Think you know Japanese food? Think again.
Where? Bincho Yakitori, 16 Old Compton Street, London W1D 4TL (020 7287 9111, www.bincho.co.uk)
Another Japanese joint? I’m a little sushi-ed out. Well you’re going to love Bincho then. With no raw fish in sight (well, if you look hard in the prep area, you’ll definitely find some eel, but it will have been well cooked before it hits your plate), this is Soho’s answer to modern-day, laidback Japanese eating, aka ‘food on skewers’!
So, it’s Asian barbeque for dinner, then? Well, Asian grill, if we were being pedantic. Expert chefs toast Yakitori (grilled chicken or duck) and Kushiyaki (grilled meat, fish or vegetables) over unique, ultra-hot grills imported from Japan, all doused in a special Yakitori sauce, which has been used for centuries in the Far East to give this food its special flavour.
This is all new to me, where on earth do I start? Despite the fact a large proportion of diners are Japanese themselves (always a good sign), the staff will treat Yakitori virgins with kid gloves – the menu also comes with simple explanations of everything on offer. If you’re in a rush, go for The Seven Samurai taster menu, for £10, which includes a little bit of everything.
And a Tiger beer to wash it all down with? Not so fast, Yakitori should be eaten with sake, and there’s a whole range of those to sample, too. For those who’ve never tried it, every Wednesday evening during June there are Sake Crash Courses, priced at just £20, which aim to make ordering your first glass as easy as ordering your skewered dinner. To book, call 020 7287 9111.