First you have to locate the door, a notoriously difficult task. But once you’ve found it – hidden in a laneway, covered in graffiti, and with not a single sign – you’ll enter another world.
The world of Yu-U is below street level and epitomises underground sophistication. Smooth concrete and polished wood form the backdrop to a central yakitori grill, where the chef works his magic; seated at the bar you’ll have a perfect view as he lavishes attention on each skewer.
There’s barely room for thirty people in this elegant underground bunker so it feels like you’ve entered an exclusive club, and hidden away below the street you could almost swear that you’re in downtown Kyoto. Businessmen unwind over Asahi and mixed plates of perfectly grilled teriyaki bites, while couples linger over sake. Bowls of bright green edamame disappear into the small private dining rooms and mellow jazz pulses in the background.
The service is helpful, polite and so delicately attentive that you’ll barely notice as share plates are whisked away, making room for new items hot off the coals.