-By Rashmi Uday Singh
What does Umami feel like? Could it be what Im feeling on a wintery Jodhpur night now? Am feasting on the Royal Marwar thali in the romantic rooftop restaurant atop the Indo Sarcenic Umaid Bhawan palace which soars into the silent desert sky. Jodhpur swoons in delight below, the flaming red setting sun shimmers into twilight as the complex rich flavors of Royal recipes implode in my mouth. Umami" the most luxurious gourmet adjective comes alive here. Does it do so in the brand new "Umame" in Churchgate? Pedigreed well-travelled gourmet guests from one of Mumbai's most well-known families, Anil C Kilachand (passionate about cooking) took time off his busy work schedule to dine with us. Indira,a doting granma of three, active in Indus, gave us her opinion on the vegetarian fare here. We had a great time and great food but did "Umame" deliver umami?
One more success story from chef-owner Farokh Khambatta. Having hooked his regulars with Joss (now closed), Amadeus and Cafe at NCPA, he very recently set up Umame on the so called "jinxed" location of Starters and More and Valhalla in Churchgate. Umame sprawls in a large dimly lit hall with high-backed chairs, light box images of skyscrapers on the ceiling and a stylish black marble bar. In the cooler months the alfresco balcony is a great option.
Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Burmese, Chinese and Japanese fare here.After systematic eating over four meals, here's what came out consistently tops: the superlative, impeccably cooked Iberian pork belly with whispers of sweetness of honey garlic glaze. Outstanding Massaman curry dense with flavor and creamy in texture, the plumpest of scallops with prawns too. Burmese Khaosuey fans this is your mecca, seven accompaniments enliven the curried coconutty soup. Sushi buffs can look forward to new style sushi as well as Nigiri ( Sunset boulevard sushi recommended). New style sashimi (must try yellow fin tuna).The menu winds through many a delight, dimsum ( go for crispy prawn cheung fun with chive paste) succulent Barbecue chicken Asian style, New Zealand lamb shank and more. Indira agreed that the vegetarian gourmet is well taken care of (Nappa valley roll New style sushi, hosomaki, mango and avocado recommended)dim sum (must try Crispy sui mai water chestnuts, crispy cheung fun) main courses (ask for ma po tofu, Peruvian white asparagus, prosperity wheat noodles). For desserts , it's the Mille feuille with berries and honey balsamic glaze that comes out tops with its airy lightness and fruitiness. While the chocolate rich My sweetest mistake is okayish, the hot chocolate kahlua souffle fares better.
The downsides? Both at lunch and at dinner, we found the place too dark, tables set too close to each other and its so packed that it can get noisy. The long, winding menu confuses, some of the dimsum are patchy, inconsistent quality of the crispy duck with pancakes, the icky green tea tiramisu.
Umame is already drawing packed houses. Umame lives up to it's name of Umami which describes the fifth taste (after sweet, sour, bitter and salty) the most gourmet of adjectives, We'll be back."
Review posted within last 6 month
Umame was packed on a Tuesday Night! ~were there from 9 pm to 11 pm ~tables too close to each other ~quite noisy with kids too ~Attentive & Quick Service though a bit steep pricing ~the Ingredients tasted nice and fresh~ Exceptional Veg Soups and quite filling Rs 280 to Rs 350 (Trio Mushroom with water chestnuts,Tamarind ),and even the Veg Khowsuey (Rs 450 I think) with seven toppings & Main Course Rs 350 to Rs 450 (Prosperity Noodles with Brocoli,Two other Veg dishes in different sauces) ~pity they did not have Asparagus that day~skipped desserts as they had arranged a complimentary anniversary cake for our friends who had invited us~we were seven of us ~order smartly and share and it will not pinch you more than it does ! ~ Non Veg of course is steeper
Favorite Dishes / Drinks: Exceptional Veg Soups
Review posted more than 6 month ago
Went there with great hopes thinking that Joss was so great. It is a huge place and ambience is good. there is elegance flowing out there. But the food was what I went for.
Order the sushi and dimsums but found the sushi very disappointing. It did not taste fresh at all. It was as it was kept in the fridge and then served.
the Tangy mocktail the burnt garlic vegetable soup were fairly good, and the stuffed bun was nice. but I went for sushi and that did not come anywhere close to what i have eaten in other places in this city.
Review posted more than 6 month ago
Umame is a nice Pan Asian restaurant that has a very good collection of popular wines, some of which are imported from abroad. For me and my friends wine is the biggest motivation to come to this place. With my wine I love nibbling on Napa Valley sushi and cottege cheese cubes with ginger. The Churchgate location is very apt for any restaurant and Umame is a bright and happening place during weekends. I am planning to throw my birthday party here.
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