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Thursday, 19 January 2012

Kinbaku, Soho (CLOSED see THE BLIND PIG)

Whenever I’ve worked in Japan over the years, I’ve always found its idyosyncratic mix of starchy respectability and out-there sexual practices as compelling as its ‘what the fuck?’ food menus. I’m hopeful that the upstairs cocktail bar at sushi mini-chain Ukai’s Poland Street premises will turn out to be an education.  For, as themes go, Kinbaku - a Japanese SM bondage technique based on knotted jute rope once used to restrain prisoners - intrigues me more than the currently ubiquitous ‘Prohibition-era speakeasy’ concept. Alas, on inspection, the scene is about as vanilla as Ben & Jerry: that’s ice cream, not a dreary suburban gay couple. Risqué fetishistic behaviour? The only thing vibrating in here, are hi-fi speakers pumping out  'meh' house. Still, there’s a sexy enough saké/ shochu list to push your boundaries plus Sapporo and Asahi, wines from £16.50 and house bubbles (Jacquart) at £8 a flute. A similar sum bags cocktails from masterly mixologists. Try saké san (Tanqueray, Kuboto Senju saké, lemon and minty shiso leaf liqueur, sweetened); apple and lychee martini or a plum mojito. I should also add that the Ginger Sling is a drink, not a contraption that facilitates transforming a suspended redhead into your own personal glove puppet for your mutual pleasure.
58 Poland Street W1 7734 1444 www.kinbaku.me.uk