Junsei, Seymour Place

The blurb

Tucked away at the top of Marylebone’s infamous Seymour Place, you could miss Junsei if you weren’t quick enough. The restaurant’s understated exterior makes the clean, eastern vibe inside all the more satisfying. Hailed for its signature Japanese Yakitori (meaning “grilled bird”), you’ll find every part of the copiously-marinated organic Suffolk chicken cooked to perfection over Binchōtan charcoal; made from Japanese oak and considered the purest charcoal in the world, no less.

We sat at the counter with a full view of the kitchen, unaware of the gustatory delights and technique we were about to witness. With a moreish Ronin Schoch cocktail in hand (think a zingy martini with grilled lime and mint), we waited for our omakase to begin. Omakase, meaning “I’ll leave it up to you” is Junsei’s chef’s choice menu, which aptly showcases the talents of Chef Patron Aman Lakhiani. Lakhiani honed his craft of Japanese cooking during in-depth training at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Sushi Academy and at his time in Barcelona-based Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant, Dos Palillos, so it’s safe to say I was more than happy to be leaving this culinary experience in his skilled hands.

The Food

Amouse bouche was charred cherry tomato and chilli miso, followed by six chicken skewers; momo (chicken thigh with tare), tebasaki (chicken wing), chicken oyster, shiso maki (breast with shiso leaf and house-made ‘ume’ plum paste), sasami (chicken tender with wasabi), and tsukune (chicken meatball with egg yolk and tare). Each skewer had its own abundance of flavour, each with its own texture and finish. But one thing they all had in common was how precision-cooked they were; not pink, not overdone, just at that point where chicken (in any form) should be. The star of the show had to be the thigh, generously coated in the house tare (marinade), so delicate in bite and so gastronomically plentiful in taste, my husband and I were blown away. We also tried the hatsu (chicken heart), which was nostalgic of my days on holiday in Tehran, eating skewered lamb liver with my cousins in the city’s bustling streets. That same satisfying initial bite through to a soft and tender centre – while some might think it an acquired taste, I would challenge the assumption and suggest that if you’re going to try chicken heart, try it at Junsei; you won’t regret it.

We had Akitabare Spring Snow sake to accompany the omakase, which was light, refreshing and beautifully balanced. It worked particularly well with the first and second courses; Hamachi (yellowtail) tartare with ponzu and a spicy shiso condiment (even more delectable than it sounds), and a stunning braised oxtail with a rich and moreish XO black garlic sauce, respectively. 

I loved our palate cleanser – a red grape and yuzu granita; it was refreshing, super ‘grapey’ and satisfyingly tantalising in the mouth. We finished our dining experience with kurumitsu (Japanese brown sugar) ice cream with grilled grapes and puffed rice (a gratifyingly yummy finale), followed by a Japanese plum liquor (umushu) with soda. 

In A Nutshell

Dining at Junsei is a treat for the senses; the space, ambience and the counter dining are all part and parcel of an experience that starts from the moment you enter. The omakase is an absolute must, and the cocktails and sake complement the culinary selection to no end. The menu is an incredible discovery of the art of Japanese cooking, and chef Aman Lakhiani’s take on this will leave you talking about the menu for days after you’ve tried it.

The Details

Omakase menu starts from £60 per person

To book, visit; Junsei, 132 Seymour Place, London W1H 1NS

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