Published on May 16th, 2014 | by Gavin0
UNI Sushi, Belgravia
Summary: Great sushi that doesn’t cut corners on quality.
In my experience, there’s only two types of people in this world when it comes to sushi; those that love it, and those that have never tried it. I can’t ever recall meeting anyone that absolutely detests the Japanese delicacy (Tweet us if you know anyone that does). I myself fell into the latter up until about a year ago, but after getting my first taste, I’m still learning day by day. However, one thing I’m starting to pick up on quickly is that there is a vast difference in quality between London sushi restaurants; and this opinion was reaffirmed after an evening in UNI in Belgravia.
Just to give you a little history lesson before continuing, back in the early 1900s, a diplomatic relationship was established between various South American countries and Japan. This resulted in hundreds of Japanese migrants arriving in Latin America for domestic labour, with Brazil and Peru being the main destinations. Today, the Japanese communities in South America are so vast (estimated around 1.5million) that the Asian-Latin American subculture has spread across the planet. In fact, the Heron Tower’s Japanese-Brazilian fusion restaurant Sushisamba is one of the most popular and well-loved in London.
Uni follows a similar concept insomuch that it serves Japanese cuisine, but with touches of Peruvian influence. The restaurant opened in November 2013 in the relatively quiet Belgravia area, and despite only being a 2 minute walk from Victoria station, the area is as desolate as the Scottish Highlands (bar the distant sound of revving car engines of course). An odd location you might think for such a trend setting restaurant, but given the affluence of the area and lack of competition, it makes perfect sense, financially at least.
The restaurant is set over 2 floors with a circular seating sushi bar on the top floor leading to intimate booths once you descend the glass staircase to the basement. The tightly spaced restaurant makes use of the limited room available by sticking with two seater tables, with the exception of a couple of larger private booths that can be hired for groups. The décor is minimalistic, most likely to save space, but the little they have done gives the place a bit of character; the Campari bottle lampshade above our table is the first thing that springs to mind. What does it have to do with the theme? I haven’t the foggiest idea, but it sure did look cool.
The menu is separated into tapas, sushi/sashimi, maki, and tempura. The house speciality is the salmon tartare tacos which the waiter is quick to recommend- and with good reason too, as they are special. The combination of seasoned fish with the crisp taco had me nodding with delight and I wondered what other dishes you could ‘taco-fy’ with as much success.
The Kaiso seaweed was another modern day classic. The spaghetti like delicacy had flavours bursting on my tongue that I never thought existed; and the glee mixed with confusion face I was pulling had my fellow guests in hysterics – it really was THAT good.
The entire menu is littered with exquisite dishes, and although hard to separate, the most stand out dishes for me were the Dragon Roll, butterfish sashimi, and black cod- but I must stress that nothing disappointed.
On the drinks side of things, a (very) dirty vodka caviar martini complete with caviar pepper garnish is the most adventurous cocktail on the menu, but is strictly for those with what I’d call “an acquired” taste. For the safe bet, stick with one of the many types of sake; we had a delightful sparkling variety, and for a post dinner digestif, the plum wine is gorgeous.
Although a little on the pricey side, with UNI you really do get what you pay for; great sushi that doesn’t cut corners on quality.
Uni, 18a Ebury St, SW1W 0LU