If nose-to-tail eating conjures up images of sucking marrow from roasted bones, tucking into plates of offal or other meaty treats, then it’s time to think again. There’s next to no meat on the menu at Yashin Ocean House, instead, most things come out of the sea. From tuna served with chopped bonito stomach to deep-fried mackerel skeletons, this is scale-to-tail eating, if you will.
Set up by the same team as Yashin in Kensington (one of the best sushi restaurants in London), the eat-everything approach is more than just a gimmick. In Japan there’s nothing unusual about snacking on deep-fried fish spines in a smart restaurant (they’re a bit like crisps), so why not do the same in London? As long as it’s done well, of course – and it is here.
The bone-straight mackerel skeleton came with sweet vegetable crisps – a good contrast to the savoury fried fish frame. The flesh of the mackerel showed up in another dish, subtly lemon-cured and served with mussel tempura. This was accompanied by cucumber, served in an assortment of molecular forms that included sour sous-vide chunks, refreshing dollops of green purée, ethereal foam and dried crisps.
All of the six or so small plates we tried were good, but the standout dish was a dinky ice-cream cone-like wafer filled with layers of salmon eggs, whipped double cream and pak choi. Each mouthful was a party of changing flavours and textures.
There’s a distinct lack of carbs on the menu here. Unusually, they don’t even serve rice (though our waiter said they were thinking about it). Many of the plates are small, but after half a dozen or so shared between two, thoughts of a post-dinner trip to the chippy were forgotten.
Like its sister sushi restaurant, the look here blends quirk with upmarket sophistication, but on a much larger scale – check out the life-sized horse lamp. Lighting is low, the clientele well heeled and behind the central counter the chefs deftly apply their impressive craft.
This is one concept that has legs… or perhaps that should be fins.