Junsei: London’s Most Authentic Yakitori Experience
Opening during the height of the pandemic in 2021, Junsei, brings the most authentic Japanese food to Marylebone for food lovers to get a real far-east dining experience. Junsei, which means genuine, is a fitting name as the restaurant delivers the popular Japanese Yakitori dining but in London. Yakitori, when translated means grilled bird, is a unique style of cooking that operates a zero-waste policy; where every single part of the chicken is used and cooked into skewers.
At Junsei, everything is made fresh with light seasoning, is locally grown, and more importantly made right in front of you. We chose the Omakase option on the menu, here the chef chooses the dishes for you to try whilst you get a front-row view as the chef performs his magic over a charcoal grill.
Our chef for the day was the maverick Zach Farr, who has travelled the world to master his now-famous ‘nose-to-tail’ cooking style. With each dish, Zach would share the history of the dish and specificities of how it should be prepared all of which added to the tasting experience. Moving onto the food, a palate cleanser of mooli (a white radish and cucumber), that’s lightly coated in soy, is a scrumptious almost snack-like dish and it’s hard to not finish it in one sitting due to its refreshing taste. The Unadon (eel), which is prepared in a similar style to Unagi, comes with a bowl of rice and it’s crazy to think the eel was so lightly seasoned given the way the flavours hit you within the first bite.
When Junsei say they don’t waste any piece of chicken they really mean it. We had a selection of shiso breast (with ume), wing, thigh, heart, shiso breast with ume, chicken oyster (dark meat on the back of the chicken), gizzard and the tskune and meatball with egg yolk. Our personal favourites were the shiso breast which almost comes in butterfly style, that you can easily pull off the bone. Surprisingly, we really enjoyed the heart too; it’s chewy texture gave it a red meat-like taste that differentiated it from the other chicken parts.
Like with the mains we were given palate cleanser for our dessert which consisted of Gooseberry Granita with sweet whipped tofu and blackcurrant. For the main part of the dessert we had Kuramitsu, which is a Japanese brown sugar, ice cream with grilled grapes, gooseberries and puffed rice. All the ice cream is home made in house, Zak made it clear to us that it’s all about the premium ingredients carrying the flavour, so his job as the chef is to simply enhance rather than disguise any natural flavours. And that he does excellently.
Drinks-wise there’s a selection of Japanese-inspired cocktails with the Bincho Sour crafted using whisky soda being our favourite. Of course you can have a range of sake that perfectly complements the hearty food. The venue is cosy and intimate and if you manage to get some of the counter seating, it becomes an immersive experience with front row seating of the chef preparing your dishes.
132 Seymour Place, London W1H1NS
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Find out more – www.junsei.co.uk