Having never been to the Far East but being a massive fan of the cuisines, I was excited to be heading to Umami to eat some Malaysian food to my heart’s content.
Umami, located in the Crowne Plaza, is a short walk from Gloucester Road. Delicious smells of exotic food washed over me as I headed in through their lavish entrance. The restaurant features modern decor with a very inspiring theme of red, black and gold furnishings. The restaurant itself is cool and cheerful.
Umami has been around since 2012 and serves delicious and authentic dishes from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. I was told by my host that the word Umami stems from “a pleasant savoury taste”. It’s classed as the 5th taste we experience after sweet, salty, bitter and sour. After those words, I was very excited to get stuck in and opted for the Malaysian set menu which features around 8-9 dishes cooked by head chef Dan.
Our starters came out one by one and our first dish was the delicious and crispy Keropok, which are prawn crackers with a sweet chilli dip. The Keropok was flavoursome, crispy and worked well with the sweet chilli dip.
The famous roti canai came out second and it was a real treat. Buttery and flaky roti cut up into bite-size squares ready to dip in a luscious and spicy lentil broth. The lentil broth packed lots of flavour and the flaky and crispy roti was soft and delicious. I was craving more after!
Next were the tempura lychee, which are stuffed lychees with minced prawn and chicken, deep fried in a light batter and sat on top of a seared scallop. It was utterly delicious, full of flavour, moreish and totally unique – all 3 of the tempura bites vanished quickly.
The final starter was the moist and lightly grilled chicken satay skewers that came with a delicious spicy hot sauce filled with fresh coriander and onion. The chicken was soft and melted in the mouth and the sauce was a lovely accompaniment.
And so we moved onto the next part of our Malaysian adventure, our mains. First up was the classic and well loved beef rendang. Always a firm favourite of mine, it did not disappoint. This classic Malay dish is cooked with coconut milk, lemongrass and turmeric leaves. The beef was tender and the sauce lovely and fresh.
The stir fry bok choy was cooked to perfection. It was beautifully seasoned – with a nice kick and had an added crunch thanks to the crispy onions on top.
The star dish of the night was the delicious Ikan Bakar which is grilled Pengasius fish, wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf served with sweet tamarind and chilli. In between the Pengasius fillets was a spicy coconut concoction that was moreish and decadent. We ate it with rice and the bok choy.
Whilst eating our delicious meal, our waitress recommended the Umami cocktail which consisted of gin, cherry liqueur, ice and a fresh lychee. It was sharp which cleaned the palate between dishes.
We were both extremely stuffed but when our final course came, we couldn’t resist. The Kuih Dada was a coconut and palm sugar-filled crepe – which was pure heaven. The crepes were made from pandan and were thin and soft. The coconut and palm sugar was sweet and crunchy and worked well with the crepes.
If you are looking for a taste of Asia and want to try a variety of food from the far east or just fancy delicious and authentic Malaysian food, then look no further. Umami offers you all that and more. The prices are reasonable, the cocktails delicious and the food is beautifully spiced and seasoned. If you like unique dishes, then go there and try the lychee tempura – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
100 Cromwell Road, London, SW7 4ER