Junsei

Japanese·
££££
·

SquareMeal Review of Junsei

Chicken naysayers need not apply, at Junsei poultry is king (or is it queen?) and celebrated in its entirety, gizzards and all.

The best seats in the house are at the counter where you can watch chef Aman Lakhiani work the grill, cooking yakitori skewers with precision over live coals using a palm fan to get the temperature just right. The theatre of watching your meal make its way to you via the barbecue ensures you’re building up an appetite without any exertion - ideal really.

House-made pickles kick things off with a subtle freshness while barbecued, butterflied wings and soft, salty and succulent with crunchy coal-blackened skin and tiny bones that satisfyingly slip right out after instructions from the friendly team on how to handle them. There are little bowls of rice topped with crisp-skinned fish and lip puckering dots of wasabi as well as okra skewers covered in dancing petals of umami-rich bonito flakes.

With the Omakase menu (where you give full control to the chef), the skewers keep coming, with each one presented beautifully as a little work of art. They’re simple and pared back, almost taking Japanese minimalism to the extreme with their clean flavours. A piece of loin, for instance, doesn’t offer up much more than a mild chicken flavour, although if you’re of such an ilk, you can tuck into all kinds of offal too, which presumably would bring with it richer flavour profiles.

The knowledgeable team will happily talk you through the sake options if you want to go all in on your Japanese experience, but let us just tell you that the plum sours are really very good. Frothy and the perfect hit of sweet and sharp. 

The interiors are all light wood and handmade, Japanese ceramics that go some way to creating a calming atmosphere, while the bathrooms are keen to let you know you’re in Marylebone – gold taps only look at home in certain London postcodes.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Japanese
Ambience
Cool, Quiet conversation, Traditional
Food Occasions
Dinner
Special Features
Chef’s table, Vegetarian options
People
Dates
Food Hygiene Rating

About Junsei

Found in Marylebone, Junsei is a specialist Yakitori restaurant and the first venture from chef Aman Lakhiani.

The dining room at Junsei is a simple, pared-back space consisting of light oak flooring and grey leather chairs, while brass finishes and Japanese artwork which adorns the walls adds some warmth. For those looking to get a little closer to the action, there is a chef’s table with room for five diners - perfect for solo dining or small groups - which overlooks the kitchen’s open grill.

If you are wondering about the name, Junsei roughly translates from Japanese as ‘pure’, which is a nod to the restaurant’s cooking process: all skewers are grilled over Binchotan (a white charcoal using Japanese oak) which is considered to be among the most pure charcoal in the world. Naturally, the menu largely focuses on yakitori skewers, with more than 20 varieties available to choose from, as well as a number of vegetarian options. On your visit, choose between the likes of shiso breast with ume, heart, crispy skin, tsukune and neck.

If you are after something a little more substantial, Junsei’s menu also offers sharing plates such as premium A4 wagyu beef, seared at the table using the Binchotan charcoal, or clay pot rice dishes topped with the likes of red mullet and seasonal vegetables. To round things off, take your pick from a selection of Japanese-inspired desserts, including strawberry mochi balls and a smoked birch creme brulee.

If you want to throw caution to the wind, there is also the option to plump for the omakase menu, which sees the chef’s decide what you are going to eat for you. You will be presented with eight different skewers to try, as well as sides, and can also choose to pair your meal with a drinks flight of wine, sake or tea.


FAQs

Does Junsei offer vegetarian options?

Yes, there are a handful of vegetarian options available and dietary requirements are carefully handled. On our visit a vegan diner was given an entire tasting menu made of plant-based ingredients.

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Can you book Junsei?

Yes, booking in advance is recommended but walk-ins are also welcome.

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Does Junsei have a chef's table?

Yes, the chef's table overlooks the grill in the kitchen and seats five diners.

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Location for Junsei

132 Seymour Place, Marylebone, London, W1H 1NS

020 7723 4058

Website

Opening Times

Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 17:00-22:00
Wed 17:00-22:00
Thu 17:00-22:00
Fri 17:00-22:00
Sat 17:00-22:00
Sun 17:00-22:00

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