This small, casual yakitori joint may just be the best restaurant in town
Bincho Yakitori, Brighton Review
Bincho Yakitori recently opened on Preston Street – traditionally the home of tourist filled, mediocre restaurants and has been causing a stir ever since.
Bincho is an Izakaya, which is as close to a pub as you’ll find in Japan and has 22 seats as well an eight seater bar overlooking the open fire in the kitchen. Having spent most evenings in Izakayas during my trip to Japan a few years ago and loving them, I was full of hope that Bincho would live up the gushing reviews I’d seen floating around the internet.
Bincho’s story started when English chef and owner David Miney moved to Tokyo and found himself spending his spare time in Izakayas and decided to bring the concept home and open a place in London. After a couple of failed attempts despite plenty of praise, Bincho now finds itself in Brighton as somewhat of a last chance saloon.
All dishes are deliberately simple and designed for sharing so just relax and order what you like, when you like. The food menu, like the drinks list is updated regularly and you can expect to find cold premium Japanese beers, a few craft beers (of course), reasonably priced Sake, Whiskey, wine and the occasional cocktail.
We arrived at 8 on a Saturday evening and chose a table nearest the kitchen. Bincho is nice and dark and has a popup feel to it, which reminded me of Smoking Goat in Soho. Our waitress was as friendly and polite as only the Japanese can be and we got down to ordering some drinks while we got to grips with the menu.
My entry level Ozeki Sake (£5 for 150ml) was lovely and smooth, the girls had a fruity Takara Umeshu (£4.90) plum wine each and James plumped for the fantastic £7.50 Hitachino Nest Nipponia craft beer on the specials board.
The menu reminded of the Little Blue Smokehouse menu at The Seven Stars in so far as I wanted to order EVERYTHING!
The biggest of the menu is unsurprisingly, Yakitori – charcoal grilled skewers (2 per order). There were plenty of classic variations I expected to see like Chicken & Spring Onion (£3.20) but also a few more unusual ones like Quail Egg & Bacon (£2.80).
We settled on Chicken Skin (£3.20), Pork Belly (£3.20), Salmon (£3) and Shiitake Mushroom (£2.80) – all of which blew my mind!
The chicken skin was intense and super crispy, the salmon was cooked to perfection with a slight charring on the outside whilst remaining succulent and moist on the inside and the pork belly had great depth and melted in the mouth. The mushrooms were also expertly cooked with a mix of BBQ and yakitori flavours.
The Edamame (£2.80) were the freshest I’ve had in Brighton and had a nice amount of salt over the top and the two salads we ordered – Beef Tomato (£3.50) with bonito flakes and ponzu and Green Salad (£4.50) with tamari and lotus crisps both had fantastic dressings and a good mix of textures.
The Charred Sweet Potato (£4) was served ready for its soft, smoky flesh to be scooped out from the charred skin and we also had some lovely charred Sweetcorn with miso butter (£4).
The Kara-age (£4.50) was generously portioned and once again, perfectly cooked with a crisp, flavoured outer batter and tender, moist chicken inside and the Korean Chicken Wings (£4.50) were also a class act and comfortably rival the ones I had at Little Blue Smokehouse recently.
Needless to say, we were all more than impressed with Bincho Yakitori! So much so that none of us could find fault, apart from Antonia’s chair being ‘slightly uncomfortable’…
Bincho Yakitori seems to have filled a gap in Brighton’s food scene that I didn’t realise was there. The pricing is more than reasonable, the service is authentically Japanese and the quality of the food puts Bincho above pretty much any other restaurant in Brighton.
We had no trouble booking for a Saturday night but I can’t imagine that being the case in a couple of months time. Part of me doesn’t want Bincho to become so popular that I can’t get back in but David and his team deserve all the success that is inevitably flooding their way.
Believe the hype.
|Pork Belly Yakitori||£3.20|
|Shiitake Mushroom Yakitori||£2.80|
|Chicken Skin Yakitori||£3.20|
|Beef Tomato Salad||£3.50|
|Charred Sweet Potato||£4.00|
|Koren Chicken Wings||£4.50|
|Wihte Chocolate & Green Tea Finger x 2||£4.25 each|
|Green Tea Ice Cream||£3.00|
|Yoghurt Ice Cream||£3.00|
63 Preston Street,
Brighton BN1 2HE