To your average Londoner, not all that long ago, sushi was simply fish that hadn't yet met a fryer. Then restaurants like Nobu and Zuma made hamachi rolls hip. Now the city's hottest spots are turning foodies on to more adventurous Japanese dishes. At Umu (14-16 Bruton Place; 44-207/499-8881; dinner for two $180)—a Mayfair den glammed up with wenge wood and stainless steel—chef Ichiro Kubota specializes in Kyoto cuisine, renowned for its ritualized presentation. Order the full kaiseki meal, the traditional 8- to 10-course set menu, or mix and match from the selection of small plates, such as sweet shrimp in sake vinaigrette topped with caviar and edible gold leaf. Roka (37 Charlotte St.; 44-207/580-6464; dinner for two $110), the newest venture from Zuma founder Rainer Becker, also caters to grazers. The room hums around a large, open robata grill, where chefs turn out lamb cutlets with Korean spices and—even for those still hankering for a fish-and-chips fix—crispy fried rock shrimp served with piquant prickly-ash and limes.
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