Yunaghi — Toronto (April 2015)


In doing research for a trip to Toronto, I ran across a listing of the top 10 new restaurants in Toronto.  One that caught my attention was Yunaghi.  It was described as a small restaurant where the food is Japanese prepared using modernist techniques.  They were easily bookable on for an early Saturday evening dinner.  They were also pretty easy to get to, just being about a 4-block walk from the nearest subway station.

Upon my arrival, I was seated at the bar counter, where a little origami bird with my name on it was waiting for me.

They offer either a short or long tasting menu for dinner, with the short menu just being a subset of the longer menu. You can do wine or beverage pairings as well. I went with a glass of the unoaked Chardonnay.

They offer two desserts on the menu, so you have to choose one beforehand.

For the full write-up, click here.

Umu — London (11/2013)


I have had virtually no experience with the traditional Japanese Kaiseki dinner.  In many ways, it is conceptually similar to the modern cuisine that I have been seeking out.  It is as much an art form as a type of meal, where special attention is given to balancing taste, textures, appearance and colors. Some friends had told me about a chef who had been in New York who had relocated to London.  So, while planning my food itinerary for a trip to London, I used to book a slot at Umu.  Two days prior to my visit, I received an email asking to confirm my reservation and to notify them of any allergy or dietary restrictions, to which I did respond.  The day before my reservation, I received a phone call again asking me to confirm my dinner reservation at the sushi counter.  I had not specifically asked for a seat at the counter, but as long as I could order from the full menu, I would be fine.

Upon arrival, they seated me in a very nice spot at the sushi counter with a full view of the food preparation.  Almost immediately, a cart approached and I was asked if I wanted a cocktail or some champagne.  I was then presented with the menu options.  These included the Kyoto-style kaiseki menu, a sushi kaiseki menu, and a full a la carte menu.  The kaiseki menu is a tasting menu with defined types of dishes at each course. The basic kaiseki set menu has five courses, with additional types of courses added at the chef’s discretion.

For the full write-up, click here.