Japanese icons Umu and Nobu Mayfair to close

Two Mayfair restaurants that helped put Japanese fine dining on the map in London – the two Michelin-starred Umu and Nobu on Berkeley Street – are to close.

Celebrity favourite Nobu on Berkeley Street in Mayfair is to close

As reported by Big Hospitality, Umu entered administration on 3 February. The restaurant is open for service while administrators seek a buyer.

The Square in Mayfair, run by Umu’s owner Marlon Abela, was shut down by administrators in the middle of lunch service last Friday 31 January.

Marlon Abela’s Umu and The Square have gone into administration

Abela’s private members’ club, Morton’s in Berkeley Square, also entered administration last week following the non-payment of VAT by Abela.

As it stands, Abela’s other Mayfair restaurant, the two Michelin-starred Greenhouse, has not been affected by the events of the past week and remains open for service.

Meanwhile, star-studded sushi restaurant Nobu is to close its popular Berkeley Street site, after giving up the lease it has held since 2005.

According to Eater, the decision to close the Berkeley Street site relates to the opening of a Nobu hotel in Portman Square, which will house a Nobu restaurant.

Eater reports that fine dining Italian restaurant Il Borro will be opening in its place.

In 1987 Nobu Matsuhisa opened his eponymous Matsuhisa restaurant in Beverly Hills. Seven years later he opened the first Nobu site with actor Robert de Niro in New York, which soon became a celebrity hotspot.

Among the signature dishes at Nobu are black cod with sweet miso; rock shrimp tempura; and yellowtail sashimi with ponzu and jalapeño.

The brand has since gone global and now spans 40 restaurants across five continents, including 15 sites in the US alone.

Nobu has also grown a successful hotel chain in key global cities, from Barcelona to Tel Aviv via Las Vegas. In 2017 London got its third Nobu, housed inside the 148-room Nobu Shoreditch hotel in east London.

Nobu’s other London site, at the Como Metropolitan hotel, remains open. Nobu Berkeley Street won a Michelin star in 2006 but lost it in 2014.

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