From the sushi shops of Cannes to the haut gourmet Asian restaurants of Monaco, there’s no denying the popularity of eastern cuisine in our corner of the Mediterranean. Yet instead of relying on the tried-and-tested, crowd-pleasing favourites of Asiatic dining, UMI in the port of Nice is taking a different approach with a fresh, new menu of French-Asian fusion and a lively atmosphere that will take you straight from after work drinks to dinner and dancing.
In the early evening, guests heading down to the port following a busy day in the office can enjoy drinks on the terrace with a light entrée such as Label Rouge salmon marinated in tangy citrus juices (18 euros), chef Kazu’s Nigiri sea bass sushi (five euros a pair) or an octopus salad with saffron potatoes (14 euros). The restaurant’s in-house chef is a sushi maestro with a flair for creativity – platters are generous both portion and flavour. A 24 piece serving platter (six sashimi, eight Nigiri and 10 California rolls) costs 35 euros, the 32 piece dish is 49 euros and a vast 48 piece order comes in at 68 euros. UMI mains demonstrate the restaurant’s quirky fusion direction with Mediterranean-caught tuna with salmon in a tataki style (21 euros), Yuzu-caramelised fillet of cod with wok-fried vegetables (26 euros), teppanyaki beef fillet with perfumed rice (29 euros). Desserts too offer a surprising range of textures and aroma: Japanese mochi cake with green tea, mango and litchi or the freshly made strawberry tiramisu (both nine euros). At the bar, UMI mixologists are more than happy to whip up your cocktail of choice, but we’d recommend forgoing the standard mojito and instead sampling one of UMI’s signature drinks such as the UMI honey - a white rum blend of Acacia honey, lime, orange juice and fleur d’oranger – or the vodka, elder-berry, hibiscus and rose-infused UMI flower, both for 13 euros.
The restaurant may have only opened recently, but its cool de-meanour, generous portions and enviable location overlooking the port have already won UMI a legion of fans among Nice’s trendy community. The interior has a pared-back, unfussy style with low lighting and a welcome amount of space between tables. As the night draws on, these tables and the seating will gradually be moved to the fringes of the room to allow for dancing to the music of UMI’s own DJ. In addition to the evening service from 7pm to 11pm (and sometimes later) on Tuesdays through to Saturdays, UMI is also open for lunch between noon and 2pm.