How can we successfully modernise sushi to incorporate the western ingredients? The traditional techniques of rolling rice and pressing a piece of sashimi on top are sushi’s defining characteristics, hence unchangeable. But the filling, sauce and dress up can be altered, which Yashin does better than anyone. The policy is ‘without soy sauce’, each piece of sushi is uniquely dressed with a particular garnish to match the textures and flavours of certain fish, like the art of wine matching.
Cofounded by Yashuhiro Mineno, ex headchef at Ubon and Shinya Ikeda, headchef at Ikeda, Yashin was a guaranteed success. When it did open, Timeout gave a well deserved 5/5 stars. Kensington finally has a restaurant worth trekking for, unless overpriced restaurants are your cup of tea.
The menu at Yashin is simple, especially at lunch time. A short list of sushi set menus, all inclusive of miso soup and salad. Apart from the popular salmon and tuna lunch, you can leave to the chef (omakase) to select 6, 8, 11 or 15 pieces of sushi, priced from £12.50 to £60. A small selection of appetisers are also available.
Shop brought tofu can often taste like plastic, no flavour but a sponge texture. Homemade Japanese tofu are the opposite, you can eat it raw without any seasoning and it’ll still have tons of flavour. This yose tofu was excellent, topped with bimi jelly that melted instantly to release the fish stock flavours.
Whether sashimi or sushi, each piece of fish was topped with a different garnish or sauce. No soy sauce required and served with sushi rice.
Apart from the unique garnishes, Yashin’s secret weapon was blowtorch. A quick brush of it can release the full flavours of oily fish while adding a burnt smokiness. The western element was added by blowtorching a thin piece of parmesan on top of an oily fish, to add flavour and to season. Each piece of sushi was delicious, meltable and unique.
Miso and salad
Verdict - 4/5
Food (unique) - it’s the most unique sushi restaurant in London, one of the best you’ll find.
Service (very busy) - Yashin is quite small and the sushi bar took most of the space, so do remember to book. Service was friendly but food can be slow, best to order a few appertisers or take you time with the salad and miso soup.
Cost (£35pp) - the sashimi lunch was £25 and the omakase eight was £30, including the tofu and tea, two of us billed £71.
1A Argyll Road, London
W8 7DB, 02079381536