Anyone who’s ever frequented a Nobu or Katsuya establishment at one of their 30 plus locations spread across the world, knows that certain factors (such as a hip crowd, a nightclub-esque ambiance and a large celebrity following) have been equally important to these venues’ success as the seductive flavours served there. And neither Nobu or Katsuya have come to Stockholm, so why shouldn’t someone here try to replicate that formula?
That seems to be the thinking of restaurateurs Paulo Fagundez, Jerry Forsberg and Felix Granander. They even went so far as to fly in LA-based chef Danny Elmaleh (known from Katsuya and Cleo) and enlist Scandinavia’s most bling-y interior design office Stylt Trampoli (creators of Público, Griffins’ Steakhouse and Pharmarium, to name a few) to help create Kasai, dubbed “Stockholm’s first ever Japanese dinner club”.
The music is loud, the lights are low and our server’s lips are abnormally plumped up. There’s an oversized ten-page menu featuring signature cocktails, snacks, sashimi, salads, robata dishes, sushi, specialty rolls and desserts that surely would keep us engaged, if we weren’t preoccupied looking at the other guests, each more colourful, eccentric and peculiar than the other.
After gulping down a barrel-aged Singapore sling (129 kronor) and a signature Alchemist’s Shrub (138 kronor), two tasty, well-composed cocktails, we dive into a world of mini-bites and shared dishes. Among the many highlights of the evening, we agree that a yellowtail tiradito (140 kronor), two small wagyu beef and fois gras sliders (210 kronor), a jumbo softshell crab roll (150 kronor) and a seared tenderloin roll with kimchi (175 kronor) are clear favourites. Don’t be fooled – Kasai isn’t about authentic Japanese food. At best, the food could be considered as inspired by Japanese cuisine, or rather Asian fusion. But that’s not to say we haven’t been served some damn fine flavours that totally make our taste buds zing. The desserts, however, are best left alone, as neither the dessert box (115 kronor) or chocolate matcha (95 kronor) strike our fancy.
Kasai is fun, fast, loud (sometimes too loud) and tasty. It does its job as a dinner club well. At times, we even feel like we’re on top of the world and at the centre of the universe, sipping on a cocktail at Nobu in Malibu or wolfing down a piece of sashimi in Miami. And that is in itself quite impressive, considering Kasai is located in a former nightclub on a dark and cold street in a quiet area of Stockholm’s inner city.
Words: Magnus van Dinther
08 442 89 00