Chef Yoshinori Ishii at Umu - London, England

14-16 Bruton Place
London, UK W1J 6LX
+44 (0)20 7499 8881
Hours: Mon-Fri noon-2:30pm; 6pm-11pm; Sat 6pm-11pm

Walk down Bruton Place and you can easily miss one of the best restaurants in London. The restaurant is Umu, and the chef is 2008 Rising Star Yoshinori Ishii. Taking over from former Chef Ichiro Kubota in 2010, Ishii compiled years of experience at New York’s Morimoto, executive chef for the Japanese ambassador for the United Nations, and as sous chef at the three-star Kitcho in Kyoto, Japan. The result is not a patchwork of all those experiences, as you might expect, but rather a streamlined vision of pure Kyoto dining, the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom. Understatement is everywhere. A tiny sliding door—activated via touchpad—leads diners inside a shadowy dining room with wooden floors and simple, barely lacquered tables. Ishii is soft-spoken when describing his dishes, and he need not say much at all because the food does all the talking. The sake list is impressive, including a number of hard-to-find “raw” nama sakes and “unfermented” nigori sakes. Umu is a palate cleanser to the multitude of Indian, French, and Asian fusion that have invaded the city, and one that will leave you wishing there were more restaurants like it.

Recommended Dishes:
  • Game Woodcock “Becasse"
  • Wild Scottish Lobster Bisque
  • Yukimi Daifuku, Mochi-wrapped Clementine Ice Cream, White Ear Mushroom, Lotus Root Snowflake, and Almond Oil Snow

  • + Click image to enlarge