Finally ventured out to try this new joint at LKF brought into town by the Shanghai-nese group XNG. Established by Takashi Sakamoto back in 2011, it actually started out as a standing bar serving Italian food in Shimbashi. Continuing its concept of ‘bringing Michelin chefs to the mass’, the group eventually ventured out into different cuisine and even started a Kaiseki shop with Chef Okamoto of three-starred fame, snatching two stars itself finally under the name Ginza Okamoto. The shop in town is indeed a cross over of the group’s original Kappou shop featuring selective signature dishes from Ginza Okamoto on top. A very compelling concept indeed not to mention its rather reasonable price tags, yet another main feature of the group.
Tried out a mixture of some standard Kappou fare together with the signature mullet roe soba as well as the saba sushi, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The wine list of pricing at ‘high street retail shop plus’ is yet another gimmick and the selection is decent enough as well. The entire encounter took a big U-turn, however, as one after another glitch in service quality brought along much bitterness in the end. While one can certainly understands the lack of product knowledge and experiences of the juniors at times, it was the complete lack of responsibility, manners and leadership of those at the top that really left a very bad impression. How one can claim to serve till 1 am and then turn around to have friends and their kids running around the restaurant, let alone staff already in causal sitting all over the place with their laptop on is still beyond me. Guess sometimes our friends in the restaurant business are still not getting it. It is not the lack of quality staff, nor the rising labour costs that is killing the business, it is just a complete lack of leadership at the top. With all that being said, I probably will still go back for the food. One just have to insist on sitting at the counter or maybe do it the way it was meant to be, have it at the standing bar. Just bring me the food and drinks.