With a futuristic sliding entrance door (set off by placing your hand on a sensor), a plush, dark interior and polished service, Umu is guaranteed to impress. The bill too is likely to leave a lasting impression, so it’s best to save this swanky venue for a special occasion unless you have an expense account. (There was no shortage of high-powered diners on our most recent visit.) On such a celebratory occasion, opt for the multi-course tasting menu (£115) and you’ll get to explore an elaborate range of Kyoto-style kaiseki cuisine, presented on attractive dishes.
The modern sushi doesn’t always make the grade, though, so stick to the classic version. Luxury ingredients abound on the à la carte: wild Scottish lobster tempura, wagyu beef tataki (grade 9) and Irish abalone steamed in saké. For a less bank-breaking taster of the menu, come at lunch for a set meal (such as a bento with grilled fish, meat or tempura, or somen noodles) – all served with soup, salad and a dessert. Our nigiri sushi selection (£38) was of the utmost quality. The ample wine and saké lists are worthy of exploration too.
14-16 Bruton Place
|Opening hours:||Lunch served noon-2.30pm Mon-Fri. Dinner served 6-11pm Mon-Sat|
|Transport:||Tube: Bond Street or Green Park|
|Price:||Main courses £13-£57. Set lunch £25-£50. Set meal £115|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
2.3 / 5
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If you want to have a unique experience, to speak about it with your friends, try this ... To pay a lot for nothing, to ask yourself why you are here, to laugh or to cry thinking : how is it possible to pay so much for so little food ... And the food is clearly not extraordinary ... The only thing to do is to advise your worst enemy to go there ! Probably not even worth 1 star ...
Umu is a financial commitment (at least for dinner), but the quality and attention is certainly there. We were told to go there by a friend from Kyoto - what other endorsement do you really need? But I wish he was there to order for us - the menu was somewhat unfamiliar, and the kaiseki was, well, £100 a head. We opted for a selection of sushi and sashimi as well as a couple mains to share. The house sushi was somewhat of a let-down in my opinion (the fois gras was seared until tough, the mushroom on top didn't enhance the flavour and the case tasted somewhat stale) but the sashimi platter was stunning (it was subject to the inspection of an officious-looking petite Japanese woman prior to serving). The smoked eel - delicate, beautiful - and the desserts - possibly the best I've ever had anywhere, which was unexpected. I do somewhat regret not going for the fixed menu - the women next to us went for it. They also topped it up with three pieces of caviar sushi at £68 a pop (or so we thought we heard), so it was clear they were in a different financial league to us (as if the Chanel didn't already give it away). Even so, the service we got was just as good, and the waitress even anticipated that we had no idea how to serve and eat the homemade tofu. Getting to some point, if you go, just remember it's at least £600 to fly to Japan. This is arguably the most authentic place you will find in London. This is also a fine dining experience in Mayfair, complete with highly attentive staff.
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.