Japanese cuisine is such a rage among the Chinese nowadays that specialty restaurants are mushrooming to ride on the demand. At the new Marriott Hotel in Nanjing South, one such project is SORA, a high-end yet relatively accessible restaurant designed by Beijing-based architecture firm odd, or okamoto deguchi design. It’s quite the looker too, and one of the first things you see on the first floor of the hotel.

Soft light scattered on the walls and terrazzo flooring emphasises the delicate craftsmanship at SORA

Dominated by sleek black materials matched with delicate wooden latticework inspired by the Japanese Edo period, the Japanese aesthetic for the exterior is obvious. But nothing gives it away as much as the traditional karesansui style (think dry landscaping) garden outside — something that extends inside with zen gardens elements.

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While the central colour at SORA is black, the overall atmosphere is more dynamic than dull or gloomy

Each dining room has a chic viewing window to create a more visual dining experience for guests

Soft lighting from Feelux is used to light up multiple coves, along with beautiful Barrisols stretching across the ceiling to create a warm ambient mood, which is really how we like to enjoy our sushi. The lighting also emphasises the textures around the restaurant, from the smooth latticework to the grain of natural marble and other minimalist decor.

There are two eight-person sushi rooms that each adopt a different take on traditional sushi bars: pared down with wood in the first, and a more modern black stainless steel look in the second. Or you might opt for one of the tatami rooms instead for general dining. Rustic and decked out in quite a bit of rough granite masonry, carved cloud and wave latticework screens offer some privacy for the two-person rooms, while you get a fine transparent screen instead in the eight-person room.

Then, there’s the whisky bar the likes of which you have never seen: double layers of pierced steel planking artfully amplified by two argent mirrors on each side, and a dance of light and patterns on the back wall creating a foggy scene. It’s a pretty sight indeed.

Sora Japanese Restaurant will open at Marriott Nanjing South Hotel in early 2020.