UMAMI, the latest gastronomical addition to Quinta do Lago, ticks every box.
Intimate yet airy, UMAMI is nestled beside the Ria Formosa Natural reserve, complete with an outdoor terrace and lounge seating where you can feast on artfully presented, mouth-watering variations of sushi, fish, beef, poultry and a plethora of Asian-flared delights all to the backdrop of stunning sunsets and tranquil nature.
In other words: Move over Nobu, UMAMI is in town.
“Inspired by the fishermen of the northern coastal waters of Japan, who grill fish on their boats over hot coals and share with one another using their oars, UMAMI cooks with natural elements to create fresh and creative flavour combinations and serve quality without compromise.”
Start your meal with the perfectly salted edamame, prawn crackers and Szechuan oil along with a libation from the mixologists who are brilliant to watch as they whisk together spices and liquors like wizards of cocktail creation. Try “Energy” - a drink that combines Ocho Silver Tequila, Tamarind, Salty Agave and Kumquat – and goes down like water from Fiji on a hot a day.
A good dumpling starter is a staple at any proper Asian restaurant – it can be the difference between sending diners into bliss or, starting a meal off pissed. UMAMI’s Zhong Pork Dumplings with aromatic spiced sauce and chili oil is sublime, and Zen some. Add to that drool-worthy Crispy Shrimp Tempura, with whipped wasabi and the slides-off the-stick-like-silk Chicken Yakitori and/or Beef Yakiniku. The standout starter is Pork Belly Gochujang served with green apple and fermented chilli that tantalise the tastebuds into an almost-otherworldly state of savoury satisfaction.
It is imperative to sample the vast selection of spellbindingly fresh and sumptuous sushi and sashimi UMAMI has to offer. Depending on your party-size and hunger levels there are a few ways to do try as much as possible– Moriawase Sushi & Sashimi has two options: Kyuurai features 12 pieces including Hossomaki, Niguiri and Uramaki. Amatsu features 26 pieces including Hossomaki, double Niguiri, Uramaki and Sashimi. I opted for the Kyuurai and doubled down by ordering some UMAMI signature rolls, of which you literally cannot choose wrong. The Nagasaki Kunchi—a roll with avocado, tuna, Japanese mayo with Muxama and truffle oil—still has me salivating. As does the creative Ebi signature roll with breaded shrimp, asparagus, avocado and puffed rice. The Umami Special is a roll that is extra nice because it uses salmon twice. This trifecta of mango, Kanpyo, salmon, smoked salmon and truffle oil lives up to its namesake, it is truly something special.
For fine-dining to be extra deserving of praise, attention to the green-eaters mustn’t slip through the cracks. At UMAMI, specialty bowls with tasty tofu and fresh greens for the veggie eaters fit the green bill, as does the dazzling miso glazed aubergine, with orange radish and sake. This said, when I meet to eat, I love my meat. My eyes landed directly on the Wagyu upon first glancing the UMAMI menu. Artfully plated on Blackstone, these precious slices of beef are like superstars, diners go charging at them to get a piece. Accompanied by potato with truffle cream and Mizuna Enoki salad, while it all might sound heavy, it is quite the opposite. The Waygu dish is ethereal as if it floated in from the clouds, and eating it will bring you straight to gastronomical heaven.
Don’t leave UMAMI without a sweet treat. I have a personal panna cotta obsession so naturally, I was thrilled to sample the coconut and ginger panna cotta served with Kaffir oil, wild rice and mango gel. When it comes to panna cotta, I insist you try it here, you simply gotta’.
A beautiful atmosphere with extremely welcoming and enthusiastic service, where the cuisine is without flaw. There is nothing not to love about UMAMI other than not being able to eat here every night of the week.