Step into the polished, Asiatic-meets-Californian chic of Adrift by David Myers and the cares of the outside world just melt away. A large glass wall at the back of the venue lets diffuse light and verdurous green in, a fitting accompaniment to the light wooden floors and stylishly modern décor. In defining Adrift's philosophy both on and off the plate, Myers has taken inspiration from his love of all things Japanese and created a thoroughly modern take on the Izayaka – the original Japanese gastropub – with a Californian twist.
It's lunchtime and the venue buzzes with quiet, contented conversation. The menu focuses on small plates, grilled meats, seafood and salads - each using fresh produce and featuring a palate pleasing homage to Japanese flavours and techniques.
Ginza - a district of Tokyo well known for its luxury shopping and fine dining – is the inspiration for the sleekly-modern bar which focuses on hand-crafted cocktails, concocted by New York mixologist Sam Ross. I try an aperitif called the Penicillin, a smoky-sweet balance of lemon, honey, blended Scotch and single malt Islay. It's beautifully presented and fun to drink. The bar also features a range of one hundred and twenty wines, with eighteen wines available by the glass.
My entree of Hamachi sashimi with cured konbu, mizuna, ikura and peppercress is delightfully fresh. The term Hamachi relates to the size of the fish used and the fish is commonly known as Japanese Amberjack. The flesh is perfectly fatty for my tastes – the flesh increases in fat content during the Japanese winter.
For mains my partner and I opt for individual takes on mainstay gastropub flavours. My companion's wagyu beef burger is stacked high and features a Californian twist with the inclusion of jalapeño peppers and gruyere cheese. It's also a decent mouthful so I'd recommend arriving hungrier than the bear that chased down Leo in The Revenant. My pork tonkatsu sandwich with shredded cabbage is served crust off – so Japanese - the bread is lighter and sweeter in the Asian style. The pork tonkatsu fillet is deliciously moist.
While all the dishes are wonderfully tasty the gold star goes to dessert – a yuzu cheesecake with Black Sesame ice cream and persimmon. The creamy, smooth citrus of the cheesecake is beautifully in counterpoint with the house made sesame ice cream's rich and textured, slightly nutty taste.
Towards the end of the meal David Myers calls by for a brief chat, as he does with all the diners. It's a very down to earth, personal touch that makes Adrift even more special.
Asked about his love of all things Japanese he says it was happenstance.
“I was just looking through a bookstore one day and I found this Japanese recipe book, it's called Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh - I still have it. It really captured the heart of Japanese home cooking for me.And there is also a book called Aji no Kaze by Koyama."
"Now I'm lucky enough to have two restaurants in Japan.”