Trailblazing chef and restaurateur Alexis Gauthier will open the UK’s first 100% vegan sushi counter on Tuesday 1st June at 123V, his vegan restaurant within Fenwick of Bond Street. The launch of the sushi counter marks the third and final phase of 123V’s opening, following the instant-hit alfresco terrace and lower ground-floor dining room, which opened in late April and mid-May, respectively.
Classically-trained sushi counter head chef Tes Ryu, who, like Alexis, is vegan herself, has created stunning dishes which in appearance and taste are indistinguishable from the fish and shellfish they replace. A seasonal seven-course Morimamé tasting menu (£40) of innovative, extraordinary Japanese-inspired dishes will be available exclusively to guests dining at the 12- seat counter.
Sushi sets, available in Petit (£14) and Grand (£19.50) sizes and comprising favourite sushi specialities like V-tuna, V-salmon and avocado nigiri, California maki and inari, can be enjoyed at the sushi counter, in the restaurant and on the terrace.
Dishes on Tes’s first Morimamé menu include:
Frozen granita, pickled marinated shallots & herbs
Ginger marinated V-salmon, rich bean pod and black tea
Wild Scottish Mushroom
Marinated mushrooms, kataifi, V-tuna carpaccio, shallot/soy dressing
Fresh cherry jelly, sweet cherry sauce
Born in 1985 in South Korea, Tes Ryu studied art and design and began a career in fashion and textiles, leading to work as a designer in New York. Subsequently, she began to experiment with the creative side of plant-based cooking, initially as a hobby but quickly leading to her hosting supper clubs.
She moved to London, where in 2016 she began working as a chef at various Asian restaurants including Ippudo, Sticks‘n’Sushi and, most recently, Mei Ume at the Four Seasons, from which she joined 123V – answering Alexis Gauthier’s call for ‘plant-based thinkers’ who shared his vision for his first fully-vegan restaurant and first standalone opening since Gauthier Soho in 2010.
While Tes’s design background and flair are evident on the plate in her intricate, colourful presentation, her approach as a chef is “flavour first”. This translates into her using both the latest and best fish substitutes, which she marinades and seasons to give deep, complex flavours of their own, and her own inventions, among them an uncanny shredded tofu-based ‘crab’ which features in her maki.
Says Tes, “For whatever reason you have – health, animals, or the environment – plant-based has to be the future, and it is my job to offer something that makes it easy to make that sacrifice. In fact, I believe it isn’t even a sacrifice; my sushi is as delicious as any other sushi. Please try it – I am making something with which I intend to change your life!”
With the opening of the sushi counter, 123V’s full offering is now in operation, comprising the 60+ seat terrace on fashionable Brook Street and the 60-cover dining room, which is itself part of Fenwick of Bond Street’s new active living space, The Studio.
The all-day menu reflects the modern, fun, plant-based food Alexis enjoys on a daily basis, with influences from Southern California, Mexico, Thailand and the south of France in evidence. A tapas-style snack menu acts as both starters and sides for main courses including rich broth-laden bowls, huge colour-bursting salads and playfully-named plates like Crazy Aubergenius and the Big Fat Tomato Cosmopolito.
There is also a selection of California-style burgers built around a Beyond Meat patty in a soft bun, with toppings including vegan cheese, Plant Bacon and Trevlocks jerk sauce, as well as a Plant Chickn Chickn-Town Burger.
A fully-vegan wine and cocktail list, selected by Gauthier Soho sommelier David Havlik, is available, in addition to a full selection of freshly cold-pressed juices and shots, while coffee is from cult East London roasters Perky Blenders.
Of opening this exciting new project and partnership, Alexis Gauthier says, “The fact that we have been given a chance to open not just a restaurant, but a force for good – for animals, for the planet, and for us – will be something really special. I’m so happy to have the visionary people at Fenwick of Bond Street to start this journey with, and I am in awe of Tes Ryu’s magical talent for creating world-class vegan sushi.”
123V, Fenwick of Bond Street, 63 New Bond Street, London W1S 1RQ 123vegan.co.uk