Updated: Jan 13, 2019
A while ago I was wondering what would be the category of things which I would be willing to spend the most money on after bespoke items and whiskies.
As you would have guessed it, I didn't really think for long before I conclude that it would be Japanese food.
Indeed, what I found quite similar between the making of high-quality Japanese food, as well as the crafting of bespoke items and whiskies is that they all take years in order to achieve perfection. That's why it worths to pay more to appreciate their work.
Anyway, in today's article I would be sharing with you all my recent food journey to one of the best Japanese restaurant in London -- Yen London.
Located at the prime location of 190 Strand, Yen is a fine-dining restaurant that specializes in Soba noodles, as well as sushi, sashimi, tempura, robata and other traditional Japanese dishes.
It was first launched in the fashionable district of Saint-Germain-de-Pres in Paris in 2000, and has been recommended in the Michelin Guide ever since.
What makes it outstanding than the other Japanese restaurants in London is that all its soba noodles are freshly prepared before every service.
In fact, upon arrival at the main hall of the restaurant, you could immediately see the Soba room where the chef would be hand-making the noodles on your left, followed by the restaurant's amazing cocktail bar.
Now, without further delay, let me show you some of the dishes that I tasted during my journey.
To start off the night was a cocktail named Purple Samurai.
Combining some of the best ingredients in the market, namely Ki No Bi Gin, a lavender infused Umeshu, Antica Formula, and Peychaud bitters; this cocktail easily wins over my heart as the best part of the meal.
When you have your first sip, you could immediately sense multiple variations of sweetness, namely the one from the Gin, the Umeshu, and the Antica Formula.
The lavender scent, however, stands out the most from the rest of the ingredients. Trying not to overstretch the imagery, but I would describe the associated feeling as laying down on a field of lavender flowers in Hokkaido.
What follows is 3 different pieces of Tuna, each represents a different level of fattiness.
I started off with the Akami on the far left. (picture above) What it is essentially is the regular red meat that you usually have when you ordered a tuna-related dish from a Japanese restaurant. Needless to say, it is quite lean so it does form a strong contrast to what's coming next.
The one in the middle is the Chutoro. It has a medium-fatty texture due to the fact that it is located at the belly tip of the tuna. Again, it is nothing close to what's coming next but it is definitely a massive step up from the Akami with its oiliness.
The final piece, the Otoro, is really the piece that needs to be address separately. Being the fattiest part of a Tuna, it is heavy with umami.
When I first placed the nigiri in my mouth, I could immediately sense that the otoro is dissolving, forming an oily yet aromatic scent.
Really, there is no need to chew it. Within seconds of time, it just melted away. A purely enjoyable experience.
It wouldn't be a real food tasting journey at Yen London without trying one of its renowned Soba noodles. Thus, I ordered the Hot Soba with Scallops and Seaweed in Broth, also known as the Hanamaki.
I must say it is quite homey. The seaweed alongside with the very soft texture of the homemade soba noodles just creates so much warmth in the mouth.
Additionally, as much as the grilled scallops might be quite intense (comparatively) in flavor, it is actually rather subtle so it works quite nicely with the other parts of the dish.
On top of that, I actually had the option to add some additional seasonal to intensify the texture of the soba noodles. (picture below) Nonetheless, I would suggest that wasabi is actually the ingredient that does the job the best.
What I have mentioned above is just some of the most outstanding dishes that you could potentially tasted at Yen London. However, without spoiling too much content as you should go give a try, I would leave it as it is now.
More information about the restaurant:
Address: 190 Strand, 5 Arundel St, London WC2R 3DX