Recommended to: Non vegetarians. Grill aficionados. Connoisseur of Japanese food and drink. Large groups of people who want to a ‘social’ meal to share. People who like sampling new dishes.
Not your regular noodle bar…
I’ve been making the effort to develop upon my love for Japanese food over the last few years and Soho’s Bincho Yakinori is definitely one of the best places I’ve tried. I got an invite to go with a group of people (most of them whom I hadn’t met before) and had a glorious gastronomic experience in which I discovered what is now possibly my favourite spirit, Shōchū (焼酎), and more on that later…
Bincho takes it’s name from Binchō-tan – a type of charcoal prized by Japanese grill chefs for it’s clean, slow burning properties. And in light of the type of food that is served here, the name kinda makes sense.
The restaurant is inspired by a type of Japanese bar called an ‘izakaya’, which instead of serving large sit down meals, opts for lots of smaller dishes made up of grilled skewers of seafood, meat and vegetables.
This makes Bincho a great place to go with friends and to share a large meal made up of lots of smaller courses. In a way could be seen as a meat & fish centric, Japanese version of Tapas. For me this was just perfect as I’m a fan of eating anything that used to be alive (and I guess it sounds bad when I put it that way…)
Bincho’s atmosphere is great, with a lot of thought going into what seems like clean and minimalist design, just as the Japanese would have it. You can also see the chefs at work through a clear screen, which I think is another ‘authentic’ feature.
Food prices are pretty reasonable here, but there’s a caveat, there’s normally ‘minimum order’ of two skewers, and so you can find that costs can spiral a little with a large party, which is just something to bear in mind…
Selections & Recommendations
Recommendations? Try the ‘Unagi‘ (eel) for a memorable texture and rich taste, the ‘Eringi V’ (king oyster mushroom) for another memorable texture and a more subtle taste. Also consider a ‘Seven Samurai‘ – which lets you taste a wide range of Bincho’s skewered offerings, including tiger prawns, shiitake mushrooms and pork belly. There’s crazy amounts of choice on the menu, so if you like to try new things – this is a good one for you.
Since we shared a large platter between the group, along with a bottle of delicious Sake and some spirits later, I got to try a lot of the menu (and the drinks!) This is another cool thing about the style of eating Bincho offers, you get a lot of very different tasting stuff all in one go, which makes it quite exciting for the mouth.
And I can’t forget the booze, can I?
So, if you like booze, you gotta check out the Bincho drinks menu, it is extensive! Try a Shōchū if you haven’t already. It’s like whiskey but super mild and completely without afterburn. Certainly one of the smoothest things I’ve drunk, possibly too smooth and too easy to drink, considering how strong it can be (ABV 25%ish). So maybe try to have it after filling your belly with the food. *falls off chair*
Eat well, split the bill and remember to share!
16 Old Compton St, London, Greater London W1D 4TL
020 7287 9111