‘The chicken, the whole chicken, and nothing but the chicken,’ could be the motto for this Sangenjaya poultry palace. Chef Tokoshima serves 20 different items of grilled chicken, from the standard – breast, wings, thigh – to the startling. Anyone for ovaries? If you do fancy one of the more unusual options (hearts, intestine cartilage), there’s little to worry about because Chef Tokoshima is a perfectionist who oversees the minutiae of the yakitori process. This gizzard wizard purchases his chickens, hatched from French eggs (he prefers the slightly tougher texture of French chicken), directly from a farm up in Ibaraki. Then he embarks on some nose-to-tail cooking on his charcoal grill – the intense flavour, he says, comes when the oil from the meat drips onto the burning charcoal.
The simple seasoning – salt, black pepper and a splash of tare (sauce) – allows the natural flavours of the chicken to shine. It’s a beautiful, elegant restaurant, with dark wood panelling on the walls and the counter that surrounds Tokoshima’s kitchen, offering customers a close-up view of the master’s meticulous preparation of each and every kushi. It almost goes without saying that non-chicken eaters should seek an alternative place to eat, but for devotees of the bird – and of quality sake, since there are some fantastic varieties available here – Tokoshima is a guaranteed smash. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the buttery, burst-in-the-mouth chicken ovaries are genuinely delicious.