• Roxii Hoare-Smith

Yumi Izakaya Shaftesbury Avenue Review

It’s less than a month now until our trip to Asia where we will be stopping by Tokyo.

So before we go we thought we would sample some traditional cuisine.

We tried out Yumi Izakaya which has just opened on Shaftesbury Avenue close to Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus and Soho – a fantastic central location.

Yumi Izakaya is a small place with a big vibes and flavours! It has traditional Japanese decor and a warm, friendly atmosphere. We decided to sit by the window so we could people watch on a bustling Saturday afternoon and also make the most of the gorgeous lighting which streamed through the glass front of the restaurant.

The new venue is an informal bar for drinks and small bites to eat, it is inspired by izakayas of Japan.

We hadn’t tried anything on the menu before we let the staff at Yumi do the choosing for us and not a single dish disappointed.

We had Edamame beans (£4) to start before the main stars of the show arrived.

Japanese food isn’t just sushi and ramen, we were excited to try some new dishes and flavours which we hadn’t experienced before. I was determined to eat my whole meal with chopsticks as I’m still not very good at using them. But the food just smelt too good and after two bites I used a knife and fork due to ease and so I could devour this delicious meal quicker.

We demolished plates of Chilli fried cauliflower (£6) (which you could easily mistake for chilli chicken, as it was so flavoursome and very ‘meaty’ with a gorgeous chilli kick) as well as delicate Pork and ginger dumplings (£6).

We also tried Okonomiyaka Osaka Style (£8) which is a thick Japanese pancake with cabbage, eggs, pancetta and Okonomiyaki sauce. This comes with shavings of dried, smoked fish which moves or ‘dances’, this is due to the heat of the dish. We were very impressed and so were many of my Snapchat friends when I posted the video!

The pancake is a sort of love or hate dish and we absolutely loved it! It is unlike any other dish I’ve had before but so tasty, I hope to eat lots of this in Tokyo.

We also had a few chicken skewers (£2.25 per skewer) which was cooked on the open grill fire in the restaurant. We tried the Breast (tare & lemon), Thigh (tare & spring onions), Wings (seat salt & shichimi) and Meatball. The meatball comes with a raw egg yolk which you mix and then use as a dipping sauce which was surprisingly so tasty!

If we had to pick a favourite it would be the sweetcorn fritters. These were absolutely incredible and highlight of the entire meal. Crunchy with a delicate dusting of chilli for that mild fiery kick.

Yumi has a huge selection of sake which we didn’t try on this occasion but will have to come back to have before our trip. Instead we sipped on not so traditional espresso martini and bramble cocktails which were delicious.

I cannot fault anything from our experience from the service to the food. Everything was packed full of flavour and so delicious. I would definitely return with friends for a light snack and a couple of sakes!

We felt so comfortable during our visit and had such a chilled out relaxed lunch. I could have stayed there all afternoon if we didn’t have a train to catch!

Yumi Izakaya now serves a bottomless brunch menu! View the menu here.

Yumi Izakaya

67 Shaftesbury Ave



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