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During this time of the year, a lot of us would normally be flocking to Japan to witness the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. I miss seeing the petals floating in the gentle, warm air and the streets covered in pink!
Bringing hanami season to us and celebrating their fourth anniversary, Brazilian-Japanese restaurant Uma Nota has collaborated with Chef Max Levy of laid-back izakaya Okra to create this multi-course Sakura brunch ($500/person; +$195 for 90-minute beer + bubbles free-flow or +$245 to include cocktails).
Filled with lots of natural light, pops of colour and a cool vibe, Uma Nota is always a prime spot for brunch, even more so now with all the cherry blossoms bedecking the place.
To begin brunch, we recommend trying the pretty-in-pink hanami highball, which was specifically created for this collaboration. It’s a light, low-alcohol cocktail made with rose sake, sakura liqueur, ginger beer and cherry blossom flowers – sweet and floral all round.
There’s a lot of food! Brunch consists of multiple sharing plates, starting from sushi and maki, moving on to raw dishes and mains and ending with a dessert platter. Here are some highlights:
Unagi dice: earthy grilled eel is placed atop avocado maki, accented with Brazil nuts and sansho pepper, which adds a tangy, citrusy kick.
Hirame usuzukuri: slices of tender flounder sashimi are served with an umami-packed dressing that has the unique addition of kombu salt and a punchy Brazilian-style salsa, heavy on the parsley. This dish is filled with a lot of different flavours, and I loved the inventive combination of sauces used.
Tuna ribbon ceviche: fatty tuna is marinated in leche de tigre, a citrus-based, spicy marinade, alongside baby corn, okra and coriander. We enjoyed the fresh flavours and varied textures here.
Yakisu skirt steak: we liked the mix of sweet and savoury flavours in this dish, but the skirt steak was too chewy for our liking.
Sanbaizu lamb with miso anticucho sauce: tender, charcoal-grilled lamb chops are generous in size, marinated in vinegar and a savoury miso paste. This dish was impressive, but we would have preferred the meat to be medium rare versus the medium to well-done chops that we received.
The dessert platter is straightforward. We liked the use of sakura plum in the matcha cheesecake, which was soft and fluffy. A rainrdrop cake containing cherry blossoms comes with toasted Brazil nut crumble.
Uma Nota continues to create cool Brazilian-Japanese dishes that utilise a lot of fresh ingredients and colour. To celebrate cherry blossom season in Japan, I like how the team has incorporated sakura into the desserts and cocktails without overpowering any of the other flavours. However, a few dishes were hit-and-miss and could be punchier in flavour with the addition of citrus or salt.
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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