We Love London

Snuggled at the top of Seymour Street in Marylebone, Junsei is a Japanese restaurant with a difference. Specialising in the experience of yakitori - chicken skewers cooked over a grill - this debut restaurant from Chef Ama Lakhiani offers a genuine yakitori experience while focusing on nose to tail eating by using every part of the bird.

With their zero-waste concept, every part of the bird is used creatively in over 20 different skewer varieties, creating a fantastic dining experience you won’t find anywhere else. It’s a completely unique meal and one we enjoyed massively. While we were the only diners in the restaurant when we arrived for our early bird special (we’re getting to enjoy a 6pm dinner in our old age…), the place soon filled up and by the time we left it was buzzing and mostly with Japanese customers, which is always a sign that something’s being done right.

The menu isn’t exclusively yakitori; though that’s the main focus, there are some small plates too for a mix and match and donburi rice bowls if you’re after something more substantial. There is also the option for the ‘omakase’ menu, which leaves it up to the restaurant to choose for you, resulting in a seasonal selection from the Chef.

We plumped for the latter and couldn’t fail to be impressed with the fact that, despite our meal essentially being half a dozen chicken skewers, each one was a unique taste experience. The heart of the chicken was a presented in a rich skewered sausage, a full on flavour but lightened by accompanying daikon. We adored the chicken meatball soup, in a simple broth with herbs and spring onion, it oozed health with every mouthful and was a hearty winter warmer we’d certainly return for. The breast was delicately chargrilled and tasted of summer barbecues (rest in peace…), while the ‘Salami’ skewer of tenderloin came with a welcome kick courtesy of a dose of wasabi. Thing, neck, gizzard; all were delicious and the grilled courgette was another favourite - amazing how a vegetable with a fairly bland flavour can be transformed with a little grilling. It wasn’t all chicken, there was a surprise tuna maki onigiri rice bowl (unsurprisingly, also fantastic), but the piece de resistance was the final skewer of a giant chicken meatball with fresh egg yolk to be dipped in. Delicious. Finishing off with grilled figs and Japanese brown sugar ice cream, we were ready to pop.

Junsei is a buzzing little hotspot but relatively shrouded thanks to its location. Off the beaten track to an extent and away from the clutch of Marylebone’s main drag, it’s certainly worth making the effort for  a visit, you won’t regret it.

What’s more, they’ve also just launched a pretty exquisite looking Christmas special in the form of a Wagyu beef sandwich, a generous slab of richly marbled A4 Wagyu tri-tip beef, a succulent prime cut sourced from the coastal region of Kagoshimaa, tucked into lightly scorched Shokupan milk bread slices and served with pickled cabbage and a Tonkastu style plum chilli sauce. Available at Junsei for £35 until 24th December.


Posted Date
Dec 7, 2021 in We Love London by Laurel
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