For anyone who likes sushi, Yashin is a must. Tucked down a side road off Kensington High Street, its exterior looks more like a smart French brasserie than a Japanese restaurant. But the centrepiece sushi counter gives the game away as soon as you step inside. Set on the dark green tiles behind the team of itamae (sushi chefs), a neon sign reads ‘without soy sauce’, and this is how the chefs ask you to eat your artfully crafted sushi. In place of a dunking, each piece is finished with its own flavourings – perhaps a dab of tangy ume plum paste, a spoon of tosa jelly, or a quick blast from a blowtorch (perfect for balancing the richness of fatty tuna).
The rest of the menu also displays precision and innovation: a testament to the chef-founder’s grounding in the intricate art of kaiseki cuisine. A delicate dish of saikyo lamb was dotted with sweet miso and summer berries, while buttery sautéed razor clams (just a little overcooked) came with generous slices of summer truffle. The wine and saké lists are long and well chosen, and the clientele and service are as you’d expect from a classy dining establishment – though staff have proved slightly less attentive in the basement, so eat upstairs if you can.