There has been an Asiatic undercurrent to much of fashion recently - Marc Jacobs' camp (his words, not mine) spring 2011 collection for Louis Vuitton was something of a starting point, despite the criticism it reputedly garnered. Since then we had Mary Katrantzou's Ming vase skirts, Prabal Gurung's Araki-inspired orchid prints, and Armani Privé's take on Madame Butterfly (cue attenuated hair-dos with half-a-million tremblante chopsticks emerging like a wayward game of Kerplunk!).
Hence the time is entirely appropriate for a new Japanese restaurant to open - at least in fashion terms. Especially with waitress-slash-models in rather nice draped black dresses serving rather small (but good) portions to the fashion crowd, as is the case at Senkai in London. The interior picks up on the Japanese theme: created by Christopher Prain with furniture and lighting design supplied by Conran Contracts, the restaurant combines bronze and sycamore with oriental flowers and a subtle, soft palette of lacquer red, black and gold. A centrepiece is a panel covered with hand-painted De Gournay wallpaper - a burnished-gilt backed Japanese scene which could have come straight from a Coromandel screen, or indeed from that Mary Katrantzou 'Vive l'Art de Vivre' celebration of interior excess.
The food follows the same lines, simple but with exquisite ingredients (everything is sustainably-sourced, a first for London). I had seafood nigiri followed by black kingfish and cobia with Japanese plums and samphire as part of the Senkai set lunch - fast, fresh and perfectly proportioned, like the best of fashion. Call it orient express.