Okay, okay… so it’s been a while. I’m 6 months into a new job (which I’m loving) and if I’m honest, I haven’t eaten in many new places that I’ve had much to comment on. Make of that what you will. However, after being spotted by Z a little while back, the two of us have been hankering to pay this little hole in the wall a visit.
Umezushi sits just by the MEN Arena, tucked away in one of the unit spaces on Mirabel St. There’s an almost industrial vibe about the area. The surroundings are hardly glamorous and it couldn’t be further from the neon, slap-an-exclaimation-mark-on-it sushi counterpart up the road. I have no real issue with the YO! Variety generally, but it was wonderful not hearing the slightly racist waiter call button sound off every few minutes. In fact, Umezushi is absolutely unique in that it doesn’t have a gimmick or a style guide – it’s just fresh, carefully prepared food and the place is clearly run with love.
We counted a grand total of 23 seats in the restaurant – seats mind you, not tables, individual seats – and looking after the place were two chefs (the kitchen is open plan) and a single member of waiting staff who was running the whole show. The romantic in us wanted to believe that these three were in fact all owners too, living out their dream. Perhaps they are.
As it was the first time we’d been out for dinner in a while and really felt like a treat, we opted for the Umezushi sampler. This is the all singing, all dancing set menu and at £45 I must admit I was crossing my fingers that it’d be worth it. I need never have worried as what we were presented with was worth every penny and more.
The dishes were lined up in the following order, and every single one was really rather excellent:
Fruit/Dessert – I took Plum Sake (I was stuffed) and Z took Melon with Aloe Vera syrup. There was a fantastic sounding Mango Tempura & Vanilla ice-cream, but I genuinely may have burst if I attempted it.
There is real care put into everything at Umezushi. You can actually see the chefs taking their time in getting the cuts right.
The pace that the dishes were brought out was well-timed, the quality outstanding, ingredients are clearly fresh each day, portion sizes are good and the place is immaculate to boot; that’s really all there is to it.
It’s difficult not to root for this place, because they’re doing everything right. We sat for nearly 3 hours and thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. There’s a tangible sense of pride in the atmosphere and it’s infectious. Go down and try it, but book first. Seats at Umezushi are precious.