Anyway; Umu is a Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant in Mayfair, and Bob and I went there for dinner last Monday. We had the special sushi kaiseki menu with matched sake. It was very good but not perfect.
First seasonal appetiser was kudzu "tofu" topped with uni, wasabi, and what I think was probably shredded young ginger. It was served with a sauce of green peas and spinach chlorophyll. The tofu had some rather unpleasantly chalky green peas in it.
Second seasonal appetiser had three components: baby squid served with rape flowers and white miso sauce; mochi stuffed with white miso and white kidney beans and wrapped in an oak leaf; and some highly seasoned sushi rice with a thin slice of seabass, again wrapped in a leaf. I really liked the rape flowers; I'm not sure if this was because of their intrinsic flavour or because of the flavour of their simmering liquid. I thought the mochi was too sweet for this stage of the meal.
Next came sashimi: amberjack, chutoro, and langoustine.
Fourth course was a clear soup with langoustine, "butterbar" (I have no idea if this was plant or animal — I really couldn't tell), and shiitake mushroom. Excellent stock used in this.
Traditional sushi was next: I can't remember what we had though. Three pieces.
The traditional sushi was followed by modern sushi: something (tuna?) with pesto, seared amberjack, toro. The seared amberjack was excellent; I like this fish anyway, but just that light cooking on the outside really improved the flavour. This was served with miso soup containing some confusing toruses — egg? tofu? squid? Who knows.
The penultimate course was a piece of sea bass which had been crisped on the base as well as the skin, which worked very well. It was very very very very slightly overcooked except in the middle, but I suspect this may be unavoidable in this preparation. Lotus root and bamboo shoot with this.
Dessert was very dull; a grapefruit half with the segments only partially severed, topped with a rather uninteresting brandy jelly and a coconut and pineapple sake sorbet. We also got some rather uninteresting chocolate marshmallow cubes afterwards.