At New London Restaurant The Cocochine, Art Photography Meets Fine Dining

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The seven-seat chef’s counter looks into the kitchen proper.

Photo: Justin De Souza

It speaks volumes that the kitchen takes up almost a third of the restaurant. There are, remarkably, only 35 seats available here. Twenty-eight are spread across eight tables on the ground floor and exclusively available to reserve via phone, while upstairs, at the chef’s counter, seven have been set aside for walk-ins. Naturally, no expense has been spared when it comes to the décor; even the lighting has been carefully installed so as not to cast shadows on tables, while the serving station has been carved in Italy from a 1,800kg piece of Devon stone, and a hand-painted mosaic inspired by the works of Guido Mocafico adorns the floor upstairs. Jayasekara and Jefferies’s joint masterpiece, however, might well be the 14-seat private dining room, complete with gold latticework and a Saracen fireplace.

As for The Cocochine’s menu: it will be ingredient-led and served à la carte, with a single service each for lunch and dinner. Tellingly, Jayasekara toured more than 25 countries to set up his network of suppliers: think reindeer and cloudberries from Norway; single-origin chocolate via a Suffolk specialist; tuna and mirin from Tokyo; and coconut cream from—where else?—Sri Lanka. “Every dish will be a signature dish,” Jayasekara tells me when I ask if there’s any item on the menu that he’s particularly excited about, although he admits to a certain fondness for a dessert juxtaposing caviar and chocolate, which he considers a revelatory pairing. “A successful restaurant is always a question of harmony – in terms of ingredients, in terms of partners, in terms of suppliers,” he muses. “Back of house and front of house. When all of those come together, you have a fantastic marriage. Otherwise, it’s a divorce every night.”

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