Hot Stone is a Japanese steak and sushi restaurant located a short trot away from Angel station. Nestled next to a bridal boutique, and overlooking Sports Direct, you may be tempted to walk past this unassuming place without a second glance, but dear reader, that would make you a fool. Step inside, and you’ll be greeted with a cheery chorus of Yōkoso (welcome) from the open kitchen and the sound of steaks sizzling on hot stones - we'll come to that later.
Handing over the ordering reins to our charming waiter, my dining partner and I sat back in eager hanticipation (like hangry, but less aggressive) of what was to come. Things kicked off pretty decadently with the arrival of two oysters garnished with seaweed, tosazu sauce and caviar (£11 each). Regardless of your preferred oyster etiquette, these guys were far too large (and flavoursome) to let slide down your throat. Opting to chew instead, the coppery and salty goodness paired perfectly with our crisp bottle of Jean-Luc Colombo Picpoul de Pinet Les Girelles (£44).
Next up was a delicate flower-adorned plate of seared fatty tuna sashimi (£17) and seabass tataki (£12) served in a pool of yuzu miso sauce and truffle onion salsa. If I could have dived into this sauce and done somersaults I would have. Instead, I settle for fervently licking my chopsticks clean of the buttery nectar. Thankfully, before I can move on to hoovering up the plate too, our waiter steps in with a king prawn tempura dragon roll, drizzled with teriyaki sauce (£12.50) served with a side of fresh wasabi which is hand-grated at our table and offers a much subtler taste than the preserved stuff.
Roll devoured, we move on to the main event, and the namesake of the restaurant - their iconic (and oft-Instagrammed) hot stones. Reaching temperatures of up to 400 degrees, these sizzling blocks require the team to undertake specialist health and safety training. Once safely in position on the table, we’re treated to the seafood mix platter (£27), an XXXL king prawn (£11) and a showstopping A5 premium Japanese wagyu steak (£49).
Having been instructed on cooking times we began a game of what can only be described as surf and turf Tetris. For someone who can’t cook (I’ve had disasters attempting omelettes), I can attest that this ancient technique is pretty fool-hardy, and I tuck into golden seared scallops and perfectly pink prawns, before moving on to the medium-rare marbled wagyu which is meltier than a Love Islander who has just found 100% their type on paper. The theatrical experience is wholly joyous and also serves as some cracking boomerang content. We finish our evening with a sweet and coconutty Ozeki Nigori Sake (£10) and a fullness that I worry, will never end.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Unlike other uber-premium restaurants, this place lacks pomp and ceremony - not one eyebrow quivered, let alone raised at my chopstick licking antics. The team here instead focus on high-quality food, beautifully delivered with great service. It’s no surprise then, that this comes at a price. Hot Stone isn't the sort of place you’d head for a casual Tuesday teatime, but pick this unique dining experience for your next show-off date or celebration meal and you’ll be making no mis-steak. Just be prepared to dreaming of that sauce for days to follow.