Ukai claims to be London’s best Japanese fusion cocktail bar offering sake infused cocktails and award winning whiskeys partnered with contemporary Japanese cuisine, and boy do they make a strong case for it. Take a journey here not just for the food but the beautiful and unique cocktail menu, the warm venue decor and the live music.
Set in a traditional pub off of Portobello road, in a bar infused with Japanese design with Italian and European undertones. A pub that had before been home to The Market Bar, an old Notting Hill hotspot for music and dance at the centre of bohemian life in West London in the 1980s, Ukai has preserved the 19th century feel through a renovated interior which screams modern and trendy vibes. Sporting dark wood paneling and soft furnishings, Ukai has a cozy, yet, funky vibe perfect for any occasion whether it’s drinks with the girls, date night or a work affair with the boss or your team.
Ukai’s kitchen is run by ROKA trained head chef, Alessandro Verros who really does come into his own here. If you are lucky enough, you can view his master kitchen skills first hand, as he occasionally makes an appearance stationed at the live cooking area in the upstairs of the venue. With Alessandro and the team at Ukai adding theatre to the dining experience, this really is a venue which isn’t only unforgettable but is easily revisited again and again with the promise of always something new.
With the menu leaving us stumped (we chose close to 25 dishes that we wanted to try…) Alessandro and the team were on hand to offer their advice on their personal favourites, usefully marked with an asterix against each item on the menu. Thinking of heading to Ukai soon? We would highly recommend that you leave your menu choice down to the staff, of course taking into consideration dietary requirements, but trusting their expertise in the menu. We started our sitting with a range of their signature starters including the Tuna Tataki, Chicken Gyoza and Lobster Tempura washed down nicely with a glass of Japanese Whiskey.
The standout main course dish? The Beef Tenderloin Toban Yaki. For fish lovers, the Seabass is on equal par. Served as the whole fish with head and tail, it’s not for the faint hearted but easily ranks in one of the top pescatarian options we have ever sampled.
With the cocktail menu, there is no shortage of innovative, thirst quenching options which over deliver from their initial quirky presentations to the last drop in the glass. Again, trust the staff when it comes to your drinks options which were matched to not only our food options but our personalities also.
Ukai in short, is nothing but absolutely sensational. Having reviewed many restaurants this year, we would easily say that Ukai is now one of our favourite restaurants for 2018 and with a combination of good food, great unique Japanese cocktails and an atmosphere to die for, we would urge you to visit ASAP.
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday 12pm to 12am | Friday & Saturday 12pm to 1am | Sunday 12pm to 12am
Address: 240 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 1LL
Telephone 020 7792 2444