Clap London review: A round of applause for Knightsbridge's modern Japanese eatery

Unlike its UAE venue, this is more dinner with beats than nightclub with food

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London’s history and culture surround you at the very modern Japanese restaurant Clap, which opened this month.

At 12-14 Basil Street in Knightsbridge, Clap is ensconced within the building that was once part of the Tube station fathoms below, on the Piccadilly Line that rips through the heart of London’s West End.

A clue to its origins can be found at the ground-floor entrance, six floors below the actual restaurant. The deep red tiles that adorn the walls are part of London Underground’s familiar fascias, while hidden around the corner is the now closed rear entrance to the station.

Over the road are the mansion flats where comic actor John Cleese once lived, annoying his neighbours while he practised the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It's worth a google if you don't know the sketch.

A stone’s throw down the street is the luxury department store Harrods, the most well known and ostentatious premises in this neighbourhood.

This cultural melting pot plays a part in the vibe at Clap, a premium restaurant in a premium location, which draws inspiration from Tokyo’s electric nightspots.

It is the latest in the Clap stable, which already has outposts in Beirut, Riyadh and Dubai.

There are obvious differences, however: It is about a third smaller than its Dubai counterpart, and while it still has live DJs and uses the hashtag FindYourRhythm, it is more dinner with beats than nightclub with food.

Where to sit, what to expect

The two-level restaurant can seat about 220 people. The sixth floor is where you see the action of the kitchen, with two separate areas where diners can see the chefs at work. It is the quieter of the two floors, and has a mixture of families, older clientele and larger groups.

There’s no doubting that the trump seats are those facing the window, giving you a view of the lit-up dome of Harrods. Conversely, if your back is to the window you get the advantage of people-watching.

On the seventh floor is the DJ, a giant moving fish tank screen and Clap's signature toy figurine chandeliers. Lighting is moody and the music gets you ready for an after-party in nearby Mayfair. A terrace will open when the London weather is warm enough.

Service is pristine: informative, but friendly rather than formal. Servers are also attentive to special requests and allergies, which are dealt with in a politely reassuring, not panicky, fashion.

The menu

To experience the full array of the dining experience at Clap, the easiest option is to plump for the omakase menu, and leave yourself in the chef's hands.

The first of five courses offers truffle edamame, black cod with gem lettuce (switched in place of rock shrimp tempura due to an allergy), foie gras, citrus miso and fried kadaifi, plus crispy rice salmon.

Despite being a bite, or Zensai, the edamame take a while to get through and, while messy, are a nice twist on the usual salted option.

The salad course, featuring a crispy shiitake dish, is distinctly outshone by the Clap cod salad. This elicits the first “wow” of the evening despite being a simple dish of leaves. Dressing magic at work.

The sushi platter is the most visually stunning course, and comes with sashimi, nigiri and rolls including different types of tuna, hamachi and perfect sea bass. The Crazy California rolls are crab and avocado smothered in wasabi mayo.

On to the main course and black cod makes a welcome return, this time with sweet citrus miso and hajikami shoga (ginger sprouts). The meat dish is a marinated lamb rock accompanied by kimchi "Clap-way". Queue the second “wow” for the kimchi.

These are joined by a stone bowl of vegetables, which by now is starting to feel more than enough for one meal.

Another visual sensation awaits for dessert: a platter of exotic fruits, matcha cheesecake, mochi and ice cream. A half-sized portion of fruit would have been sufficient, although the platter is excellent and refreshing after the rest of the meal.

Stand-out dish

If you’re in a Japanese restaurant, it’s hard to stray far from the sushi bar when looking for a highlight.

Top-grade produce, which Clap clearly sources, is given the simplest of tweaks to create dishes with finesse that are mouth-watering and Instagram-worthy.

A chat with the chef

Within two decades, Randolfo Vaz has gone from dishwasher to executive chef, with an awful lot of dedication, focus and determination in between. He describes the "dish pit" as the best introduction to the industry he could have had, because he was able to observe how everything worked, and see the executive chef commanding the kitchen.

"When I got the opportunity to work in the grill section, I gave it my all and fell for it," he says.

Chef Vaz is Brazilian, but his culinary journey has taken him from London to Los Angeles, before finding success at Clap in Dubai.

He has now moved to London, where he helped put together the team. He describes the experience as hard but rewarding work.

With several trips to Japan to help his culinary knowledge, he has thrown himself into cooking Japanese cuisine.

His cooking style is simple and all about the ingredients, and he names red yuzu kosho fermented with Japanese citrus as one of his favourites.

“I've used this particular item in various dishes, such as pink prawns ceviche and lamb chops,” he says.

With his Brazilian background, cooking meat perfectly is a guarantee. “For meat lovers, our lamb chops with kimchi are a must-try. For vegetarians, I would recommend the grilled tofu and vegetable stone bowl; for seafood lovers, the black cod miso; and for dessert, the tiramisu.”

Elsewhere on the main menu, you could try bites of Hokkaido scallops and foie gras, Wagyu beef tartare and Biwa caviar, roasted Tamara king crab leg, sea bass amapeno, and pistachio-crusted baby chicken with yuzu and daikon.

But for Vaz, dining at Clap goes beyond just the food; it's about having fun and developing yourself. “For me, food represents good times with your family or friends, and will always give you a big smile,” he says. “Food is culture; it can tell you who you are, where you have come from and where your next destination will be.”

Price point and contact information

The Omakase menu is priced at £175 ($222), or you can choose the premium version at £225.

From the a la carte menu, bites range from £6 for miso soup to £38.90 for Wagyu beef and foie gras gyoza. From the sushi bar, nigiri is £68 for six pieces, sashimi between £12 and £19.50 for three pieces and six signature rolls start at £12.90, rising to £55.90 for lobster tempura.

Main courses range from £23 to £46.50. Dessert platters cost £45 to £57 while individual dishes are £14 to £17.

Clap is open from 6pm-11.30pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 6pm-11pm on Sunday. Reservations can be made by contacting 0044 20 3988 0044 or, or via

This review was conducted at the invitation of the restaurant

Updated: January 26, 2024, 6:24 PM