Bincho Yakitori – Soho, London

My experience at Bincho Yakitori was underwhelming. It didn’t help that there was a dog at the table next to us, not by itself obviously, but its owner did little to keep him close so it may as well have been. I did my best to ignore it (if it isn’t clear, I’m not an animal person) but couldn’t when it sneakily crept up on my leg.

It’s a “sharing” type restaurant, and the menu consists mostly of skewers of chicken, meat, fish and vegetables, a few rice dishes, salads and sides. With our waitress’ advice we chose three skewers (chicken with sweet peppers, sea bream and beef), rice with chicken and egg and a salmon and avocado salad (between two). She did say waiting times are short so start with that and order more later on, but whilst we were engrossed in the menus, still very much deciding, she disappeared! Very strange.

The beef was terribly fatty. In the same way that a skewer often alternates between a cube of meat and a vegetable, this skewer alternated between beef and fat. I found it quite cumbersome to have to remove it. The sea bream was very good. The chicken was marinated in a flavoursome sauce but the peppers weren’t sweet and were a bit shrivelled and burnt.

The rice dish was OK but fairly stodgy and again cumbersome when I encountered a bone in the chicken!

Luckily, the salmon and avocado salad was superb, mainly because of the spicy lemon dressing. I also enjoyed a delightful cocktail of Japanese plum wine and strawberry purée.

We then shared mini soy milk doughnuts sprinkled with green tea sugar and a scoop of apple sorbet. I loved the sorbet, the doughnuts were good except where the sugar had landed; it not only looked like mould but tasted not too dissimilar.

You won’t be surprised to hear that I don’t recommend Bincho. We paid £27 each so it isn’t extortionate but with an abundance of better options close by, go elsewhere.

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