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Jumping on an increasingly heavy bandwagon (Gyoza Bar, The Woodstock Kushiyaki, Akari et al), this small, casual Japanese-style pub serves up sporadically delicious, good value food within a fun drinking den. Associated with The Piccadilly West End Hotel next door, Yumi has a separate entrance and does a good job of feeling nothing like a hotel restaurant. A long entrance bar overlooks a flaming charcoal grill, while the rear dining room is tightly packed and wood-clad, a loud electro soundtrack drawing in a young Soho crowd. Competent cocktails cover the classics, Japanese beers include Kirin Ichiban on draught or pricey, bottled Hitachino, while the saké list also gets top billing (available by 100ml). Indeed, the focus here is on drinking, so the food comes hefty, sticky and sweet: wonderfully fragrant and crunchy corn fritters with chilli; fried cauliflower smothered in tangy yuzu and gochujang sauce; or larger dishes including a delicious Osaka-style okonomiyaki (thick Japanese pancake stuffed with cabbage and stacked with piles of pancetta, fish flakes and thick, sweet sauce). The gyoza we tried was unremarkable and the quality of the wings in a serving of Korean fried chicken could have been better, but fair pricing and a convivial, buzzy atmosphere make this a solid choice for a drink with a difference. Provided you’re prepared for a tight, close-quarters seat and order a sugary, lemon-packed drop of Fukuju yuzu saké to finish, you’ll get into the spirit here.
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25 May 2016
We stumbled on this little Japanese restaurant by chance and decided to check it out as we could see the bbq by the window and the place nice and busy. We were welcomed by a smiliy host and taken to the bar as the tables were all taken. This was great as we could see the chefs cooking and the atmosphere was fun.
We only came in for a drink and a small snack after the theatre but after having some of the sweet corn fritters and some grilled chicken we decided to have some more. They didnt have any sushi which we thought as odd but decieded to carry on.
We had some pork belly which was tender and rich with a fried egg, some braised egg plant in a sweet and sour sauce, some very spicy chicken (maybe too spicy for us), and a japanese cabbage pancake with bacon and lots of toppings, which i dont donw what they were, but tasted great.
The staff were helpful, friendly and attentive and even gave us a free shot of lemon Sake at the end of the meal
17 April 2016
I saw some tweets about this new izakaya, and thought it looked different. We headed here on a Saturday night and the place was very busy, we got a seat at the bar and ordered some beer.
Thr restaurant is cosy and the ambience was casual and fun, we ordered the edamame bean and kimchi to start with. Thebeans were sweet and salty and very moorish while the kimchi was spicy and crunchy, perfec with our cold beers.
We ordered lots of the bbq skewers, sweetcorn temura, porkbelly and the okonomiyaki.
The skewers were very authentic in size and taste each came with different toppings my favorite was the liver and the meatball, which comes with a raw egg yolk and soy sauce.
The sweetcorn tempura came a golf sized balls of sweet sweet corn and a spicey seasoning, they were crunchy and yummy.
The pork belly was very tender and came with a tempura egg which was different.
Saving the best till last, the okonomiyai. It was just how i remember it in japan, cabbage, bacon, mayo and fish flakes, i would come back here just for that.
This place is a greatnew addition to Shaftesbury Ave, will def be back.
05 April 2016
sweet corn tempura £4.50 – hugely tempted to order when I saw it served to the other tables. It came looking very promising – a big, round ball of tempura. It was not oily but the sweet corn itself was not particularly nice. It was not served with a sauce like with most tempura and had a rather generous sprinkle of salt, in fact it was way too salty.
Korean fried chicken £8.00 – a special dish for the night but was not very successful with a very not solid batter. I was never a big fan of the korean gochujang chilli paste and so, this did not appeal to me. The squeeze of lime juice was a good addition to the flavour and colour on the plate.
warm mushroom salad £6.00 – the best dish of the night. The lotus root was a very nice addition to the bowl but it was a little soggy so more of the same texture with the mushroom. The flavours were nice and gentle, warming and those shiitake were properly plump and fleshy.
braised aubergine £3.00 – the aubergine slices were a little too thin for an aubergine and that means that it was difficult to appreciate the meaty and voluminous texture of an aubergine. The sauce that it was drenched in had a nice flavour. Not too sweet, sour or spicy.
caramelised pork belly £15.00 – at that price, we expected a more complete plate of food with meat, vegetable and perhaps, carbohydrate. So lacking those other elements, the portion felt mean. Taste wise, I thought there was a floral scent to the dish but I cannot say what it was.
okonomiyaki £8.00 – this was very stodgy, floury and therefore seem like there was not enough cabbage. It was not pleasant at all. But thumbs up to the size of the dish.
thigh, chicken, heart, meatball, bacon, skin, liver, asparagus £2.25/skewer – the food on the skewers looked mean. Quite disappointing
GPS Coordinate : 51.5121934 N , -0.1340381 E
+44(0)02 7240 9329
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