14-16 Bruton Place, LONDON, W1J 6LX
The exterior is anonymous and discreet, with entry gained by pressing the buzzer of the sliding door. Once inside, a greeting is called out in the best tradition of Japanese hospitality, the wood-toned interiors imitating an upmarket Kyoto kaiseki place, with multi-ethnic waiting staff swishing slickly about the dimly-lit space. Chef Yoshinori Ishii has a pedigree at the top end of this style of modern Japanese cooking and no stone is left unturned in the search for super-fresh materials - the ingredients come from all over the world, but Britain's prime produce has a good showing. Naturally, a smart Mayfair address such as Umu is unlikely to lack for Japanese business custom, so the food is not cheap, but it is seriously good. Bento-box lunches remove the need to agonise over the extensive main menu, and the kaiseki set menu is a good way to go if you're on unfamiliar territory, as long as the whole table is game for it. Its many courses include the likes of mukouzuke (sake-steamed Normandy red clam, scallops, Japanese cucumber, plum sake sauce and a sea water shot) and yakimono (chargrilled rabbit loin and a croquette of diced leg meat supported by morel purée and wasabi watercress oroshi). The carte is a cornucopia of sea-fresh fish and seafood and gold-standard meats, perhaps smoked Irish wild eel with plum shiso sauce, or chargrilled wagyu beef with vegetables and sesame ponzu sauce. At the end, there may be a Japanese take on tiramisù incorporating matcha green tea, sparkling sake and raspberry. There are no fewer than 160 sakes to choose from or, if none of those suit, 800 or so pedigree wines.
Tel: 020 7499 8881
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Days closed: Sun
Dates closed: Xmas, New Year, BHs
Days closed for lunch: Sat
Cooking type: Japanese
Chef: Yoshinori Ishii
Number of seats: 64
Accessible for wheelchairs.
A La Carte Dinner Main Course from: £28.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.