Miss Kō greets you at the entrance of her Paris restaurant with a bright flash of her tattooed tongue, and from that moment you feel everything is going to be different. And you are not wrong. Take the red pill and enter the underground Asian fusion restaurant of your most intense dreams, an extra-terrestrial re-imagining of Lewis Carroll’s hallucinogenic Wonderland crossed with a faint element of danger that will have your head tripping far out and Far East as your tastebuds tingle in anticipation of what’s to come.
The Yakuza-style skin art of Miss Kō is not the only thing on display that will put you in mind of Tokyo. Interiors overlord Philippe Starck called the shots for this den of nice, and one of his boldest moves was the 26-metre table of digital screens running through the restaurant glowing with the ceaseless visual hum of Asian news channels. We alluded to Carroll and not Phillip K Dick, for although Miss Kō’s place is a glimpse into the techno-future, there’s none of the gloomy greyness of Dick’s visionary worlds. Instead we are treated to colour. Colour from the wall mural alien creations of Starck, and from his parasol lightshades. Colour from the stunningly intricate tattoo artwork, created by Horikitsune (aka Alex Kofuu Reinke) – the only European to have studied the traditional Irezumi art form at the elbow of Japanese master Horiyoshi III. Colour from the lens of fashion photographer Uli Webber.
Colour also from the branding, which is the estimable work of GBH London (Gregory Bonner Hale). Clever in its simple composition, Miss Kō’s symbolic identity is conjured from nine grains of rice, the most ubiquitous of Asian foods employed in the most ingenious way. The GBH signage also makes an imaginative contribution, employing multiple Asian language characters to bring about a heiroglyphic effect which jumps out from the crowd while still retaining that air of mystery that Miss Kō exudes. Out of this world on every level.