Date of Visit: April 20 2013
With only a couple of weeks in Sydney before I take off to Kuala Lumpur again, I suggested to a buddy of mine to meet up for dinner at Ume Restaurant in Surry Hills. I was curious to experience a Japanese-Australiana fusion cooking by an Aussie gaijin. How would the taste differ from the Japanese cooking I had the joy of eating in Japan a couple of months prior?
First thing first, finding a spot for my car is always a challenge in Surry Hills especially on a Saturday night. It was exasperating to drive up and down and around Bourke Street AND its surround to find a spot. Luckily, I finally found a space further away. My friend on the other hand was not so lucky, he had to park his car in his office and trek up.
Well, good for us, the rain had stopped and the warm restaurant was welcoming amid the loud atmosphere. It was a full house. Shouting was fun but I was quite hoarse after.
There was a hint of familiarity since this was the old Bistrode Surry Hills’ locale. I had often frequented Friday lunches there. The restaurant still looks very familiar, the cane bar stools are still there, pretty much everything remained the same except for the pink Ume or plum blossoms mural on the wall.
My drink of choice tonight is Tantakatan (Ko-Mugi & Shiso) from Hokkaido, A$8.50. It arrived with soda water on the side and a shiso leaf in the sake. The shiso imparted a sweet aniseed kick in an otherwise very bland drink.
Since neither of us wanted to be bothered with ordering a la carte, the A$85 degustation dinner with 8 courses was perfect.
Food arriveth and out comes my iPhone!
A tartare of seasoned salmon with herbs and citrus on rice crisps.
Sashimi, Australiana-style with the Real McCoy, Shiso and black sesame to seal the deal
Apparently Ume’s signature dish. A single scallop finely sliced with beads of finger limes cooked in brown butter
Shiki no Salad
An earthy plate of root vegetables of undiscernable taste
Izakaya-style of spatchcock breast with an aroma of burnt oil. Crunchy pickled daikon and zesty mayo to cut the oil. Black truffle and sesame sauce hinting at vegemite
Gamey lamb shoulder cooked for 10 hours with plenty of fat on a bed of powder wasabi mixed with pea puree. Nori pieces hinted Japanoise
Signalling the end of our savoury courses. A blast of umami of salty soup and baby sardine mixed in short-grained rice
Home-made green tea custard with watery brown syrup at bottom. Sweet plump blue-berries with caramelised pecan nuts
MATCHA WITH PETIT FOURS
Powdered green tea. Complimentary petit fours of Azuki beans in chocolate rolled in green tea powder
All-in-all, a fantastic evening out playing catch-up with my buddy. Another adventurous meal playing guess the taste!