Don’t expect this to be a fish restaurant because there is not a lot of that, except for the popular salmon, prawn and the sushi innards. Popularity is what is behind much of the menu, making for Asian dishes with western nods and vice versa.
There’s a Chinese and a Japanese chef. It can be tricky to decide what to eat first because you can order dim sum as starters for dinner and sushi at any stage. There are also two kinds of bao and small plates. A Japanese chicken yakitori with a sour-ish yuzu and the fruity Japanese 7-spice works well with the sweetish glaze on the skewered meat. Other popular choices are tacos, beef sliders, crispy calamari and glazed beef ribs. The tom yum broth is as good as some of the better ones, though this one surprisingly includes prawns and calamari. The salads are unusually good too, especially the sparkling green papaya. There’s not that much for vegetarians and vegans.
As a main course, the baby chicken is a crispy delight with a tender interior, redolent of the yuzu in the teriyaki. There are two Thai curries, the popular crispy dick and grilled prawns. Sides are chosen from a list of about eight, consisting of rices and noodles, fries and salad. The pak choi and broccoli are recommended.
The desserts are unusual for an Asian restaurant and devastatingly good, especially the white-chocolate and green tea mousse with rose and raspberry jelly, sorbet and rose-flavoured meringue with a green crumble. It’s exquisite, as are the other desserts.
It’s not unusual to see people drinking whiskies with their food at Koi and it might well be sensible in an Asian way, but Johnny Walker King George seems a bit excessive. The wine list is excellently put together, not overly expensive and there are many wines by the glass. Cocktails are beautiful, be they classics or the Koi signatures, classics or non-alcoholic. Sparkling wine, both French and local, play a meaningful part on the tables in the evenings. It’s a pity to ignore the excellent and intriguing tea list that can provide delicious accompaniments for a dim sum party of an afternoon.
The waiting staff are slick and well-trained, even regarding drinks. The food is served faster than usual, which may or may not be a bad thing, depending on the diners. Plates are also whipped away as you finish.
Though this is part of a chain, there’s individual attention to detail, especially in the presentation, which is always superb. It’s a warm and coppery glowing restaurant. There’s a very attractive outdoor wooden area with bright cushions that would also serve well as a daytime dim sum location.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.