By Naheen Madarbarkus
An opening of a brand new restaurant on the 23rd of the Hilton Hotel conjures up certain expectations – delicious food, quality beverages, opulent surroundings – and after spending a Tuesday evening sipping sake-based cocktails and eating Asian-fusion bites, I can report that Minako at the Met can deliver effectively on all three.
Minako at the Met is but a short stroll from Edgware Station, in the Hilton Hotel, and a helpful staff member directs us towards the elevators and a lightning fast trip to the top floor of the hotel. Leaving the elevator, we are directed to the cloakroom by the helpful greeters and pass in our coats and bags before walking up the spiral stairs to the dimly lit restaurant above.
Everyone is greeted with a smile and a drink – waitresses stand at the top of the stairs loaded with champagne flutes or sake-based cocktails - as we make our way towards the wall-length windows which look out over London landmarks like the London Eye and the Gherkin.
The dress code is smart/casual and a mix of “just-finished for the day” city types and those in their glad-rags mix as servers offer nibbles from the restaurant’s fusion delicacies. A nearby menu tells us that there’s a range of sushi, fish and chicken based dishes and delicious sounding desserts. The staff are well-versed in the ingredients on the menu (a good thing for the partner who almost tests his lactose-intolerance with a threatening Thai curry dish) and the drinks are going down smoothly.
The atmosphere at Minako at the Met is cosy and inviting – certainly a good move as either a quiet drink or a date option. The music is at exactly the right volume for conversation and the staff are helpful and well-informed. Indeed, as we left, the management wore that satisfied look of people who know that their opening has gone smoothly and word of mouth will be more than complimentary. Being the restaurant on the top floor of a Hilton requires some impressive work. A little more laid back compared to Ichi or Great Eastern. The people behind Minako at the Met certainly seem to have the tasteful skills required to bring in the plaudits.