Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square 10 Trinity Square , EC3N 4AJ
WLC Rank : 37
Glass from : £ 8.50 (125 ml)
BEST FORSoaring ceilings and intricate decor
Classic Peking duck and pristine sushi and sashimi
Cocktails inspired by ancient Chinese astrology
Punchy wine list and expanded, clearly defined sake selection
Mei Ume is a chic Oriental mosaic of a restaurant, bar and private dining room, with a learned drinks selection.
Not a fusion restaurant, but a showcase of two noble cuisines, Mei Ume (meaning “plum blossom” in Chinese and Japanese) combines the culinary talents of Cantonese head chef, Tony Truong who previously worked at Royal China for a quarter of a century, and Korean sushi chef, Kyle Lee (Chotto Matte, Café Royal).
Jan Konetzki, who oversees all wine operations at 10 Trinity Square, including the selection in the suites (indeed, he can be hired to your room to discuss cellar building or to perform a mini masterclass for the hourly price of a lawyer), has authored a confident wine selection to suit most wallets in what is, beyond the silk lining paper, a beautifully crafted list.
Wines are explained by Hungarian sommelier, Jeno Kaiser, formerly of The Arts Club. Choices include a friendly-of-price, Pfalz Auxerrois (Dengler), exuberant Trousseau Gris from the Russian River Valley, and feisty Faustine Corsican rosé (Domaine Abbatucci) ranging to the half bottle of heatwave “brother” to the Grand Vin, Forts de Latour. Konetzki notes a number of guests tend to enjoy fine wine in small portions at Mei Ume, often dining solo at the counter.
Alongside wine, sake is the preserve of Go Satoyama (formerly of Yauatcha), with flights, such as that served on a bespoke bamboo board by the Keigetsu brewery, or indeed in three colours, making an excellent, affordable means to discover the intricate world of finely milled rice.
Food and drinks matching can be problematic when sharing dishes, family-style, from two noble cuisines, Konetzki realises. “Sushi is a celebration and elevation of a raw product, while Cantonese is about how many things can you put into a dish while still achieving harmony,” he observes. “People drink very differently at Mei Ume compared to how they might next-door at La Dame de Pic. Whatever you choose to do, you’re always right and a bit wrong, because the food has so many aspects to it.”
There are some outstanding matches if you really get involved though, however. Hence, with whole Peking duck served across two courses, first with pancakes, leeks and cucumber, then as a crispy duck salad with cherry tomatoes and juicy tonkatsu dressing, Konetzki recommends Bruno Paillard’s “Premiere Rosé” (first pressing) Extra-Brut Champagne, or the terroir-inspired, iodine, lemon and pear scented sparkling sake, Keigetsu ‘John’ from Kochi, originally made for owner, Mr. Matsumoto’s good friend and wine aficionado, John. “A sip of that with a duck sandwich is a super happy combination.”
Meanwhile, Pinot Noir, be it the mini Gevrey-esque Fixin (Frédéric Magnien) or Grand Cru Chambertin, Clos de Béze (Pierre Damoy) “sleeps with everybody”, muses Konetzki.
Diners flock to Mei Ume for a multitude of reasons, including specific celebrations, such as Chinese New Year when the restaurant is adorned with lanterns.
By Douglas Blyde.