1 Michelin Star Chefs: Ryo Kamatsu, Umu

The  Staff Canteen

Ryo Kamatsu is the executive chef of One Michelin-starred Umu in London's Mayfair.

Ryo Kamatsu is Argentinian born to Japanese parents and has lived extensively in Japan. However, his background gives him a more diverse and unconventional approach to traditional Japanese cuisine.

Ryo has worked at Umu since 2014 and was part of the team that managed to get its second Michelin star in 2016, however, sadly, this was lost in the 2021 Guide.

Umu

14-16 Bruton Pl, Mayfair, London W1J 6LX

Opening hours:

Lunch - Tuesday to Friday 12pm to 2:00pm

Dinner - Tuesday to Friday 6 pm to 10 pm

Closed Sundays and Mondays

Phone: 020 7499 8881 

Reservations: Umu Restaurant

Instagram: @umurestaurant

Twitter: @UmuRestaurant

Biography and career to date

He has also been involved in other ventures from setting up his own Izakaya concept to enriching his skills in other foreign cuisines. In 2014, he was asked by Yoshi to join him at Umu as his number two and has since been fully involved in the creation and development of our Kaiseki menu.

Ryo's early work was for the Chanto company. He worked in three of their restaurants and started as a commis chef in 2004 but later became chef de partie and then sous chef. 

He left in 2007 to become a sous chef at 2 Michelin starred Kaiseki Ichimonji in Tokyo, a Kaiseki restaurant that specialized in tea ceremony catering. This is where he undertook his Kaiseki. However, he was only there for two years leaving in 2009 to become a head chef for Global Dining. 

After working until 2010 he left to co-found his own restaurant, Sakabukuro. He left that restaurant in 2011 and moved to Argentina where he worked at Chizza Restaurant.

Image Credit: Jean Cazals

In 2014 Ryo, made another big move this time to London to become head chef at Umu. In 2020 he was made executive chef, replacing his predecessor Yoshinori Ishii. 

What the guides say...

Michelin

AA Restaurant Guide

Harden's

 

UMU 

With a discreet entrance and an elegantly dressed reception room. Umu has always been a destination, special occasion restaurant.

Courteous service adds to the experience, with the team able to offer helpful advice, whether guests are experienced Japanophiles or those simply wishing to learn more. The restaurant is influenced by the traditions and delicate cuisine of Kyoto, where the philosophy of kaiseki is preserved and celebrated. 

From the exterior, Umu has a pale, wooden, windowless front with a handleless door, which, in true Japanese style, can only be opened using a sensor.

Elegantly built wooden interiors and tableware made in-house contribute to making the experience feel authentically Kyoto-esque.

Umu Food style

Ryo uses fresh ingredients that Michelin says are "of irreproachable quality," many of which come from local British producers and suppliers or traditional Japanese producers, always with an emphasis on letting their natural flavours shine.

His food puts a modern twist on his Kyoto-inspired Kaiseki menu, which revolves around the core elements of water, vegetables and fish.

While some dishes are simple, others are presented with a flourish at the table – but all are prepared with considerable care and respect.

From the a la carte menu, diners are given a range of luxurious options to choose from, including a selection of fish of the day, sashimi, sushi, kaluga caviar and Wagyu.

The Kaiseki menu, priced at £220 (plus £110 for a wine or sake pairing, £180 for a sparkling pairing, £220 for a prestige wine or sake pairing and £80 for a non-alcoholic pairing).

Dishes on the set menu include Gohan - monkfish zosui, black truffle yolk sauce, homemade pickles; Yakimono - charcoal-grilled roe deer, celeriac katsu, wasabi and Tsukuri - the chef’s selection of sashimi."

Umu has one of the biggest sake lists in Europe; the restaurant's sommelier can match one with virtually any dish.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th January 2022

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Ryo Kamatsu, Umu