On Thursday I experienced one of the most interesting, innovative meals I have ever partaken in at Bincho Yakitori on Old Compton Street in Soho.
Yes, I can safely say that at aged 26 (just...) I have now eaten a whole chicken. All of it. On a stick. Namely:
Torisashi - chicken sashimi with ponzu & chives
Negima - corn fed chicken with spring onion
Sasami Yuzu Kosho - chicken breast fillet with yuzu pepper
Sori Shio - salt grilled chicken oysters
Leba - chicken liver
Kawa - chicken skin
Sunazuri - chicken gizzard
Hatsu - chicken heart
Tsukune - minced chicken with raw egg yolk
Nankotsu - chicken soft bone
Seseri - chicken neck
Tebasaki - chicken wing
Bonjiri - chicken tail
We were even each given a 'yakitori autopsy' map of a chicken, pinpointing the different parts we were eating! I am just glad that they didn't serve us up chicken feet, because I would not have wanted to eat them, but would have had to, just for curiosity's sake...
Amongst the five courses of yakitori (which is essentially Japanese skewers cooked on coals) we were also served a delicious baby spinach with yuba and bacon salad, mizuna salad, white miso soup, edamame, fried chicken, buttered garlic rice (yum), mixed Japanese vegetable rice, and to complete the meal, green tea ice cream.
This was all washed down with regular sake, old school sake, unfiltered sake and plum wine. The drinks were flowing, and honestly I had never really appreciated sake before this meal, but they all tasted good, and were paired expertly with the food courses.
The evening started off with chit chat and champagne by the bar, at which point I had no idea of the feast that awaited me. The restaurant is very stylish and modern in its decor, but also very comfortable, with low lighting and a relaxed atmosphere. It would serve as the perfect place to go on a date, or with a few friends for a night out.
Now, back to the culinary sensation that is yakitori. I'm adventurous with my food, but I'll admit, when I heard there was going to be chicken sashimi, I was skeptical (*cough* salmonella *cough*) but as it turns out, it ended up being one of my favourite items on the menu! It was not how I imagined it would be, as I mostly felt that the texture and thickness of the meat would be unappetising, when it was actually very tiny portions of thinly sliced chicken, seared on the edges, wrapped around chives. It was so yummy!
I also really enjoyed the chicken liver (which a lot of people were not keen on) and the chicken skin (probably not the most diet friendly option, but tasty, nonetheless) which actually seemed to be a favourite amongst most people.
Nearly everything was delicious (and the food just kept coming) apart from the gizzards and the gristle (soft bone). The texture was just too tough and bleeeeuuuuuuuuuuurrrrghhhhhhhh for me.
The staff were very friendly and helpful, explaining what each of the dishes were, and the presentation was impeccable.
This event was organised by the lovely, hardworking team at Yelp London, meaning that everything was free, which was the icing on the cake....or, er, the chicken on the egg...?!
After a bit more champers and a lot more chatting, I headed home, my tummy full and my head happy....when I saw this in front of me on the tube...
More denim, less knee please!