Reena Patel studies the menu and enjoys Peruvian Japanese dining in Belgravia
I’m a huge fan of Nikkei cuisine – the fusion flavours that blend the taste of plates from Peru with the epicurean jewels of Japan. So, I was excited to experience restaurant UNI – not an abbreviation for the words ‘university’ or ‘unicorn’ but in fact – the Japanese word for ‘sea urchin’ – a delicacy that’s on the menu here.
Tucked away behind the main streets of London’s Victoria, UNI is split across two floors and is designed by top interiors specialist Andrew Martin. Placing food quite rightly at the forefront of its priorities, the restaurant has a highly delicious, sophisticated and inventive menu akin to world-class cuisine found at Nobu, Novikov and Chotto Matte.
This latest underdog is the perfect spot for somewhere more intimate and discreet to dine in yet still packs a high punch on gourmet class and flavour. In fact, the finely curated, slick choice of dishes is the creation of former Nobu chef Rolando Ongcoy, with plenty to feast your senses on.
Presented with our juicy cocktails, we started with a tapas-style selection of a bowl of finger-linking spicy edamame tossed in chilli and garlic, king crab mini tacos bursting with lime, coriander, chilli and spicy miso and hamachi sashimi salad with yellowtail sashimi, mixed greens, chilli and ponzu dressing.
Ceviche and tiraditos here are as fresh and zingy as they come and another ‘musts’ to order. We loved the slithers of yellowtail with kizami wasabi, yuzu and fresh mint and creamy melt-in-the-mouth butterfish with jalapeno, coriander, chilli and lime. As well as soups, maki and sashimi, sushi is on the menu too, skilfully rolled, cut and presented with an understated measure.
Next, we enjoyed miso black cod, beautifully baked in an Anticucho sauce with steamed rice and Wagyu tataki – finely sliced and seared strips of succulent beef with ponzu, truffle oil and crispy garlic.
Finally, for dessert we sampled a delightful pastel-hued assortment of mochi –soft and chewy bites of pounded sticky rice cake with different ice-cream fillings made by the chef’s team at UNI including vanilla, coconut, chocolate, strawberry and pistachio.
Bursting with individual flavours and flair, UNI will leave you craving for more.
UNI – Where and How?
UNI is located at 18a Ebury St, London SW1W 0LS, UK. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.restaurantuni.com.
Some of the amazing food available at Restaurant UNI