Umu, London’s first Kyoto kaiseki restaurant, was
opened in September 2004 by MARC Ltd (Marlon Abela
MARC also owns Cassis Bistro in Knightsbridge and The Greenhouse and Morton’s Club, both in Mayfair.
Nestled on Bruton Place, serving Michelin-starred Japanese cuisine, Umu prides itself on the provenance and integrity of ingredients, which are used to create innovative Kyoto influenced dishes. Executive Chef Yoshinori Ishii is involved in every aspect of the restaurant from flower arranging, to making the ceramic tableware. He maintains regular contact with Cornish and Scottish fishermen to whom he has taught the humane Japanese method 'ike jime' of fish preparation to preserve the quality of the fish. Each day Umu flies in fresh produce from Japan to ensure Yoshinori’s exacting standards.
Yoshinori Ishii brings over twenty years of cooking experience to the elegant dishes for which Umu is famed. As well as being a highly accomplished chef, he is also a skilled fisherman, potter, and calligrapher. Ishii has a rare eye for artful display as well as flavour, incorporating his expertise as not only a chef but also a skilled artist into each dish.
Ishii trained for nine years at the three Michelin-starred restaurant Kyoto Kitcho in Japan. Although he was sous chef, he also took responsibility for cultivating traditional Japanese vegetables and preserving and arranging all the cultural assets owned by the restaurant- from flower arranging to tableware. Following his time at Kyoto Kitcho, Ishii then became Head Chef at the Japanese Embassy for the United Nations in Geneva and New York. He then worked as Omakase Chef at Morimoto restaurant, also in New York. During his time there he received the prestigious ‘Rising Star Chef’ award and was a finalist for the Vilcek prize for culinary arts.
2012 One Michelin Star (since 2005)
2012 Ranked 39 in The Sunday Times 100 Best Restaurants
2012 AA Restaurant Guide- 3 Rosettes (since 2006)
2012 Zagat Survey: Food: 26, Décor: 26, Service: 25
2011 Square Meal Guide- 2 stars (since 2008)
2009 Newsweek Japan – top 100 most influential Japanese abroad
2009 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence