HUMO is the new restaurant from the same team that’s behind SUMI and Endo at The Rotunda. Don’t expect too much similarity with its sister restaurants in the food department however; this is very much a departure from high end sushi.
‘Humo’ means smoke in Spanish and it’s not hard to see where the name comes from once you step inside the smart new space on St George Street (where the original Wild Honey used to be). The room is dominated by a four metre-long open kitchen that glows with the embers of wood burning beneath the grills. And yes there is smoke aplenty, but don’t worry, they have incredible extraction and we were told our clothes wouldn’t stink when we got home – we can verify this is indeed true.
HUMO is the debut restaurant by Colombian-born chef Miller Prada, the protégé of chef Endo Kazutoshi. There’s no specific cuisine at HUMO; instead, the menu is made up of dishes inspired by Prada’s Colombian background, his training at Endo at the Rotunda, the heritage of his Italian head chef, and influenced by the precision of Japanese cooking techniques. The wood grill is, of course, a big influence on the style and flavours too and it is in fact the only cooking method on offer here – there’s no gas or electric hobs at all. The wood is chosen to enhance the flavours of different dishes, with juniper branches, white Ubame oak, British oak, birch, cherry, walnut, apple and beech among those that are used.
The menu is divided into four sections named after the four stages of fire: Ignite; Smoke; Flame; and Embers. We went for two dishes from each section to share between the two of us, which gives a good overview of the menu – though there is a chef’s choice option too if you can’t be bothered to choose.
From ‘Ignite’, we loved the 14-day aged Ike-Jime Hampshire trout topped with 3-month aged caviar grilled in kombu kelp, and the yellowtail dressed with a citrus sauce and a touch of Castillo coffee from Miller’s own family farm in Colombia. The langoustine in the ‘Flame’ section is a must-order. They are grilled over old whisky barrels and served with mini flatbreads that have been topped with a rich bisque-like sauce made from the langoustine brains. The Cornish lobster from this section is also an excellent dish.
From ‘Embers’, definitely order the Highland ‘wagyu’, a stunning piece of beef that comes with Fiorentino tomato and yamadashi kelp. The lamb dish we could see leaving the kitchen looked brilliant but we wanted to get a fish dish to balance it out, and we reckon the North Sea line caught sea bream with cime di rapa, sake button onion, and Brittany sea truffle clam sauce is the way to go.
The only dishes that perhaps didn’t hit quite the same mark were the veg dishes from the ‘Smoke’ section. We had cauliflower cooked under ash with Rokko Miso, yuzu, clementine, nori, and freshly grated Spanish black winter truffles, and the salsify with Jerusalem artichoke, and saffron & Langhe hazelnut emulsion. Both very nice but just not quite as exciting as the others . You could perhaps just get one veg dish and choose another of the fish dishes from the earlier sections. The scallops especially looked good. Definitely stick around for the Amalfi lemon tart, topped with Oak “burnt” Italian meringue and fresh yuzu – a brilliant dessert.
We were big fans of HUMO. The service was slick, there was a great atmosphere, and being by that fire on a cold March evening was surely one of the best restaurant seats in London. The food is top notch too, with clear dedication and passion radiating from Miller and his team. We’ll be back again for sure.
12 St. George Street, London W1S 2FB