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Less Is More

August 25, 2014
Hardly bigger than a bento box – with seating for just six – and with even fewer choices on the minimal menu, recently opened omakase cubby Murasakitama is a careful study in the age-old adage of less is more. Though it hides behind a windowless blond wood exterior on Gulou Dongdajie, the tiny space houses a traditional counter kitchen where the lucky half dozen get front row seats to the masterful transformation of high-quality, market fresh seafood into paper thin sashimi and hand-shaped nigiri.

The only choice diners are required to make is which set or platter to opt for – each comprises approximately 12 pieces, though the higher priced sets include appetisers and premium ingredients – after which point you are entirely in the chef’s hands. Though sushi aficionados won’t find any great surprises here, offerings like grilled eel, tuna dabbed with soy sauce, slivers of yellowtail and halibut sashimi, and perfectly cooked rice are classic, simple and exquisitely fresh. Though it could have been plucked straight from a Tokyo laneway, Murasakitama is rather less formal than its traditional counterparts, with the jovial chef readily interacting with guests while he handles his blade with deft precision. The intimate space’s casual, homely atmosphere is helped along yet further by a sake list and a small off-menu selection of classic cocktails, but be warned – with so few seats you best book ahead.

71 Gulou Dongdajie / Dongcheng / +86 10 5947 6788 / 5-11pm daily