Umu

Gold Award
11 Reviews
££££
Japanese, Sushi

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SquareMeal Review of Umu

Gold Award

The feel-good factor kicks in the moment guests touch the discreet door button, revealing this Kyoto-style kaiseki enclave in all its Zen-like purity – although you may be distracted by the smiley keen-as-mustard staff shouting their words of greeting. Two-Michelin-starred Umu is strictly old-school and chef Yoshinori Ishii’s attention to detail is legendary – whether he’s teaching his Cornish fishermen the Japanese ways, organising supplies of organic wasabi or fashioning handcrafted tableware for the restaurant. He’s responsible for every aspect of the food and leaves himself no room for error. Not surprisingly, the results are extraordinary: featherlight kombu-cured mullet with chrysanthemum and sudachi; gloriously limpid ‘nimonowan’ soup delicately garnished with autumn ‘leaves’ made from chanterelles and carrots; omakase fish platters with an astonishing variety of textures and flavours. Make it through to dessert for a construct of fig, sesame, chocolate and sesame that appears to defy the laws of physics, before coffee with hybrid Euro-Japanese petits fours. Wines are worthy of the food, but adventurous cocktails and saké seem more appropriate. Dining at Umu is an unforgettable experience, and (for those picking up the tab) so is the bill.

Good to know about Umu

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
Japanese, Sushi
Ambience
Glamorous
Other Awards
Two michelin stars
Special Features
Counter dining
People
Special occasions

Umu Also Offers

Umu
Private Group Dining

Location for Umu

14-16 Bruton Place, London, W1J 6LX

020 7499 8881

Website

Opening Times of Umu

Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 6-11pm

Reviews of Umu

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11 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Ms/Mrs. Elizabeth B

Terrible
21 October 2018
No idea how they have two Michelin stars. So terrible - they had no lobster and couldn’t explain the very confusing menu. The appetisers were bland and we ordered champagne that never arrived. We left after the appetisers as were so un inspired.
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Ms/Mrs. Amy M

06 May 2014
As I have a personal loathing for all things Nobu, I was looking forward to the good things that I have heard about Umu. Considering we were in attendance on a Friday night, it was eerily quite (despite being only able to book at 2115) and it emptied out even more quickly, which kind of spoilt the ambience somewhat. The food is good, delivered at a nice pace and beautifully presented, but I would say it's not as tasty as Zuma and doesn't come close to Aqua Kyoto. With one bottle of sake and a brandy the £350 for the two of us seemed a lot. The service is lovely, but there is nothing that makes me want to run back with friends or lovers. Back to Zuma it is.
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Ms/Mrs. Katie O

My favourite restaurant
22 February 2013
My boyfriend took me here for my birthday as he knows I love any type of asian restaurant, this however was something else. We got out of the cab in Mayfair Square, he walked me down this dark back street. I asked if he was sure he had the right street as nothing appeared to be at the end. Then he pressed a little button on the wall that said Umu and it was like the gateway to the East opened up. I loved the theatre of it. The service was spectacular from start to finish, we were treated impeccably, food arrived promptly along with wine. Now I have to admit the prices are astronomical, hence the reason we cannot return every Saturday, but (even if I had been paying myself) it was completely worth it for the amazing culinary experience. We enjoyed some beautifully delicate sushi picked from the menu and also asked the chef to surprise us with a couple of creations. I cannot remember the name of what he gave us but I do remember that it was the best sushi I have ever eaten. The waggu beef served to cook at the table on hot stones was superb, the black cod and lobster I can only describe as indescribable. I normally dont expect much in terms of desserts at asian restaurants but I was wowed with a refreshing green tea cake with sorbet. I cannot wait to go back… after saving up a bit
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Ms/Mrs. Jamal R

04 February 2013
Umu was a very pleasant atmosphere with dim lighting and reflective surfaces and mirrors everywhere. Service was excellent on a saturday evening. I found the food to be good overall. If i were to return, I would order the following: tuna tartare salad at £20, smallest steak £40 and a piece or two of the toro sushi. On this first trip to Umu, we ordered a variety of dishes including grilled eel (honestly not great 5/10 in taste), sashimi platter which was good compared to other restaurants – tuna, salmon and mackeral were the best of the lot) and a couple of other dishes including excellent wagyu steak and grilled lobster in a sauce – £40 for most main dishes. Wagyu steak and toro sushi were worth the trip to this restaurant!! Two people dinner + 1 bottle of wine £45 came to £300 including 1 starter, 1 vegetable, smaller sashimi platter, 3 mains, 2 pieces of toro sushi and 1 dessert. All dishes are pretty small in size.
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Ms/Mrs. Sandra E

27 September 2012
Simply fabulous!
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Mr. Francois L

02 December 2011
I had diner again at Umu, and it confirmed my opinion: very average. Nice setup, extensive sake list, but sushis are so so. The traditional ones are ok, but not fantastic. The modern ones are disappointing. In particular, never order fois gras sushis or aburis, they arrive cold on your dish (even if at sushi bar). Starters are fine, but nothing fantastic. Main courses vary in quality. When I mentioned to the manager that I thought the diner tonight was so so, he asked whether it was because I had to pay the bill !! Poor guy… I have been to places in Japan where the bill was a multiple of Umu's, and the food was much better. I also have been to places in London for a fraction of Umu's, and the food was also much better. Honestly, I think Kiku next door is less posh, but a much better food quality.
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Ms/Mrs. Kirsty J

19 August 2010
Umu is a great restaurant – whether you sit in the main restaurant or at the sushi counter. We sat at the counter and it's always fascinating to see the sushi chefs at work. We had a selection of traditional and ‘modern’ pieces and they were all delicious. The service matches the excellent food.
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Mr. Richard E

04 August 2010
I really don't mind spending good money on top restaurants. I don't even mind the meal taking hours, but here the bill was stratospherically high and the pace at which the food arrived was more dead slug than live snail. When it did arrive, the food was gorgeous; the Kaseiki menu offers lots of small, beautifully prepared, beautifully presentated and subtle tasting morsels. The trouble is, you need a hamburger between each course to stave off the hunger pangs, and could easily have time to go and get one from the nearest Burger King, which is, I am reliably informed, in Barnes. Matching with wine too was a mistake – it seemed like such a good idea at the time; lots of different wines and sake to go with the different flavours to which they are perfectly suited. The trouble is, the wine for the next course came immediately after the previous course had been cleared away, so you either sat there thirsty as well as hungry, or drank it in the interminable wait and then had nothing to complement the food. Yes, we could have come on an off night, but at these prices you cannot afford to have an off few minutes, let alone a whole night. Unlike some places where the whole experience puts you off, the food was just so good (and the Calpis Martini so unlike it sounds as though it should be), I would go back. this time, I'd sit at the sushi counter though and order as I went along. That way I could make a swift exit if the food was not so swift in arriving.
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Ms/Mrs. joselyn K

21 August 2009
£500 for 3 people with reasonable wine?!! For that money we should have gone to Nobu. And what Japanese restaturants doesnt serve Maki? I will never return or recommend this place.
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Ms/Mrs. Elizabeth G

05 May 2009
Went there myself some time ago, the food was delicious and presented in a most beautiful way. The waiteress was exquisitely nice and polite, and took the time to properly explained every dish served. Sake is fantastic, best in London. After that, a group of my colleagues went for private dining there on three different occasions, and after each one have nothing but brilliant feedback. The restaurant actually make an effort to remember loyal clients, and they took care to offer them different food each time ("oh, we do remember that last time you liked this – try this one now" etc). One of the colleagues is highly allergic to seafood and fish – they made awesome vegetarian sushi for her, with no fish/seafood/seaweed which were absolutely divine. Overall, highly recommended!
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