Yashin Sushi isn’t the kind of place I’d normally hang out. For one thing, it’s in Kensington, just off Kensington High St, and for a North Londoner like me that’s a bit of a trek. Plus it pulls a fashionable crowd, especially in the evenings, while I tend to go for more traditional Japanese places. But I was invited there for lunch by some Japanese friends and I was very glad I went.
Yashin Sushi has got a couple of quirks that mark it out from your normal Japanese restaurant. For one thing, the sushi is quite tiny – positively bite-sized, rather like a canapé version. For another, it makes a big thing of not serving soy sauce.
Now, anyone who’s ever eaten in a Japanese restaurant knows this is heresy. The first thing that happens when you sit down is that your server comes and pours some soy sauce into a little dish for you to dip your sushi in to enhance the flavour. But at Yashin Sushi soy sauce is not on offer. They do their own flavours for the different kinds of sushi and they don’t want you blotting it out with a universal soy sauce flavour. Or that’s their position, anyway.
There was no issue with our first course, a delicious carpaccio of sea bass with truffle-infused ponzu sauce ( a change from the tuna carpaccio shown on their regular menu).
But then came the sushi – we went for the Omakase Eight, eight pieces of sushi served with the sushi roll of the day. Nice, but I’m the kind of person who, if you tell me I can’t have something, I immediately want to it. So I asked our charming waitress to bring some soy sauce.
No, the ceiling didn’t fall in. Blushing, she produced a secret pot of soy sauce from under the counter and poured me some. The sushi was great. I’d probably give in to them in future over the soy sauce with the nigiri sushi, though I reckon the sushi rolls would have been a bit dull without it. But anyway, honour was satisfied.
The miso soup was white miso, though I think I could have asked for red miso if I’d realised in time. It came in a pretty English china teacup.
For dessert we went for ice cream, which they do in three exciting flavours, yuzu, green tea and shiso, which is that rather peppery leaf you often get served along with sushi and ginger.
They were all great, but I have to admit the shiso won hands down. A brilliant flavour sensation.
Yashin Sushi is at 1A Argyll Road, W8 7DB, and it’s open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.