I’m spending too much money on food recently; yesterday I had some vegetable bibimbap in a small Korean restaurant off Tottenham Court Road that’s becoming a regular. Still,
that meal cost the grand total of a fiver, plus the cost of a can of Kronenburg I bought from the offlicense/newsagent next door. Yosho, on the other hand, is a more expensive proposition. Still, having created the illusion of wealth by buying a nice new winter coat from Topman on friday, I was more than happy to give it a try with the partner in Japanese food crime Katie.
Things are good from the start- we went in, and were led downstairs to the living room-esque restaurant, where groups of gaijin and Nihonjin both sat eating all manner of tasty treats. The fact that the Japanese contigent was high is an encouranging sign- halfway through our meal a group of salarymen came in, and starting discussing baseball results in Japanese. And the food was excellent. We ordered gyoza– meat filled dumplings, raw sea bass sashimi in “ponzu” sauce, aubergine agedashi, and chicken and beer yakitori, accompanied by some gohan, Kirin Ichiban and Yebisu.The gyoza was good, and came with a pre-mixed dipping sauce. I’d have liked to have mixed this myself- normally you mix your own quantities of shoyu, white vinger and spicy oil- their sauce was a bit spicy and vinegar light for my tast. The sea bass in ponzu was great- ponzu is a wonderful sauce, and goes especially well with fish- as was the aubergine agedashi. However the best for me was definitely the yakitori– both the toriniki and the butabara were served “shio” style rather than with “tare”- that is, seasoned with salt rather than a sweet sticky sauce. The butabara was amazing, a taste I’d forgotten about and one which I’ve now started craving again- salty pork juicy goodness on a stick.
We’d heard bad things about the service at Yoisho, but our lady was very lovely. Its always a dilemma whether or not to speak Japanese in these places- is it pretentious, is it appropriate given that they speak English to us? Who knows. Certainly much of the menu wouldn’t make sense to me in English- “fermented sticky soy beans” are known to me only as natto– and tofu with grated ginger sauce as tofu agedashi. The Japanese tapas- or “Japas” style is really a mimicry of the Japanese izakaya– many small dishes rather than one large dish. Unfortunately it does mean the bill stacks up- a lot more so in England than in Japan. For a poor student the bill of £45 for two was slightly disturbing- though I imagine for the salarymen on the next table this was nothing. Either way, the food was great- easily the best Japanese restaurant I’ve been to in London so far.