"Each dish is a work of art, but prices are sky high"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
When this Mayfair mews restaurant opened in 2005 it was the only London eatery specialising in food from Kyoto. Since the arrival of new chef Yoshinori Ishii in 2009 (previously of Japan’s three Michelin-starred Kyoto Kitcho) there’s been a bit more of a European influence, evidenced in dishes like foie gras custard with brown crab and Berkshire pork belly.
An exquisite tuna tartar salad is complemented by slithers of sweet nashi pear with pine and cashew nuts and a vinegary shiso dressing. A seared scallop is meaty, exquisite with the unusual pairing of apple compote. The tuna sashimi, both wafer-thin and thickly sliced is bright red, evidence of freshness; the taste is so good it’s almost a shame to dip the fish into either the citrusy ponzu or soy sauce.
The clear miso soup with shiitake mushrooms serves as an ideal palate cleanser before the wagyu beef arrives sizzling on a wedge of slate. The meat equivalent of velvet, it’s sweet, nutty and divine. The black cod is equally impressive, flaky, fleshy fish I can’t get enough of.
Dessert is a cake-like green tea tiramisu, spongy and light.
Umu means “to create” in Japanese, which is fitting given that each dish is a work of art. In fact, Umu misses out on getting top marks purely because of the sky high prices, as a meal for two can easily surpass the £200 mark. The eight course kaiseki tasting menu priced at £100 a head is a good option for trying as many dishes as possible.
Leila reviewed Umu on Mon 27 Feb 2012