There’s no Sheldon Square in the A-Z, or on streetmap.co.uk. All I could tell from the Yakitoria press release was that it was at the heart of the ginmormous new development that looms over the A40 by Paddington Station.
Expecting a faceless corporate jungle, I was pleasantly amazed by the whole area. You leave the rear of Paddington Station (by the Hammersmith & City line), to join a network of recently-built paths around the Grand Union canal, some areas of which have apparently been opened for the first time in 200 years. In less than 10 minutes, you can now stroll from Paddington into impossibly cute Little Venice.
And on the way, you pass this chic-looking new Japanese. Huge picture windows give the ground floor (there’s also a basement) a fine view of the canal, while the very airy interior is a stylish medley of slate, dark-stained timber, and green velvet drapes. If I hadn’t known that it was the creation of a Russian restaurant group, I would have thought that it was a third opening by Rainer Becker of Roka and Zuma fame.
The fashionable Japanese menu is reminiscent of Roka’s with its emphasis on skewers from the charcoal robata grill, alongside a wide selection of sushi and main dishes. I went for a catholic selection incorporating five kinds of skewer and some trendy sounding ‘spicey red-eye’ and ‘garden’ sushi — the former spiked with chilli pepper, the latter using ingredients like burdock. None of the items were disappointing, but equally all fell short of being inspirational.
Service was charming but a little keystone kops-ish (or whatever it is that Russians say for being disorganised and amateurish). Surely they can sort that out? Because if they can, the beautiful interior, picturesque setting and decent food are a strong incentive to venture a stroll in Paddington Waterside.