Umi – a Japanese Gem

I had the most wonderful meal at UMI in Stockbridge last month.

As a lover of Japanese cuisine – particularly ramen – I couldn’t wait to visit as I’d heard plenty of praise for the restaurant.

The interior had a really authentic and classy feel to it, with traditional Japanese sliding doors and floor seating grabbing my attention.

Served by a clearly interested, knowledgeable and passionate member of staff who put us right at ease, I couldn’t wait to try out the food, which helpfully is pictured alongside the names on the menu.

I first tried chicken karaage (essentially Japanese style fried chicken) only a few months ago, but it’s safe to say I’m hooked! Full of flavour, beautifully crisp yet succulent on the inside, there’s nothing to dislike about this simple and delicious classic. UMI serves theirs with lemon and mayonnaise which compliments both the taste and texture of the chicken wonderfully.

I also tried the chicken and vegetable gyoza dumplings which were presented in the most stunning way and tasted just as good as they look!

UMI’s menu also includes a variety of sushi and fresh fish dishes. I ordered the Hamachi carpaccio: thinly sliced yellowtail with ponzu sauce and grape purée. The sweetness of the fruit really enhanced the delicate slices of fish and again; presentation was spot on.

Now on to ramen: I had the Shoyu ramen, consisting of a soy sauce noodle broth topped with Chashu pork belly, a soft boiled egg, leeks and seaweed. The broth was fantastically tasty yet light enough not to overpower the other flavours. I sampled a little of the pork bone broth to compare, which was also wonderful but much richer. I’ll definitely have to return to try out some more of UMI’s ramen as they all sounded brilliant.

I really couldn’t fault this restaurant – every little touch from graceful decor to music choice and, of course, the food itself was absolutely perfect. Possibly my favourite Japanese restaurant I’ve eaten at so far, I’d highly recommend paying UMI a visit.

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