feat of dark witchcraft if ever there was one.
The dessert platter's a ridiculous and elaborate arrangement that is, some smoked pineapple shogas down, enchanting. That's Shochu Lounge's secret. They ply you with an awful lot of everything — booze, flowers, flourishes, food — and somehow convince you to want still more of all of it.
Sakura Brunch at Shochu Lounge is available on Sunday at 12.30pm-4 pm, and costs £60 a person for four courses and unlimited cocktails and wine. Shochu Lounge, ROKA Charlotte Street, 37 Charlotte Street, W1T 1RR.
Last Updated 03 June 2019