Yen, The Strand

Yen is a Japanese restaurant specialising in handmade buckwheat noodles called Soba – something I’ve never had before. They own a successful restaurant in Paris already and this is their first flurry away from home.

The dining room is impressively sized with a ceiling taller than most churches. There’s an open kitchen and sushi counter, tables are generously spaced and there’s a calm vibe about the place.

We start with hand made tofu (£6) which is the only thing I really don’t like. I genuinely don’t think it’s made badly, but its creamy, slimy texture is something I’ll never get on with.

The rest, however, is fab. Marinated salmon with cress (£14) comes with little discs of crisp salmon skin. Crispy fish skin is the only reason I love seafood to be honest.

Courgette flower tempura (£10) sees batter lighter than anything I’ve had before. So delicate and crisp yet not at all greasy. Chargrilled black cod (£29) is marinated in Saikyo Miso which is sweet and sticky and absolutely bloody lovely.

Then comes the soba. We first get a basket of them cold (£10.50) which is the traditional way of eating soba. “Cold noodles?!” I hear your scream. But trust me, they’re super tasty. It’s all about texture, they’re in that middle ground between firm and squidgy. Really moreish.

Then we get them hot, with scallops and seaweed, in a hot broth called Hanamaki (£15). These taste even better. The broth is salty and comforting. It feels restorative. Even though I feel full I keep drinking this stuff till I finish the lot. The scallops have been blowtorched which gives them an amazing texture.

We move onto sushi; tuna and scallion roll (£10.50), salmon nigiri (£6) and tuna nigiri (£7.30). It’s really good sushi. Faultless. But I’d recommend getting more soba. Just keep ordering soba till you can’t eat soba anymore. It’s that good.

An impressive space, friendly and charming service and the best (okay, first) soba I’ve ever eaten. Order the courgette flower tempura, see if you like homemade tofu and fall in love with the scallop broth. You’ll leave as happy as I did.

Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant