An exclusive ten-seater traditional Edo style sushi,
UMI opens on Hollywood Road
District: Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
How much: $1,588 per person
The best for: Date night, special occasions
Must Order: Omakase menu (chef’s choice). The menu changes weekly based on what’s in season.
Located diagonally across from Man Mo Temple, UMI’s exterior blends into the quieter side of Hollywood Road. Blink and you could miss it. When you enter, there is definitely something very subtle and calming (#zen) about the interior. With its long wooden table, muted colours and sleek design, you feel as if you stepped into a sanctuary UMI only seats 10 people at a time (just two seatings per day), making the whole experience intimate, interactive and truly a dining experience.
The word “umi” literally means “ocean” in English, which was the perfect foretaste of the bright flavours and ingredients to come. Serving up traditional Edomae sushi (freshly caught fish served with ingredients from surrounding waters), Chef Yukio Kimijima is the fourth-generation sushi chef in his family. He started his culinary career at 16 and is in his fifth decade as a chef, so you can bet you’re in good hands, mama! Reminiscent of sophisticated sushi bars in Tokyo, UMI serves up an omakase menu (every dish is the chef’s choice). Chef Kimijima curates a unique menu every week with whatever is in season and imported straight from Japan. He uses a variety of garnishes and combinations of flavours to really let the star of the show – the sushi – shine.
You know you’re off to a good start when the first dish is Black Truffle Rice with freshly shaved winter truffles from France! What followed can only be described as a crescendo of flavours and combinations I had never eaten before. From the Hirame (halibut) ceviche with Japanese lime, freshly grated Himalayan salt and hanaho (edible flower), to a delectable Abalone dish served in it’s shell to a seared Hokkaido Scallop wrapped in seaweed and finished of with a sweet chestnut.
I have to be honest mamas, I’m as basic as it gets when it comes to my preferred choices of fish (salmon and tuna all the way!) so I was a bit nervous to venture out of my comfort zone. But I’m so glad I did! What came next on the menu was a series of some of the best sushi I’ve ever tasted. You’re encouraged to eat with your hands opposed to chopsticks as the Chef Kimijima serves each piece right on the table in front of you. From Sayori (half beak) to Kurami Ebi (shrimp) to Buri (Japanese Amberjack) to Akamutsu (rosy seabass) with a smoked soy sauce glaze to the buttery Uni (sea urchin) hand roll… just to name a few! The following three pieces of sushi was definitely the highlight for me: a trio of tuna starting from the leanest (soaked in soy sauce for 5 minutes) to the fattiest cut (Oh-toro). Heaven in bitesize form, ladies. It was truly sublime.
As if I wasn’t already fully satisfied, Chef Kimijima rolled out freshly made Mochi with a Japanese strawberry inside and Matcha (green tea) Valrhona chocolate truffles to end the tasting.
If you’re looking to embark on a culinary adventure, where you can taste some of the freshest fish prepared in the age old tradition of Edo sushi, dine in an intimate setting and interact with Chef Kimijima… UMI is the place for you.
Sassy Mama Tip: UMI is only open in the evening with two seatings – 6:30pm and 8:30pm. If you want to linger a little longer, the 8:30pm seating is for you!
UMI, Shop 3, G/F, 159 – 163 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong; 2956 3177, www.lecomptoir.hk/#/umi