Review: Mami Umami
Can Mami Umami fill the mod-Japanese hole left by its predecessor?
Mami Umami is one of Dubai’s newest dining hotspots, located on the 23rd floor of the Renaissance Downtown Dubai Hotel. It has replaced the much-loved Morimoto, which did a great job marrying western and Japanese food traditions.
This brand-new concept still focuses on Japanese cuisine, but this time fusing Japanese with a modern Latin-American twist. Executive chef Carlos Rodriguez is the brains behind this carefully crafted menu.
The restaurant can be accessed by its own elevator to the left of the hotel entrance and, unlike Morimoto, occupies only the 23rd floor of the hotel. Certain aspects from Morimoto remain, such as the wooden lanterns, dimmed lighting and earthy palette – and we noticed a few nods to the former restaurant on the new menu as well.
To start, we ordered the chicken gyoza (Dhs30) off the hot starters menu – the tiny parcels of dumplings were stuffed with the perfect amount of minced juicy chicken and were not soggy despite being served in shiso dressing.
We were tempted by the waitress to try the spicy tuna taquito (Dhs75) and we were glad we succumbed. The mini-sized tacos held together well and were a delight to eat, filled with tiny pieces of spicy tuna, guacamole and onion that paired perfectly with the chilli aioli and a drizzle of lime juice.
The rock shrimp (Dhs88) also impressed. The bite-sized golden pieces of shrimp were served with dynamite sauce on the side which was a great move, as it does leave a bit of a tingle on the palate.
For mains, we decided to go for the hot fry rice, which arrives in a hot stone bowl, so be careful when you reach out for a serving. The sticky rice is sweet and comes with either shrimp (Dhs135) or beef (Dhs185), but we requested for a vegetarian version as we knew we had an extensive order of maki on the way.
Off the sushi menu, we tried the spicy tuna roll (Dhs52) and spicy salmon roll (Dhs40) – both came with a spicy sauce and avocado and tasted quite similar, but that didn’t stop us from wolfing it down.
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We also ordered a shrimp tempura roll (Dhs44), which was an instant hit at the table, and the soft-shell crab tempura roll (Dhs60), which had a tad too much tobiko (fish roe) for my liking.
For dessert, we zeroed in on the s’more (Dhs60), which contrasted the light and fluffy consistency of marshmallow with the crumbly texture of the graham crackers.
However, the hit of the night was the Tokyo tiramisu (Dhs60). The keto-style dessert includes a green tea tiramisu cake encased in a chocolate ball, which the waiter breaks with a spoon to reveal the delicious goodness inside. Not all spoonfuls contained a slice of the delicious tiramisu sponge, but when we did manage to catch one, it was like hitting the jackpot.
While the views of Downtown Dubai did tempt us, we chose to dine indoors as it was a touch on the humid side, but after paying a visit to the terrace after dinner, we found ourselves making plans to return once the weather cools down.
Mami Umami, Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai, Business Bay, Dubai. Tel: (0)4 512 5555. @mamiumami_dubai
Images: Mami Umami