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Yumi Izakaya

Restaurants, Japanese Shaftesbury Avenue
2 out of 5 stars
Yumi Izakaya

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

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Piccadilly Circus restaurant styled on a Japanese pub.

Over the last few years, the long-scuzzy Piccadilly Circus end of Shaftesbury Avenue has been noticeably on the up, with stylish, buzzy restaurants like Alan Yau’s Babaji and Soho House’s Cafe Monico leading the charge. So I had high hopes for this latest addition, because while it technically belongs to a hotel (The Piccadilly), it has its own street entrance and is inspired – as you’ve guessed from the name – by the all-the-rage izikaya (Japanese pub) style of dining, ie casual and snacky. 

It certainly looks the part: a mix of Asian-by-numbers minimalism with smoke wafting from the open robata grill, loud folksy rock music and a young, well-groomed crowd. 

But the cooking lacks finesse. Pan-fried pork and ginger gyozas were decent, being meaty and well-balanced, but almost every other dish was overseasoned, from the too-intense tare smothering otherwise serviceable pieces of bacon-wrapped asparagus, to succulent (but oversalted) butterflied chicken or moist (also oversalted) grilled aubergine. A trio of sweetcorn fritter ‘balls’ simply didn’t work.  

Still, staff are friendly and I did manage a minor celeb-spot (Emily Head, aka Carli d’Amato from The Inbetweeners) – plus there are 67 swish rooms next door, should you get stuck into the sake and on-tap Kirin and miss your tube home.   


Address: Piccadilly West End Hotel
67 Shaftesbury Av
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £80.
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