Yashin Ocean House is the sister of the original Yashin branch in Kensington, and opened in late 2013. There is an airy dining room with an open kitchen, private dining downstairs and a terrace with a few tables outside in good weather. Head chef here is Yasuhiro Mineno, originally from Shizuoka and formerly head chef at Nobu Group’s Ubon in Canary Wharf. From the website I had the impression that there was a limited wine selection, so we took advantage of the £30 corkage. In fact there was a quite extensive wine list that appeared at that table, but by that point we were already committed to the wines that we had brought.
Lean akami tuna was served with truffle ponzu jelly, the Spanish tuna having good, silky texture. The ponzu jelly was a touch salt but its acidity was a nice balance to the natural oil of the tuna (14/20). Soft-shell crab salad was rather ordinary, with an awful lot of leaves and not much in the way of soft-shell crab; the latter was decent enough but the batter was a little greasy (12/20). We then had a plate of assorted rolls, including soft-shell crab, prawn and French beans with sesame. These were fine, the rice having reasonable texture (13/20).
Paradise prawn tempura was served on vertical skewers, so the seafood had the illusion of floating in the air. The prawns were nicely cooked, the batter quite light, and the presentation of the prawns is quite dramatic (14/20). Akami tuna sushi had quite good rice and well-made pickled ginger with a pleasing degree of sharpness. The rice was served at the proper temperature and the tuna had the same silky texture as the earlier dish (14/20).
Eel donburi (unadon) had good quality eel resting on a bed of rice. Usually, the eel is dipped in a sweet, soy-based sauce with mirin and sake sauce before being cooked over a charcoal grill, though there is a variant in Tokyo where the eel is steamed instead. In specialist eel restaurants like Nodaiwa the eels are killed to order. There is even an eel classification systems, graded by quality into three categories: ”tokujo” (premium), ‘jo” (superior) or “nai” (average). When I have eaten this dish in Japan the cooking juices from the sauce of the grilled eel seep appealingly into the rice, whereas here the eel and the rice felt less integrated. I suspect that the eel here was cooked in a water bath rather than being charcoal-grilled, so it lacked the hint of smoky flavour from grilling, and there was not much hint of the usual eel sauce. It was fine, but was not the very best version of this classic dish (12/20).
The bill, with corkage at £30 a bottle came to £99 a head. Service was fine, the dishes arriving at a leisurely pace. Overall, I felt that this meal was a little less good than my last one here, although it was still very pleasant, and the overall environment here, with its widely spaced tables, is relaxing.Book
Further reviews: 10th Nov 2013
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