While in London, I got a chance to meet up with my friend, J, who I can always count on to find a great restaurant to eat at.
This time, he picked Umu, an uppity Japanese restaurant serving Kyoto influenced dishes. They are known for their traditional Kaiseki tasting menus, but at 100£ a person, we decided to order off the a la carte menu instead.
Our meal started with an aji (Japanese jack mackerel) and mushroom amuse bouche. This set the mood for the night, and right away, we knew that we were in for an evening of delicate textures and complex yet subtle tastes.
Aji and Mushroom Amuse Bouche
After the amuse bouche came our first dish, lightly seared scallop with grated apple and cucumber. The scallop was wonderfully cooked and the apple and cucumber were nice compliments that did not overpower the dish.
Lightly Seared Scallop with Grated Apple and Cucumber
Our ice-smoked salmon arrived in this beautiful clear dish with a lid on it. As soon as you opened the lid, the dish started smoking causing us to oooh and ahhhh at the sight. The salmon was lightly smoked and very delicate tasting. It was served with grated radish, and fun little salmon roe that we ate one by one to feel the roe juice pop inside our mouths.
Next was the langoustine with amber tomato jelly, egg yolk vinegar, caviar and fresh figs. This was a really nice dish. I loved how all the elements in this dish came together with not one ingredient being the dominant one.
Langoustine with Amber Tomato Jelly and Caviar
I'm a tofu lover so I had to order the homemade tofu with ginger and spring onion. J didn't want to order this at all but to his surprise, he loved it. The tofu was extremely delicate and eating it with some light soy sauce, ginger, and spring onion was a great combination.
Homemade Tofu with Ginger and Spring Onion
We also ordered the Omakase Chef's special selection of classic sashimi. This was a platter full of perfectly cut sashimi that included aged halibut, mackerel and salmon.
Omakase Chef's Special Selection of Classic Sashimi
Our last dish was a small selection from their sushi menu. We chose the saba (mackerel), eel with garlic and parsley twist, Toro (tuna) shishito, and prawn mango served in a harumaki cup. Out of the ones we chose, my favorite was the toro shishito. I loved how delicate the tuna was and the shishito pepper went great with the tuna.
So now for the big reflection...was the food at Umu spectacular and was it worth the price? I would say that it was one of the best sushi meals I have ever had and that these guys really know what they are doing. BUT, in saying that, J and I almost had a heart attack when we saw our final bill. With food and drinks, our bill came to 300£!! I couldn't believe it when I first saw it and I still can't believe we paid that much. I'm not so sure the food was worth that price but I keep telling myself I need to move on :)
I laughed when I saw a review saying that it would have been cheaper to fly to Kyoto for a meal. That's exactly how I felt.
14-16 Bruton Place
Mayfair, London, UK
Telephone: 020 7499 8881