Wednesday, August 17, 2016

First Bite: UMU Japanese Restaurant, Dusit Thani

I hardly visit Makati on a weeknight as I try my best to avoid wrinkles caused by stress and road rage. But this whole I-will-not-go-to-Makati is often forgotten when the words "free food" is in the picture. Oh gluttony, no wonder you’re part of the seven capital sins. Anyway, R invited me to join him, his parents and some of their company’s VPs for dinner at Dusit Thani. And since we’re talking about good food, I quickly said yes.
Hello, UMA!
UMA is Dusit Thani’s Japanese restaurant tucked inside the ground floor of the fancy looking hotel. We were welcomed by wait staff donned in kimonos and they quickly ushered us inside the huge restaurant. 
It is well decorated and every corner looks very Japanese. 
We spotted private dining rooms with Japanese sliding doors, a Japanese stone garden and lovely orchids on our way to our teppan table.
The teppan area is a bit cramped so make sure that you have done your business before sitting down. 
First served was our fish appetizer on some salty clear sauce. It didn’t really leave much impression except that the fish was rather chewy because of its skin.
The ginormous California Maki was served next and it made me wonder if I was just hungry but it was pretty good. The Japanese rice was delectable and wasn’t the type that would make you think if you were munching on rice or paste. 
The mango, kani and other ingredients also delighted my tastebuds. 
A dish which seemed to be more Thai than Japanese was served next and it tasted like spring rolls with its thick peanut-y sauce. 
I liked its fresh and somewhat healthy taste though. 
While indulging in quality maki and roll, we got a whiff of the sukiyaki’s aroma which was being prepared behind us. 
We could feel our tastebuds going crazy, yearning to devour the sweet broth and tender meat. And it did not disappoint.
The broth was very flavorful and sweet making it the perfect soup to be paired with the fresh veggies which were lighter in taste. The thin slices of meat were very soft and simply divine that I felt a tear drop from my eye. It was just a bit too savory to be enjoyed alone. It sure made me crave for rice the whole time I was finishing my bowl
The teppan show started while we were preoccupied picking every morsel off our bowls. 
First prepared were the squid and lapu-lapu fillet in butter garlic and teriyaki sauce and Japanese fried rice. 
The squid and lapu-lapu were undeniably fresh texture-wise but were sadly overpowered by the sauce. The sauce was overwhelming and the dish became a bit too sweet. 
I had to make sure that each bit of seafood was followed by a mouthful of rice to offset the strong sweet taste. 
At least the tempura was great. It had a nice crispy batter and the prawns used were fresh, long and thick unlike those you get cheap from other restaurants. 
Steak and veggies were prepared next and I had high expectations for this one as it was the last dish to be served. UMU got high ratings from other foodies so this was the last dish to convince me to give a better than average rating. 
After healing my broken heart for not witnessing any tricky teppan moves, I began to savour my steak. 
It was good. It was succulent and the steak dip further enhanced the taste of the meat. However, it was was not that remarkable for me to brave the traffic for. R commented the same thing and kept mentioning Buta+Wagyu for its mouthwatering cuts and crazy marbling. 
To cap the meal, we were given ube ice cream (because ube is the new matcha) and it tasted just like Magnolia’s ube ice cream. I’m not complaining though as I love Magnolia’s version as they use Good Shepherd’s ube jam.

Overall, it was a filling and lovely meal. However, it didn’t impress me as much as Tsumura Sushi Bar and Nihonkai Tsukiji did. I’ll be back, though not anytime soon.

UMU is located at Ground Floor, Dusit Thani, EDSA Avenue, Makati City.

Umu - Dusit Thani Manila Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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