Situated down Old Brompton Road- a stroll away from South Kensington tube- lies Sauce’s latest client, Yashin Ocean House. Not familiar? Well, you can be forgiven (though just this once) for not instantly recognising this discreet, understated restaurant: it doesn’t scream for attention (though it really should) and you could easily walk right past without noticing what lies within. A foolish thing to do if you ask me, and here’s why…
We stepped inside and instantly greeted with a welcoming chorus from the staff; a tradition with every customer that walks in, making you feel instantly relaxed and ready to settle in for the night. We took our seats at the beautiful turquoise counter giving us the best view in the house, allowing us to take in the beautiful, spacious room. It is grand without being over-the-top, mixing elegance with just the right amount of quirkiness (A giant horse lampshade? Sure!) and of course, not forgetting what was right in front of our eyes: delicious fresh fish being delicately prepared by the chefs into miniature works of edible art. In case you haven’t worked it out from the name, Yashin Ocean House is based entirely on fish and seafood; offering fin to tail dining achievable only through the high skill and expertise of the Chef Patrons, Yasuhiro Mineno and Shinya Ikeda (ex-head chefs at Ubon by Nobu and Yumi respectively).
The idea is simple: it is recommended you each order two dishes from the different sections of the menu- small dishes, raw & carpaccio, and large dishes- and share within your party. All very good if you can restrain yourself to picking just two dishes each when- if like me– you were a party of two. Luckily my dinner guest and I have similar exquisite tastes so no need for a compromise, making ordering a breeze. Whilst we waited we had delicious appetisers thrust upon us (I say thrust like there was a hint of forcefulness; of course there wasn’t) including the deliciously warm squid ink bread and bite-size smoked mackerel with courgette. Just those little tasters were enough to truly whet our appetites. What to wash it down with? Why, sake of course. Poured in front of our eyes before we had time to object (because that would really happen).
Starting off what seemed to be a never ending parade of plates were some edamame beans with sea salt. Wonderfully salty and deliciously more-ish, I couldn’t stop myself; my first edamame experience was a great, wondrous one. I was only distracted from my new green friends by the Omakase sashimi platter which sneakily made its way in between both of us only to be greeted with an array of ooh’s and aah’s for it looked divine: bursting with colour and exuding freshness. And just when we thought it couldn’t get better did the ultimate novelty factor occur: the waitress poured water onto dry ice to create a large white fluffy cloud over the sashimi, blanketing our entire table space with a mystical fog. It’s safe to say I loved it, I think I even gave a tiny squeal (sorry, but novelty is everything in my books). The sashimi itself? Highlights included cuts of salmon and tuna and juicy large king prawns, all loaded with taste; from citrusy explosions to sweet, there was plenty of adventure for your taste buds.
With not a hint of wasabi left on the platter, our plates were cleared making way for the next round. Before we knew it, two little Picasso plates were brought before us: on one the octopus, the other an arrangement of vegetables. The former was just the right side of chewy and full of taste; the latter almost too beautifully presented to eat. I say almost because we managed to polish off both plates effortlessly. The sign of a good order I do believe.
Last up from our order came the Teriyaki Yellow Tail. I must confess, by this point we were stuffed- it would appear our eyes were bigger than our bellies- but being the foodie troopers we are, we powered through and showed conviction with every bite. And delicious the bites were. The Yellow Tail was a meatier fish offset perfectly with the sweetness of the teriyaki, filling us to the brim.
I say brim, but you know there’s always room for a sweet treat. We settled on the three petit desserts: flavours of coffee, strawberry panna cotta and matcha green tea oozed from these little fancies. The perfect amount to satisfy our sweet tooth and polished off to perfection, of course.
I couldn’t fault my experience at Yashin Ocean House. From the moment you step in till the moment you walk out the door you are shown a good time; the staff are friendly and polite, the food presented beautifully and each dish is an exciting culinary delight- what more could you really want?
Yashin Ocean House can be found at 117-119 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3RN
Review and photographs by Claire Menary