Earlier this week I wrote about my favourite Chinese meal in London. And today's post is about my favourite Japanese restaurant in London - Yashin Ocean House. This post was meant to go live while I was actually in Japan last week, but due to a massively heavy schedule out there I didn't get any time to write or work, as I'd thought I would (not a bad thing - just means I'm a bit behind on posting!)
I've been to Yashin Ocean House before, once for food and once for drinks before a friend's wedding at the Armenian church round the corner... Yashin is a beautiful restaurant on Old Brompton Road, with a huge oval bar in the middle of the room, and tables dotted round one end of it. They also have a little terrace with outside seats for the warmer months. Yashin merges traditional Japanese techniques with more contemporary cooking ideas and their dishes are absolutely spectacular. I was invited down to sample some of their delights, and headed there just before going to Japan. I wanted to go before Japan so I could see how their food compared to "the real thing". There were lots of parts of the menu that were very similar to the food I ate in Japan and Yashin have the same emphasis on nose to tail cooking as they do in Japan. I love this attitude towards food and wish it was more prevalent in restaurants in London as it's so important to use as much as the fish or animal as possible.
A lot of the dishes at Yashin are real wow dishes, and one of the first of those we tried was the sashimi island without soy sauce. The plate of sashimi arrives at the table smoking with dry ice and each of the six types of raw fish is served with a non-soy based jelly or sauce to compliment it - fatty tuna with truffle infused ponzu jelly, prawn with coriander sauce, salmon with tosazu (Japanese vinegar) jelly, yellowtail with kizami wasabi, sea bream with a sweet sauce and rice crackers, and mackerel with grated ginger and chopped chives. I'm a sashimi fan anyway and this platter was my idea of heaven. Each fish and sauce had such a distinct flavour, and I didn't even miss the soy sauce. In Japan they rarely serve soy sauce with sashimi, and I did start to miss it a little there, but it really makes you appreciate the other flavours without having a pot of the salty sauce to dunk your fish in! Thinking about the meal at Yashin now, having been to Japan since, I'm surprised they serve mackerel sashimi. It's one of my favourite fish to eat raw, but I learnt in Tokyo that they never serve raw mackerel in Japan so it's interesting that it's on the menu at such a traditional Japanese restaurant here.