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We recently revisited this popular neighbourhood haunt to sample the new menu items inspired by the recent “Umakase” dining experience created by Chef Gustavo Vargas. The limited-time Umakase dinner menu may have already passed, but plenty of favourites from the menu have remained on the à-la-carte selection.
Our tasting began with a round of drinks, ranging from the refreshingly tart Maracua ($100), a mixture of cachaca, lime, sugar and passionfruit, to the Yoisho ($90), a blend of botanicals infused with Yaguara Branca cachaca, pink grapefruit, pomegranate, Peychaud’s bitters, tonic water and basil, to, finally, Batābasu ($100), a dark, butter-washed bourbon mixed with coffee sake, cassia bark syrup and Angostura bitters.
To whet our appetites, we started with the hamachi, squid and prawn ceviche (market price), followed by the new grilled tuna loin ($260) in an addictively creamy, katsuobushi (bonito flakes) emulsion, topped with Biquinho chilli. A simple grilled okra and yuba salad ($75) featured two textures of tofu skin, dressed in ginger-garlic oil and rice vinegar. Our favourite had to be the tuna loin for the contrast of the creamy sauce against the silky texture of the raw fish.
The skewers arrived next, ranging from mozzarella skewers ($75) set on top of creamy avocado aioli and dusted in togarashi spice to beef ($110) nestled atop crunchy corn farofa. Our favourite, however, was the chicken skewers ($85), featuring super-juicy chicken thigh meat topped with pickled young ginger. It was so good, in fact, that we ordered seconds.
Another new addition to the menu is the Okinawa tomato ($140), interwoven with pickled radish and crunchy heart of palm, then topped with crispy shallot and seaweed.
A popular seaside snack in Brazil, the soft-shell crab ($95) featured fat chunks of freshly fried crustacean on a bed of yuzu mayo dusted in nori powder. This dish was an enticing, indulgent treat.
The Berinjela 2.0 ($110) is a Jenga tower of aubergine tempura drizzled with miso glaze and sprinkled with sharp goat’s cheese. We love eggplant, but this gigantic dish was a bit too overwhelming, even for us.
The Uma Nota nigiri ($150) looks like sushi but is so much more. Topped with juicy, seared slices of A5 Australian Wagyu, the traditional rice portion of the sushi is swapped for deep-fried cassava croquette, making for a sinfully decadent mouthful of juicy meat and crunchy carbs.
Served with much fanfare, the ube cheesecake ($95) comes with Hokkaido milk ice cream, the latter of which is made tableside with dry ice and a pitcher of milk. We found the cheesecake to be quite light although lacking in pronounced flavour. We were bigger fans of the ice cream.
Uma Nota is a delicious neighbourhood joint that has proven consistently delicious over the years. We like the new additions to the menu and the cheerful, relaxed vibe of the place and will certainly be back for another casual gathering.
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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