Saturday, August 17, 2013


Had an insane craving for sashimi and sushi that refused to be quelled. I could wait to return to Singapore and stuff my face silly at Shinji. But it was a craving, and must be satisfied now now now. Dragged the humans out to dinner at Umu Restaurant. They didn't protest that violently.

Raw fish. Mmmm. This is a Japanese restaurant in London that I'm quite fond of for the now. I try to eat here at least once each time I'm in town. Currently helmed by Chef Yoshinori Ishii, it's traditional, yet contemporary, their sashimi isn't bad at all. The chefs know what they're doing. What they can't fly in from Japan, they will find suitable substitutes which are excellent too. Of late, it's much more prudent getting supplies from alternative sources. However, with the entire Pacific food chain affected, I really have no idea how safe it is to consume seafood now, and especially, if my diet is predominantly fish, then I might have a problem.

Anyway, I'll eat my fill for now. On this trip, I especially love Umu's uni for these few weeks. Sourced from the US and Scandinavia, this batch was supremely fresh, suitably briny and held great texture. Relished their somen with uni. Served cold, of course. Light and savory, it was absolutely satisfying to slurp up.

The main thing is, I LOVE Umu's teas. Couldn't wait to get to the end of the meal to order them. Outside of Japan, few Japanese restaurants do tea this beautifully. Our restaurants in Singapore need to catch up. The teas available on the menu are just not up to par. Except for the matcha (koicha) at Goto. Meanwhile, I'm glad Umu offers quality leaves and good brews. Two green teas, at least, definitely. Cleaned out my sake glass quickly, and asked for the tea menu. The table continued with a third bottle of sake and ordered desserts. *hiccup I went a bit nuts over the teas.

The available Japanese teas that are brewed by someone who knows his craft. Some good brewing going on there. The water used is definitely filtered to the max, and the temperature was perfect. The hōjicha was wonderfully roasted, but held strong fruity notes. Ahhhhh. I swooned when the cup of gyokuro was placed in front me. A touch confirmed that they brewed this at the ideal 50ºC, bringing out the full sweetness, freshness and seaweed notes of a gyokuro. Impressive. Umami. Perfect ending to a splendid meal.

Umu's gorgeous hōjicha.

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