Can a Westerner imagine a sushi restaurant serving dishes without soy sauce? Hardly, but this is what they do at Yashin Sushi just off Kensington High Street, and they do it well. “But if you want to …” – as the neon banner on the wall behind the sushi counter says – you can order some. The reason for the chefs doing so is to show to their diners how all the Japanese ingredients you might know really taste without the overpowering sauce.
Chef: There is a number of sushi chefs along the counter working on some impressive creations of food art. The head chefs though and also the co-founders are the ex-Nobu group chef Yasuhiro Mineno and the youthful Shinya Ikedo. Their innovative approach to sushi and other Japanese meals sparks up the London’s dining scene.
Atmosphere: Modern design, rabbit-shaped lamps, attentive service, long sushi bar and tall chairs. Yashin Sushi is a great spot to enjoy the omakase (chefs own creations of the best ingredients of the day served one after another). You can dress up or wear something casual, just leave the sneakers at home.
Food: Edo-style natural flavours showing dishes. First you will be served a trio of original and tiny amuse-bouche, then you can start with the tofu foamy and warming miso soup and move to one of the cold dishes.
The omakase though is really tempting. You can order from eight to 15 pieces, list all your allergies and then just enjoy the purity of the flavours. We did it after trying a number of cold and warm starters and did not leave too over-filled.
From the new style sashimi dishes the White Fish of the Day Carpaccio with crunchy lettuce on the top was refreshing and delicious. I would have the fish tartare with salmon eggs enriched by the creamy sauce and freshened up by a cover of chopped green chives and shiso again as it was a truly genial raw fish dish.
The generous slices of Wagyu Beef Loin slightly seared around and served with savoury truffle jelly was outstanding. The fatty meat was succulent and was wonderfully elevated by the jelly-like truffle dressing. A sip or two or red wine cut through the fatness of this dish and refresh your palate ready for the next course.
There are not many Maki rolls but they are nice and usually there is at least one vegetarian choice. Look for seasonal dishes as I had amazing Seared mixed mushrooms when I dined at Yashin this month.
Drinks: The wine list and sake list is good. Many of the wines are served by the glass, carafe and bottle. One of them is also the interesting Japanese pinkish Koshu from Grace vineyards. I love this wine for its freshness and delicate nature. Most of the wines are also organic or biodynamic. If you are not in the mood for alcohol, you can have the lovely green tea poured warm from a pot into your glass every time your it is empty.
Soon a new Yashin in Knightsbridge is lined up to be open, so it will be interesting to see if they can keep up the same level of attentive service as in the original one in West Kensington.
Visit: March 2013
Price: High (high quality ingredient come at high price, especially when imported to London – the Omakase of 15 pieces costs £80, while 8 pieces come for £30).
Opening hours: Mon-Sun for lunch 12:00–2:30 pm, dinner: 6:00–11:00 pm
Address: 1 Argyll Rd, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London W8, UK.
Contact: Tel: +(44) 020 7938 1536