Uni 22

18a Ebury Street , London, SW1W 0LU

1 reviews

50 Japanese Belgravia

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SquareMeal Review of Uni

Sit at the big square marble bar upstairs for a glimpse of the kitchen and banter with the barmen, or go downstairs where there are banquettes and alcoves if you want a bit more privacy; either way, the food and drink will be the same. Expect glamorous cocktails and a fairly hefty wine list to go with a selection of beautifully presented, seriously toothsome Japanese/Peruvian fusion food with plenty of tingle and zing. King crab tacos, set off with lime, chilli and miso is only bettered by the delicate salmon version embellished with cucumber, tomato and mango. There’s also a good selection of tiraditos, sushi and sashimi, including the eponymous uni (sea urchin), some cracking tempura and a roster of robata grills (baby lamb cutlets with miso anticucho, steamed broccoli and cancha corn, say). One warning: although prices look reasonably gentle, portions are morsel-sized, and as the plates multiply, so does the bill.

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7.0

Food & Drink: 9.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Bob B. bronze reviewer 01 April 2014

UNI is impossible to track down online. It would be easier to connect with Robert Mugabe on LinkedIn than decide whether UNI’s menu pleases you. All its funds were blown on its interior architecture and bonsai arboretum, with not a penny left over for promotional purposes. Luckily, C and I live around the corner so we couldn't help but notice this newly opened restaurant, otherwise it would have passed us by. Its most notable feature was that there was never anybody there. Leaflets and residents’ magazines are force fed through our letterbox like grains of corn down a French duck’s throat, yet it appeared in none. I had frequented establishments that were clearly anxious of the wrong type of person walking through the door, but never had I come across a restaurant with a fear of social interaction; UNI clearly suffers a strong form of avoidant personality disorder. Reluctantly, as the days ticked by, it seemed that people started to trickle into the restaurant. Some nights there were as many as three people there. When C and I went, there was astonishingly, around fifteen people dining, albeit downstairs. Maybe UNI is more comfortable when the imposers are kept in the subterranean lair, or maybe his Belgravia based therapist is starting to justify her extortionate fees. “Can we sit at the bar?” “No, you can go downstairs. We have a nice table for you next to the spring-loaded kitchen door.” We were cramped yet it was half full. We shifted inland from the table on the periphery. A couple on a date were lucky enough to be given the spot we had vacated. I couldn't help but feel for them as the Spanish waiters constantly brushed past. The nice Lady’s hair fell out of place as that wretched door continued to swing. UNI is half Japanese, half South American. His chef’s are Japanese and his waiters are from anywhere that has Spanish as a first language. I could only assume that UNI is Sushi Samba’s unsociable and mildly autistic, younger brother. Our Spanish waiter was easy on the eye, but he hadn't been on a PowerPoint course. He was like an inept presenter, reading every bullet point of the slide word for word. I was tired when I arrived, and wasn’t reinvigorated by his rendition of the menu I had read just moments earlier. “Would you like a cocktail, or some wine?” “Please could we start with a jug of tap water?” “Oh.” His distaste for our thirst and economy was palpable. The selection of maki came. It was very good. So too, were the salmon tacos. As soon as we had taken the last roll off the plate it was whipped from the table, and the next arrived before we’d even finished masticating. Masticating. I don’t like being rushed, but I won’t pull them up on that. The Bello poured wine for the Spanish couple next to us, simultaneously pressing his firm buttocks into my flank. I would have enjoyed it if I was on my hen night. The bill came and it was expensive, but what do you expect when you sit down for sushi in Belgravia? One can speak of the food highly, but next time I’ll be sitting at the bar upstairs. I like my space when I eat, and I like a calm atmosphere. Maybe UNI and I aren’t so different after all.

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