UKAI: When East Meets West

East Asia in West London – a fusion of Portobello institution and contemporary Robata Japanese cuisine. UKAI is a gastro pub/cocktail bar-cum-sushi restaurant. Head Chef Alessandro Verros has an impressive background and to UKAI’s contemporary menu he’s added touches of South American and Italian influences, combining simplicity with complexity.

UKAI’s bar follows in the same vein, with authentic Japanese mixologists carrying out the venue’s philosophy – a contemporary execution of Japanese bartending, with influences from America and Europe. Bar Manager Panos Klazidis has 15 years of experience working in 5* hotels and with handcrafted bitters, bespoke blends, syrups, and over 200 selected spirits and vermouth at his arsenal, UKAI’s cocktail menu is very impressive. The signature is the Smoky Samurai – a mix of Japanese whisky, handcrafted cinnamon vermouth, green chartreuse and smoked apple wood. Enjoy pre or post meal.

When it comes to the food, you really are spoilt for choice. The signatures – which are a must try – are the truffle white tuna tataki (honestly the best tuna I think I’ve ever had) and lobster tail tempura, which are wonderful bite-size treats.

There is too much to choose from with the sashimi and nagiri, so my advice is to choose from the shortlist of platters so you get a nice variety.

I’d also recommend the soft shell crab steamed bun, excellent with the jalapeno mayo, and one of the ceviches, which is a deliciously zesty marriage of Japanese and South American flavours.

Whether you’re after a leisurely lunch, Sunday soul, or a deluxe date night spot oozing atmosphere and understated chic, UKAI is open seven days a week and is guaranteed to please.

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