Bincho Yakitori, W1

Japanese food… it’s just raw fish and soupy noodles isn’t it? Not quite. Because our palettes have become largely attuned to the culinary ‘delights’ originally championed by the likes of Yo! Sushi and Wagamama, many of London’s Japanese restaurants have largely given a back seat to the art of grilling that is so popular in the land of the rising sun. However, the guys behind Bincho Yakitori hope to change all of this.

The restaurant’s name is taken from the special Japanese Bincho coals used on the grills. To highlight this, customers can actually sit at the counter set in front of the yakitori grill, where they can watch the ‘keepers of the flame’ at work grilling their food. They’ve also got a bar area serving a selection of Japanese beers, Orient inspired cocktails and a range of sakes served by the bottle or in a traditional cedar wood sake box – a traditional method that lends the sake the flavours of the cedar, and gives it a spicier flavour. The already buzzy atmosphere is enhanced on Monday evenings, when the restaurant bar holds “Monday Sake Madness,” – a weekly event comprising of a live DJ and selections of grilled skewers and sake for just £1 each.

The menu is divided into sections, offering yakitori (bird) and kushiyaki (meat, fish and vegetable) skewers; dishes from the hot and cold kitchens, from grilled aubergine with miso to more adventurous choices such as pig’s tripe stew. Lunchtime visitors can also try their great value Donburi – a Japanese staple involving bowls of rice with a choice of meat and veg. With most skewers coming in at around £2, there is serious fun and value to be had from the food at Bincho. If the choice is too much, they also have an excellent tasting plate comprising of 7 different skewers for just £10. Supplement it with a bowl of their delicious rice, including a particularly moreish Chicken & mushroom variety, and you’ve got yourself a solid meal for £15.

Food: 3.5/5

Venue: 3/5

Value: 4/5

Cuisine type: Japanese Grill

Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £30

Beer: £3.40

Cocktails: £5.50

Bincho Yakitori

16 Old Compton Street,

London, W1D 4TL

Tel: 020 7287 9111