There’s something very seductive about the almost ‘secret’ entrance to Umu: press the touchpad to open the space-age door, sweep through the curtain, and you’re immediately immersed in a world of top-class Kyoto-style Japanese cuisine. Inside, it looks sharp, with lots of burnished wood, vivid flower displays, a sushi counter and an open-to-view kitchen majoring on spectacularly fresh seafood. Sushi and sashimi are a must – perhaps wrasse (rock fish) from Cornwall, turbot, Californian sea urchin or even cured and seared red mullet? Elsewhere, wild Scottish lobster stars in a dish with shichimi pepper and miso bisque, and there’s 9th-Grade Wagyu beef grilled at the table – it’s all creative and beautifully crafted. The high-art intricacies of the kaiseki menu are a thrilling ride from start to finish, while desserts such as sticky toffee pudding with white miso ice cream are equally refined. The food is matched by the most exquisite saké selection in town. Just make sure someone else is paying.
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