Situated on Old Compton Street in the heart of Soho, Bincho is not the typical Japanese restaurant that most Londoners have come to expect. Bincho has tried very hard to replicate the atmosphere of a Japanese izakaya, a traditional establishment which serves both food and drink. They are typically very popular amongst workers as it offers a very casual, relaxed atmosphere and offers good quality simple food with enough alcohol for workers to forget their daily stresses. This Japanese tradition had proved a hit in Soho, helping to relieve the stresses of London’s office workers with some funky music and an ice cold Japanese beer or cocktail. However this is not to say that Bincho is exclusively for a particular crowd. Due to the stylish interior, great music, exciting cocktails and reasonable prices (especially the set menus) it is also popular destination amongst students who want to catch up over some delicious food.
Over the past decade sushi has taken the West End by storm becoming one of the most fashionable and desired of all cuisines. Yet you will not find any sushi on the menu of this particular Japanese restaurant. This is because Bincho specialises in the lesser known Japanese cuisine of Kushiyaki and Yakitori. This is the art of cooking various different meats, fish and vegetables on a charcoal grill served up on individual skewers. The menu consists of popular favourites such as Gyu (beef rib), Momo (chicken) and Sake (salmon) as well as some more exotic options such as Gyutan (beef tongue) and Sunazuri (chicken gizzard). To compliment these skewers the menu offers larger grilled options such as my personal favourite Sake Teriyaki which is a salmon steak glazed in a sweet soy sauce. No Japanese meal would be complete without a bowl of rice (the garlic butter rice is particularly delicious) and miso soup which are also available.
Overall I would highly recommend Bincho as a fun and funky place to eat and hangout with friends. The menu encourages sharing and so to experience as much of the menu as possible its a good idea to go as a group. As long as you supplement the delicious kushiyaki with plenty of rice it is actually a very affordable place to eat especially considering its location in the heart of Soho on the doorstep of various theatres and attractions. An important point to note is that Bincho is regularly very busy even during the week. Booking is advised especially if you wish to sit at the impressive charcoal grill and watch the chefs delicately flip the skewers to perfection.
16 Old Compton Street W1D 4TL