I’ve always been attracted to the idea of bohemianism, of being unconventional, free-spirited and fun-loving. Bohemians enjoy food, drink, art, culture and life in general. A restaurant that celebrates this vibe with a South American twist is a welcome addition to Hong Kong’s polished dining scene.
Uma Nota is Hong Kong’s only Brazilian–Japanese street food restaurant. It opened this past March and was quickly beloved for its chilled-out vibe and unique bites (check out Foodie's original review of their menu here). I was excited to check out their just-launched Brunch da Rua.
Their concept for brunch is simple. Go out a little too hard on Friday night? Head to Uma Nota with friends and partake in Sábado de boteco, a São Paulo tradition of getting together over drinks and snacks on Saturday morning to cure a hangover. I think the concept works equally well if you’re not hungover but instead have just handed in a long workweek and want to start the weekend off right.
First off, the restaurant is design perfection. Everything, from the street art and tiled steps in front of the restaurant to the colourful art and wallpaper inside, screams fun. It’d be practically impossible to be in a sour mood while sitting in that atmosphere, listening to vibrant music and consuming delicious things.
There’s a small but solid list of drinks for brunch: caipirinhas, cocktails and red and white wines. Our caipirinha of the day ($90) was coconut based and highly loved by our table. The Galo doodle-doo ($90), with Campari, yuzu sake, passion fruit and citrus, was also a good choice: sweet and refreshing.
As for the food, our table started with the ceviche of the day (market price). Ours was made up of pink snapper, calamari and shrimp with a hint of tamarind for spice. It was fresh, light and absolutely delicious. We loved the addition of sesame for a subtle, nutty kick.
The pastéis, Brazilian-style fried wontons, came out piping hot and crisp. While the beef and cheese pastries ($65) were nice and homey, the flavour-packed spinach, mushroom and ricotta cheese version ($65) won our hearts.
There was something so enjoyable about the linguica acebolada ($75). This bowl of sliced smoked sausage was topped with sweet onions that had been softened while being flambéed with cachaca. It was a touch sweet – and absolutely moreish. While this dish came with a side of toasted baguette, I just wanted to eat the sausage on its own.
Our table tried three sets of skewers: shrimp, beef and octopus. The shrimp skewers ($80) were, hands down, our favourite. They were topped with togarashi spice, and I thought I detected a hint of coconut. A squeeze of some charred lime enhanced the taste of the grilled shrimp even more.
That said, both the beef and the octopus were close seconds. The beef skewers ($90) were tender and accompanied by farofa, a toasted cassava mixture extremely popular in Brazil, and a fresh salsa. The octopus ($90) was extremely fresh and delicious. I only wish there had been more of the piquant herb sauce served with it.
Our last dish was the costela de porco ($300) – a large plate of ribs with a cold potato salad. The meat was juicy, and I enjoyed the fragrant, slightly spicy marinade.
Uma Nota has brought something new to my list of brunch options. With its chilled-out, bohemian São Paulo vibe and delicious food and drink, it’s a great place to enjoy a lazy day. Try it while you can, as Brunch da Rua is only available from 12–3:30pm on Saturdays until 26 August 2017.
38 Peel Street, SoHo, Central, 2889 7576 (no bookings)
This post also appears on jenniexplores.com