Sake & Skewers: We Tried The Omakase Tasting Menu At This Marylebone Restaurant

Published . By Kavita Singh.

I’ve always wanted to try an omakase experience. A Japanese phrase that means “I’ll leave it to you”, this type of dining is fab for adventurous eaters like myself. So when the opportunity popped up to try Junsei’s omakase tasting menu (£60), I was elated. The Marylebone haunt takes on a zero-waste concept by preparing and skewering over 20 different variations of chicken parts in a nuanced fashion. It also fronts a bunch of Japanese and veggie dishes as well – after having a look on Instagram, my mouth was already watering.

Junsei London Review Interiors | DesignMyNight

Junsei's omakase tasting menu all takes place at the coveted chef's table.

Situated on Seymour Place, the venue was quaint with enough room to seat about 40 people. Boasting Japanese art, lush leather chairs and a brass colour scheme, the restaurant oozed of minimalist vibes. Luckily my date and I got settled into the best seat in the house – the chef’s table, complete with light gray velvet seating and a friendly chef at the forefront. With each stick cooked over Binchōtan charcoal, the dishes were guaranteed to be peeping hot and fresh off the grill.

To kick off the evening, we ordered drinks – I opted for the passionfruit margarita (£10.50), a delicate mix of tequila and fruitiness, garnished with a dried orange slice. While I was in a tropical paradise with my tipple, my date went for an old-fashioned (£11.50), which had a generous amount of whisky and just the slightest touch of orange. After polishing those off, we got a carafe of Akitabare Shunsetsu sake (£47.80). It had a dry undertone but still managed to be sweet – great for any sake newbies as well.

Junsei London Review Food | DesignMyNight

Skewers and cocktails make for the perf pair at Junsei in London.

Now onto the food. We started off strong with the chicken heart skewer, which was paired alongside grilled courgettes and whipped tofu. While the chicken skewer was tender, the courgettes were balanced out by the light airy dip and a tiny bit of chilli oil. And while we’re raving about veggies, the okra with katsuobushi and shoyu dressing was actually the best okra I’ve ever had – it’s quite sticky and can be unpleasant if not cooked well but here, it was faultless. Another great plate was the padron peppers - charred flawlessly with a hint of nuttiness.

As we continued our experience, the dishes got more complex. One highlight was the chicken wing with lemon. Told by the chef to squeeze the wedge over the skewer, the acidity of the juice really brought out the savoury flavour of the meat. In addition, we were also given the Tsukune, which was a chicken meatball served alongside an egg yolk to dip it in. The creaminess of the egg and heartiness of the meat was super creative and made for a succulent bite - also who doesn't love a little dipping action with food?  It would also be a crime not to mention how delightful our final dish was. We were given a brown sugar ice cream with puffed rice and grilled grapes. The ice cream was absolutely stellar with the fruit adding a bit more complexity to the otherwise standard dessert. Oh, and the puffed rice added a nice texture – think a more adult version of sprinkles.

Junsei London Review Food & Drink | DesignMyNight

Junsei's menu leaves you spoilt for choice.

The DesignMyNight Digest 

If you’re after yakitori in London, you’ll absolutely love Junsei. Fab for special occasions, the omakase tasting menu is definitely well-worth the price, simply because it was both a foodie heaven and an experience in itself. While eating different parts of the chicken doesn’t sound like the most appealing selling point, I actually really appreciate the restaurant’s efforts to make the most of what they have, from egg yolks through to chicken tails and hearts. Un-grill-ievable? It’s definitely up there as one of Marylebone’s best places to eat.

  💰 The damage: £190 for tasting menu, cocktails and carafe of sake.

  📍  The location: 132 Seymour Pl, London W1H 1NS.

  👌 Perfect for: Birthday celebrations or special occasions.

 ⭐ Need to know: Go in with an open mind and an empty stomach.

 

Fancy a tasting menu? Click here for our guide. For more London inspo, sign up to our weekly newsletter.