Yashin Ocean House, London

4.08.2015

I always hate waste, wasting food, wasting money, in general wasting anything unless it is unavoidable. With similar ethos to St John of "head to tail" eating, Yashin Ocean House's menu is based entirely around fish and seafood offering head to tail dining including every aspect of the fish from roe to flesh to skin. There is even a wonderful display of fish drying in glass cabinets behind the main kitchen area.

Tucked away behind South Kensington/Gloucester Road tube station, sit a beautiful restored Victorian stable that house Yashin Ocean House. With Chef Daniele Codini at the helm of the kitchen (formerly The Fat Duck in UK and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Paris), I suspected it was going to be more than just a treat.

Amuse Bouche - Risotto with Miso, Shiso and Scallop

We started off an amuse bouche of risotto with miso, shiso and scallop. It is a Japanese twist on a Italian dish of risotto. Made with brown sushi rice(?) rather than the typical risotto rice (i.e. arborio), it has a more nuttier flavour. Cooked to extremely al dente and with a hint of miso taste, the whole dish still tasted creamy. The temperature of the risotto is supposed to cook the thin slice of scallop (or salmon which I was served as the waitress thought I was allergic to all shellfish, I'm only allergic to a few but not all), the seafood can be slightly raw not that it matters a great deal. Nevertheless, a very good risotto.

Spicy Octopus Soy Ceviche

Foie Gras Miso Dengaku

Scottish Salmon Tartare with Crispy Skin

Spicy octopus soy ceviche is the least memorable dish of the night, not particularly special but rest of the meal was a highlight. Foie gras miso dengaku is a fusion take of the nasu dengaku (miso glazed aubergine), replacing the aubergine with the highly calorific foie gras. Who knew foie gras and miso is such a good match, topped with black sesame paste and sandwiched with sesame crackers and candied orange. My god, it's even better paired with the sesame cracker. The taste of the sesame did not overpower the creaminess of the foie gras, it just melts in the mouth. The Scottish salmon tartare with crispy skin was well presented perhaps with the crispy skin stealing the show. It was one hell of a crispy fish skin, of seabass I think. The crispest I ever had, just crisp and not hard which complemented with the soft texture of the salmon.

Tempura - Paradise Prawn

Teriyaki Yellowtail - in beef net with yuzu miso

Ishiyaki Sukiyaki - wagyu shoulder cooked on high heat

Such a funky presentation of a flying prawn tempura, served with a thicken tentsuyu sauce in a test tube. Possibly the best tempura in London. It was light, fluffy and crispy. No sight of oiliness. My only criticism was the prawn is slightly overcooked, but I won't complain since the tempura batter is so good. Eventhough I only took one bite of it before my allergic flared up, it was excellent. Teriyaki yellowtail was another enjoyable dish, teriyaki sauce seems to go with everything. I do not know what beef net is, even with a search on google it doesn't tell me anything. Could it be the spongy texture thing on the plate (?), which I don't know what it is but it was tasty. The decorating greens has a weird texture, not much of flavour and again I don't know what it is. There are four things that I can identified, a sliced of lotus root, a steak of yellowtail with teriyaki sauce and the brown splodge of yuzu miso. Next came the ishiyaki sukiyaki, wagyu shoulder cooked on high heat. It is not your traditional sukiyaki with meats and vegetables cooked hot pot style. This is more like a stir fry style of sliced wagyu beef in a soy mirin sauce with julienne of spring onions and onions served in a extremely hot stone pot. The heat of the pot will cook the beef, as though if you were cooking it yourself on the table. Beef was very tender and moist and I couldn't stop eating the onions/spring onions that tasted so sweet with the sauce.

Roll of the day - salmon, pickled daikon and avocado

Nigiri - white seabass, otoro tuna, yellowtail and salmon

Last of the mains was the Omakase Sushi Eight, served with roll of the day - salmon, pickled daikon and avocado. Decent sushi roll, the sushi rice is well cooked and seasoned. Normally you get a tiny dabs of pickled ginger, but at Yashin you get a big chunk of pickled ginger. Chef's selection of nigiri served without soy sauce with white seabass, otoro tuna, yellowtail and salmon. Don't exactly remember what's on the fish beside the tomato jelly on the salmon and the rice was blow torched around the edge to give a crispy outing. Despite the small sushi menu, the sushi was exceptional. What I liked the most is you can taste the freshness of the fish and whatever else is added does not overshadow the fish.

All Sesame - black sesame "brûlée", sesame tuile and cookie with white sesame ice cream

Matcha Duo - matcha mousse, kinako streusel, white chocolate and matcha sorbet

Desserts was beautifully presented and exemplary delicious. The black sesame "brûlée", sesame tuile and cookie with white sesame ice cream was overloaded with sesame flavour. The sesame tuile acted as the hard caramel layer of the traditional crème brûlée. The matcha mousse, kinako streusel, white chocolate and matcha sorbet was a gorgeous dessert, a must try for matcha fan. Both desserts are highly executed and skilled, the flavours and the textures married onto one plate.

To accompanied the savoury dishes, we started of with a carafe of Shirakabegura白壁蔵, Junmai sake - 300ml for £20 (rrp £30.70 for a bottle). Described as a delicate balance of soft acidity with gentle Junmai flavour. As our new fond of sake interest sparked up, one carafe was just not enough. We went for a carafe of Ura Gasanryu裏雅山流, honjozo sake - 300ml for £24 (rrp £28 for a bottle). This was more of light, fresh and crisp. Ura Gasanryu should of have been drank at the start, as Kawatsuru was more of a complex style and drier. With the desserts, we had sencha and houjicha, from the AOI tea company (which I've not heard of before). The teas was served too hot, the brewing temperature is overly hot and not brewed long enough so it tasted very mild.

We were taken away by the wonder of food (the freshest of the fresh fish), the impeccable service of willing to explain everything in details, the extensive sake list in addition to wine, a very stylish and modern décor and sophisticated ambience. There is no one element that I can fault, maybe the tea and the price. This could perhaps be the best Japanese (with the exception of ramen) food that I have tasted yet in London.

Score Rating: 4/5
Price: £50+/head (50% off new menu items, ~£150 for 2 people)

Yashin Ocean House on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

http://yashinocean.com/

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