From J. Moriyama on Bond Street, we had the choices of Diwan kebab round the corner, give MeatLiquor another go or check out some poshed-up Thai with ugly reviews. Decisions decisions. Meatliquor was quickly out of the question as there was no end to the queue; then I remembered that tiny neon “sushi” sign tucked away in the narrow passage near Piccadilly.
It’s called Yoshino. Quite worrying considering its sister takeaway shop on Shaftsbury Avenue looks like a bogus sushi shop, you know, the Wasabi-type, but I’ve gotta trust reviews. Relieved to see the two Itamae diligently slicing raw fish at the counter as I pushed open the door, we were pointed upstairs by the suited and groomed front of house. Contrary to the tacky neon sign and wooden-framed windows, the interior is actually cosily elegant; bright and minimalistic with yellow sofa seats along the wall.
Otoro Sashimi Platter (12 pieces)
I think this was a steal. Atari-ya prices 5 slices of Otoro for £20, I thought that was a bargain. Yoshino’s 12 slices are going for £19.80. WTF?! I didn’t think the menu was making much sense: 1 piece of Otoro sushi was £5. Mister put me out of my misery by concluding sushi rice was more expensive than the fish. Okay.
(To be fair, these slices were nowhere as thick as Atari-ya. Still.)
Check out the fat distribution, the legendary marbling; it had more fat than fish. It just disappeared in mouth, the piece simply dissolved. The flavours were ever so delicate; the richness of fish oil aroma lingered and lasted forever.
There was another cut with slightly more tendons on the platter. Mister preferred this marginally leaner version (not Chu-toro) with tendons. It took a bit of chewing to unlocking the slightly stronger flavours.
Chirashi Sushi - Assortment of 7 varieties sashimi served with sushi rice
I counted there were only 6: salmon, tuna akami, squid, yellowtail, king prawn and tamago (egg), served on abalone shells on ice. Sushi rice was a nice touch, layered with shredded beans, egg and sprinkled with ikura / salmon caviar.
I didn’t fall head over heels with this one, think the fish was too cold and even the rich flavours of the fatty salmon was somewhat subdued. The highlight was definitely the king prawn, or more specifically the king prawn head. It was packed with sweet prawn roe, full of flavours; the prawn itself was leaning on the stiff and bland side. Squid was also better than most – squidgy, springy textures that easily chewable to smooth silkiness.
Yoshino’s sushi assortment - Tuna, yellowtail, wild organic salmon, teriyaki eel, salmon caviar, squid, wild king prawn
Not as visually enhancing as most of the sushi restaurants we have been to; no fancy accompaniments dressed on the fish, just simple down-to-earth raw fish on rice. The sushi rice was perfect – rice ball held firmly together while I turned it upside down for dipping, but it wasn’t a deadly firmness; the grains didn’t lose their lively bounce as the rice ball disintegrates to blend with slithery fish.
This ikura gunkan was sinfully blissful – see the overflowing gleaming fish pearls? This is exactly how an ikura gunkan should be done. And it tasted so freaking good, each pop bursting with scrumptious juices that latched onto the mildly vinegar-ed rice… just so good. Negi toro roll was another pleasant surprise, silky smooth minced toro merged and greased the sushi rice with a gentle crunchy kick from chopped spring onions.
The rest of the sushi were less memorable, except for teriyaki eel, which was especially rubbery and poorly roasted. I think it was just microwaved to mild warmth.
Has this become my new favourite sushi spot? Probably not. It is still a long way from the likes of Shiori, or even Atari-ya where I get better value for money. But I won't shoot this down, because I might just come back for my next Otoro feasting.
3 Piccadilly Place
Tel: 0207 287 6622