Junsei is the hidden gem that every foodie needs to know about. They specialize in Yakitori, a style of Japanese cooking where meat is skewered and grilled over charcoal fire. All of this takes place in the lowly lit, intimate setting down a Marylebone back street that Junsei calls home.
For a memorable culinary adventure we opted for the Omakase menu - which literally translates to “I’ll leave it to you”. It’s a Japanese tradition where you hand control over to the chef, allowing him to delight and surprise us with a selection of dishes from across the menu. For this, you're rewarded with a prime spot along the counter of the Yakitori bar, where; perched upon a stool, you’re rewarded with a birds eye view of the chefs as they prepare your dishes.
Nose to tail dining is the ethos underpinning the dining experience- there is a dish for absolutely EVERY part of the chicken on the menu. The experience is a journey through the myriad flavours and textures as each dish is designed to draw out the unique flavours of each part.
An amouse bouche of plump, skinless blanched cherry tomatoes with miso accompanied by seasonal pickles kicked things off and this was followed by 6 chicken skewers and a few surprise dishes. These included Momo, tender chicken thigh served with Tare sauce, Tebasaki, a charred crunchy crispy chicken wing, Sunagimo, chicken gizzard and shiso makei, juicy chicken breast with shiso leaf and plum sauce.
The most adventurous dish was Tsukune, a homemade succulent chicken meatball that is served with raw egg yolk in a tari sauce. It's a playful interlude that encourages diners to mix the egg and tari sauce before dipping your chicken in it. If you can set squeamishness aside, it's worth the payback in flavour.
Beautifully charred okra on skewers with Shoyu dressing were a triumph, and these were swiftly chased by a prettily fanned Hamachi, (yellow tail) tartare primed with spicy shiso dipping sauce and white ponzu. These dishes provided a brief entr’acte to proceedings before things were back on track with a very tasty rice bowl topped with chicken.
A bouncy, tart red grape and yuzu granita refreshed our palates
enough to justify having a pudding, not that we needed encouragement! To round things off, we shared the glorious Kuromutsu ice cream, a daring dish that combines grilled vegetables and ice cream, and shouldn't work but it does.
The omakase menu, the Chef’s seasonal selection is £60pp, and the drinks pairing is £50pp.
Check out Junsei’s menu here.