If you’re looking for a bar near Oxford Street then head to Charlotte Street as there is very little else but Londons bars and restaurants. The poshest kid on the block has got to be Roka, the fancy Japanese halfway up the street. What you might not know is that below it is The Shochu Lounge, a super sexy underground candle lit Japanese den. Get in there, it’s quite something. You’ll be greeted by some sexy(ish) waitress and asked if you have a reservation. Don’t panic, you’ll probably be fine, but if it is later in the week or the weekend a phone call ahead will only guarantee a decent table.
Shochu is a Japanese vodka-like spirit, made of distilled sweet potato alcohol which apparently dates back to 1549 (so it can’t be that bad or it would be long forgotten). Here in the Shochu lounge, they have various flavours – Jasmine and Raspberry when we visited. They also have huge jars of the stuff shelved beautifully along one wall, these can be purchased (a steal at 260 quid – but they are 4 litres big), and they are kept for your return with a nice engraved tag marking your turf.
The rest of the leather bound booked menu has lots on offer: over fifteen vodkas, a whole heap of Asian inspired cocktails with plenty of sake and wine if you’re not feeling this Shochu malarky. Our favourite cocktails were the Lawnmower (vodka, shochu, wheatgrass, mint, vanilla, lemon and shichimi pepper) or try the Hallo Kitty (shochu, raspberries, rose water, lemon and vanilla essence), but equally they have some awesome Asian beers (Asahi Black, anyone?) – probably slightly less bank breaking as well. Food is a must, from the edamame and the yakitori, to the wagyu beef – take your pick and enjoy.