SUCCULENT SERVINGS: UBU
If the secret to luxury lies in the details, then the palate is a quick study and Japan is its master. But don’t think that your other four senses will be neglected at Ubu Lounge: a multi-sensory exaltation of Japanese aesthetic philosophy greets you as you walk into Ubu from the ground floor of the historic Grand Theatre. Clearly, no detail has been ignored.
From the rich wood, steel counters and plush suede booths, to the glazed patina of concrete floors reflecting a rosy glow, carrying the echo of tinkling glass over the tickle of saxophone atop samba beats, Ubu Lounge is a welter of sensation in a cave. Multi-sensory, indeed, and you haven’t even made it to the menu, yet.
Executive Chef Tomo Mitsuno’s cooking rests on two pillars of the luxury principle: freshness and a ceremony to detail. His deconstructed sushi rolls, such as the spicy tuna ($11) wrapped around an avocado tempura centre, or the hamachi ($13), topped with fried garlic chips, plate as curiously architectural but taste perfectly balanced in flavour symmetry. With artful design, origami napkins and inspired izakaya fusion, each platter arrives like a new twist on a classic. Yet Chef Mitsuno prefers to stay true to the ethos of a dish, refusing MSG or dashi flavour enhancers to “be honest to the customer,” pushing toward a more organic kitchen. Witness his personal touch in everything from homemade soy sauce to fresh wasabi, house-pickled ginger to hand-crimped gyoza ($10), and sauces built from scratch, like the house-infused chilli oil and homemade ponzu. Ice cream dessert, hand-churned and rich, is served on top of orange slices, commensurate with the piquancy, purity and perspective behind the meaning of Ubu. Translated hermeneutically as “fresh,” Ubu delivers beautifully from start to finish.