Yashin Sushi is London's latest high-end sushi restaurant. It is the brainchild of two experienced itamae: Yasuhiro Mineno (ex-head chef of the now defunct Ubon restaurant) and Shinya Ikeda (ex-chef at Yumi). Although it opened at the end of October 2010, Yashin has already been causing quite a stir among London's sushi lovers. So, when I was in London recently, Mrs. Nibbler and I decided to go there for dinner with a couple of friends who used to live in Tokyo.
On entering the smallish restaurant, the first thing you're aware of is the long sushi bar and the rather fetching glazed Victorian-style tiles. Behind the sushi counter, in bold blue neon, was a sign saying "Without Soy Sauce", swiftly followed with the subscript, "but if you want to". On seeing this I instantly fell in love with the place, as it reminded me of some of the more memorable sushi experiences I had in Tokyo, where the itamae would lovingly brush the sushi with the optimal amount of soy sauce. To then go and dip the thing in a great big lake of wasabi-laden soy sauce, as we uncouth gaijin are apt to do, would have been a terrible insult to the chef.
As we were a group of four, we were seated in the downstairs section to give us more space (sitting four abreast at the sushi counter would have been a bit odd). Unfortunately, this meant we missed out on watching our sushi being expertly crafted – a big part of the sushi experience for me. However, the downstairs space was lovely and intimate, which was only slightly let down by the cheesy 'Euro chill-out' soundtrack playing over the speakers.
The menu at Yashin is fairly straightforward; there is a selection of smaller dishes, such as salads and carpaccios, while the main courses consist of three omakase menus of 8, 11, or 15 pieces of sushi (£30, £45, and £60 respectively).
- Madai (sea bream), slicked with soy sauce and sprinkled with tiny balls of rice cracker
- In a nod to Nobu's famous yellowtail sashimi there was hamachi (yellowtail) served with a thin sliver of jalapeño
- Chu-toro (medium-fatty tuna) lightly grilled and sprinkled with sea salt
- Maguro (tuna) with kisame (fresh) wasabi
- Hirame (turbot) with chopped spring onion
- Ebi (prawn), lightly grilled and served with salt and a touch of foie gras
- Sake (salmon), lightly grilled and topped with ponzu jelly
- Suzuki (sea bass)
The second plate of nigiri arrived looking (and tasting) every bit as spectacular as the first. This time we had:
- Saba (mackerel) topped with kisame wasabi
- Matsuba kani (snow crab)
- Uni (sea urchin) served in great big blobs in a nori wrapper topped with wasabi
- Wagyu beef, lightly seared and sprinkled with salt and pepper
- Mate Gai (razor clam), also lightly seared and sprinkled with salt and pepper
- More of the Madai (sea bream) with rice cracker
- Hirame (turbot), this time served with microgreens
Sushi Dai), but there is just so much to love about Yashin that I may have to change my mind about that.
In summary, don't come to Yashin expecting a traditional sushi experience, instead come and be wowed by their flawlessly crafted modern nigiri served in an equally modern dining room. At the moment, Yashin is serving probably some of the best sushi in London, and a trip here should not be missed. I can't wait to return.
1a Argyll Road
London W8 7DB