The Ned is that new super hotel in the City from the Soho House Group. It’s friggin’ huge; and to prove it, they’ve got nine restaurants in the place. Two are members only, then you’ve got Cecconi’s, Zobler’s (recently reviewed by my old mate Jay Rayner), Cafe Sou, Millie’s Lounge, The Nickel Bar, Malibu Kitchen and this, Kaia.
Its offering is “Asian-Pacific”. Its location is down the less fun end of the huge foyer – if you eat here you won’t hear the live music that plays daily from mid afternoon. But sat at the long marble counter, like we are, is still very much an attractive place to be.
From the snacks section we go for crispy prawns (£9) which come with a wasabi mayo strong enough to bring a tear to your eye. The batter is light and delicate, the prawns being just cooked through giving them a bouncy texture.
Grilled lamb cutlets (£12) see thick chunks of lamb, dark on the outside, bright pink on the in. The fat has the combo you dream about: soft and crispy. They’re drenched in a sticky honey and soy glaze which adds to the yum.
The star of the show has to be the poke bowl, poke being bowls of rice topped with raw fish popular in Hawaii. We go off piste and choose the veggie option (£9) which is the most beautiful thing to look at. Toped with papaya, avocado and tamari glazed nuts it’s an explosion of textures and flavours, it’s sweet, it’s salty – totally moreish.
For pud, we share the mochi ice cream (£6) which I’ve been addicted to ever since trying at Tonkotsu. They’re little ice cream filled dumplings with a chewy texture – worryingly good. The sesame seed coated ones being my favourite.
Service at Kaia was particularly good considering they had only just opened when we visited. Anywhere that manages to make food this tasty in a room which offers 8 other places to eat is pretty impressive in my book.
Would we go back? Yes.
We dined during soft launch at 50% off the bill