|Mille-feuille of dark Hazelnut Chocolate
Gurgaon has had an explosion of multi-cuisine eateries, especially at the DLF Cyber city and the Golf Course Road. What is common to most of them is their tendency to clone each other. So there is the regulation mezze platter with minor variations, chicken tikka with minor variations, and chilly chicken-hakka noodles with no variation. In this multitude of mediocrity, a gem of excellence has finally landed in Gurgaon.
Umami is a Japanese word meaning “pleasant savory taste”. Add some ‘mmmm’ to it, and it would quite sum up the eating experience at the recently opened Ummami, situated above the Mercedes Benz showroom at the Golf Course Road. The restaurant serves some fine Japanese food, along with wood fired Pizzas, Pasta, Asian, Mediterranean, and of course, Indian dishes – all at reasonable prices. And a fine selection of wines and cocktails.
The interiors are tasteful and elegant – an elegance that has been carried through to the menu and the presentation of the food as well. The 148 covers are interspersed with live counters dishing out sushi and teppenyaki, an Indian kebab grill, a wood fired pizza oven, and a cold kitchen dishing out fresh salads. The real star here, however, is the food – uniformly good, with fresh ingredients that have been treated with the kind of love and care that they deserve, and an aesthetic presentation.
There is a vast selection of sushis and sashimis (individually priced at Rs 180-450), that includes salmon, tuna, yellow tail, fatty tuna, scallops, octopus, flying fish caviar, and salmon roe. All of them are delightful, but some are truly memorable. The octopus sashimi has a wonderful texture – chewy, yet with a crunch and a bite. A bite into the flying fish caviar is like a deep sea adventure – it starts on a soft, musty tone and then the roe starts popping on the tongue, leading to a real umami experience. The tempura moriawase platter (Rs 650), a selection of prawns, squid, scallops, sea bass, broccoli, bell peppers, baby corn, eggplant, and asparagus, is a statement in restraint, creating an understated, authentic experience.
The assorted premium mushrooms pizza with balsamic drizzle (Rs 500) is all a good wood-fired thin crust pizza should be, and is well seasoned. The carpaccio of pickled beet, crumbled goat cheese, black olives, pomegranate reduction (Rs 250) has a markedly provencal whiff, transporting one to the sunny cote d’azur. The nut crumbed snapper fillet with yellow pepper coulis and tomato compote (Rs 400) is a masterpiece. A bite into the flaky, delicately grilled fillet of fish with crispy ribbons of vegetables, crunchy nut crumbs and a tangy compote of sun-dried tomatoes creates a medley in the mouth. From the oriental section, the sheer succulence of the prawns lifts the jumbo prawn schezwan (Rs 950) out of the ordinary.
|Carpaccio of Pickled Beet
The gourmet experience continues with the Paneer Tikka in a trio of marinades, flame grilled (Rs 400). The sheer quality of the paneer lifts this dish to a foodie heaven. The three marinades of mango pickle, mint chutney and cheese & tomato, and a perfect caramelized grilling makes it by far the best Paneer Tikka available in Gurgaon. The same however cannot be said for the Lal Mirch ka Murg Tikka (Rs 450) and Dora Kebab (Rs 600), which though well cooked, are otherwise pretty much ordinary. The taste of the Murg Khatta Pyaaz (Rs 500) gets hijacked by the khatta pyaaz. The tomato Pappu (Rs 250) is pleasant, and Dal Makhni (Rs 250) is….well…..Dal Makhni.
Umami’s winning streak continues with the desserts. The guava Panna Cotta (Rs 200) is light and bursting with the flavour of guava. The star anise centered white chocolate Baozi (Rs 200), a dim sum looking thingy is a pleasant, comforting surprise as it bursts open in the mouth with its sweet nectar. The pretty looking Mille-Feuille of dark hazelnut chocolate and gooseberry mousse (Rs 280) looks pretty on the plate – but is difficult to navigate because of a tough pastry base. The Rhubarb Crumble (Rs 250) has fresh rhubarb that is piquant, and goes well with the sweet crumble.
In overall terms, Ummami is highly recommended. It has a perfect combination of delectable food, great interiors, and a service with a smile.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 4.5, Ambiance: 4.5, Value: 3.5| Overall: 4.0
Meal for Two: Rs 2000 (without alcohol) | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes| Happy Hours: No
Address: 1st Floor, Global Foyer, Golf Course Road, Sector 43, Gurgaon | Phone: 0124 4558000, +91 9958810000
– Aalok Wadhwa
This article was first published in Suburb Magazine, Gurgaon