A uni isn’t just somewhere you take a course in medieval literature and/or get drunk on a Monday afternoon – this uni (pronounced ‘oo-ni’) is Japanese for ‘sea urchin’. But before you start brushing up on your Nihongo, take note: Uni serves nikkei (a fusion cuisine named after the large community of Peruvians with Japanese heritage) and the staff all speak Español. While Nobu and Zuma may be beloved of Wags, oil-rich Saudis and City boys, this Belgravia restaurant is a more tasteful affair. The bijou basement dining room (there’s a street-level sushi counter too) has been luxuriously decorated, with plump seating and a vertigo-inducing clear glass staircase. As for our fellow diners, they were of the discreetly wealthy variety, and hadn’t dressed as if expecting to flash their knickers at a waiting paparazzo.
Dishes were just as refined – with good looks and an emphasis on seafood. An exquisite seabass ceviche saw morsels of translucent fish, flecks of coriander and spot-on kick from the amarillo (a common Peruvian yellow chilli), all served over wafer-thin slivers of lime. Dainty salmon ‘tacos’ (served in crispy wonton shells) and a bowl of rock shrimp tempura scattered with strands of dried red aji (another Peruvian pepper), were equally polished. You can play it safe with traditional and modern sushi, or try the signature sea urchin roe, scooped and served raw. Prized as a delicacy, ours looked not unlike a rolled-up hedgehog, and tasted like licking the inside of a tin can. Perfect for a freshers’ week initiation rite.