Jon Massey re­views Mei Ume at 10 Trin­ity Square

JON MASSEY finds warm­ing plates but a price that’s too high at Mei Ume

The Wharf - - Details -

The sec­ond I walk through the door at 10 Trin­ity Square I’m pounced on by a smil­ing help­ful concierge who, with a man­ner as slick as the soft sheen of its white walls, eases my ap­proach to the restau­rant.

Mei Ume is a fu­sion of the Ja­panese and Chi­nese words for plum blos­som, in­ap­pro­pri­ate for its menu, which keeps the cor­re­spond­ing cuisines res­o­lutely sep­a­rate. Per­haps the con­sul­tants that came up with the idea hadn’t the con­fi­dence in ei­ther’s in­di­vid­ual draw so opted for the com­par­a­tive eco­nomic safe bet of “Asian cui­sine”.

Take this rel­a­tively bland ap­proach, trans­plant to Lon­don, leave a few plas­ter mould­ings in­tact and set the whole thing to a low level sound­track of what might best be de­scribed as per­sis­tent spa dance.

In short Mei Ume feels about as au­then­ti­cally Asian as its White Tiger Of The West cocktail (£16) – an un­holy mar­riage of sake with Dutch vodka, gin­ger beer and bit­ters from Trinidad and Tobago.

But feel­ing steeped in a cul­ture isn’t ev­ery­thing. Served along­side French wines, the food turned out to be skil­fully cooked and, for the most part, de­li­cious.

The undis­puted star of the evening was a plate of Szechuan corn-fed chicken with sliv­ers of red chilli and ma­cadamia nuts de­liv­er­ing real crunch. This de­li­cious, com­fort­ing dish de­liv­ered warmth on the tongue and in the belly.

It was nearly matched by a grungy por­tion of wok-fried Here­ford beef in black pep­per sauce.

How­ever, de­spite the high-end lo­ca­tion, nei­ther quite lived up to their price tags of £22 and £30 re­spec­tively. Mei Ume’s din­ers are pay­ing for their sur­round­ings rather than ex­cite­ment for the eye or in the mouth.

So eight gelati­nous dim sum dumplings at £18 were com­pe­tent and soft shell crab (£12.50) was light and fishy. But deep fried squid for the same price was oddly taste­less and a choco­late pud­ding with green tea pow­der (£9) felt de­cid­edly dis­pas­sion­ate.

The first thing din­ers en­counter when open­ing the lengthy a la carte (it has to be to cover Ja­pan and China) is Mei Ume’s sig­na­ture of­fer­ings of Pek­ing duck and Kagoshima wagyu beef. Both cost £85.

Doubt­less they are ex­e­cuted well, but the whole place leaves me itch­ing at the prospect that such a sum could be bet­ter spent on some­thing far more in­ter­est­ing.

Even the stir fried “na­tive” lob­ster with gin­ger at £45 seems a stretch. Per­haps it dances to the beats ahead of its demise.

Szechuan corn-fed chicken

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