Yumi Izakaya, a new Japanese restaurant from Londoner and former restaurant manager Caspar von Hofmannsthal, with Tom and Ed Martin of the ETM Group, has opened in the Piccadilly West End hotel.
The 38-cover site, which is inspired by Japanese izakayas (the Japanese word for an informal pub with food), opened on London's Shaftesbury Avenue today, in collaboration with Tom and Ed Martin of the ETM Group - although the Martins are involved individually, and the site will not be run as part of the wider ETM Group. It will have an entrance from the hotel as well as its own entrance to the street.
Von Hofmannsthal, who previously managed London establishments such as Quo Vadis, Smiths of Smithfield and Rotorino, originally opened the concept in Phnom Penh in Cambodia, after relocating there from London in 2009.
Having been popular with the city's ex-pat community, the Cambodian site closed in 2014, with von Hofmannsthal intending to bring the idea to London.
Open seven days a week, the site will serve small plates and grilled dishes from a Robata grill. Examples include okonomiyaki Osaka style, daikon wrapped pork gyozas, and chilli fried cauliflower.
There will also be a selection of free range chicken dishes, including wings (with sea salt and Tongarashi), heart (with spring onion and ginger), liver (with tare sticky soy glaze and shichimi) and oysters (with salt and yuzu). There will also be bacon-wrapped vegetable skewers with asparagus and Shimeji mushroom; caramelised pork belly with a tempura egg; and smoked duck and udon soup. Sides include Japanese rice, seaweed salad and aubergine glazed in sake, mirin and soy.
The drinks list will feature draft beers, bottles, wine and sake, including a sparkling variety. Choices will include Yumi dry house brew, Kirin Ichiban, IPA OK from Ealing's Long Arm Brewing Co, Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale and Hitachino Saison Du from Japan; plus Capel Road Cider by the can.
Décor-wise, the interior has been created by Tonik Associates and has been designed to echo the feel of Tokyo's izakayas but with a London influence. Features include wooden tiles from chopped tree trunks, benches and tables from exposed wood, and low-hanging bulbs.
Von Hofmannsthal commented: "Although I initially launched Yumi Izakaya in Cambodia, I was always confident that it would one day become a drinking and dining destination in London. To finally be opening the doors in the middle of the West End is an incredible feeling."
Ed and Tom Martin run the ETM Group, which operates a range of pubs and restaurants across London and beyond, including the Jugged Hare, the Six Bells, the Chiswell Street Dining Rooms, the Botanist and the Gun.