This for me was the Zest of Gurgaon. Now I don't know if that is a label they want to stick with or draw away from. I for one mean it well. Especially since its newer and friendlier. And by that I do mean it leaves Zest's snobbery behind in Delhi! Newly opened this huge sleek space manages to be contemporary yet comfortable.
They have a lunch buffet everyday. Where as dinner is a la carte. We skipped the buffet because to me a buffet is always a mediocre reflection on what the restaurant can do. You have that food just sitting there coagulating and yet we all get enticed and fall for it. Buffets are a foodie's quicksand!
However, as I glanced at the overbearingly huge menu I thought "My god there is no way they can make so many things and do it well." And we hadn't even gotten to the separate Sushi Menu yet! Thankfully the food cleared most of those doubts. I still recommend they slim the menu down because it would be nice if deciding a meal was a little less stressful...
We really pigged out here. And out of all the things we ate there were only 2-3 downers, which really isn't a bad record. Especially in my books!
- Babaganoush, Cacik, Beetroot Hummus - Cacik is Turkish yoghurts based dish similar to Tzatziki. All three were full of flavour, just the right consistency ... wonderful. Definitely start with around of these three dips.
- Beetroot Carpaccio w/ Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Dressing -This was a great salad. Whether you like beets or not you should try it. The beets had been cooked and sliced in to something so thin that it allowed the flavour to mellow out nicely. Very refreshing.
- Spicy Asparagus Tempura Rolls - This is one of the few.. probably the only .. vegetarian roll I allow myself to waste belly-space with. You can't go too wrong with it normally and today was certainly not the exception to that. In other words go ahead and order it!
- Shrimp Nigiri, Fatty Tuna (Toro) Sashimi, Salmon Sashimi, Crispy Salmon Skin Roll - Firstly a round of applause for the freshness of most of the seafood. The Toro could have been a little pinker rather than that purpley brown but tasted fresh nonetheless. I am not normally a fan of Shrimp in its raw form because of this pasty texture it turns to in your mouth, but I didn't mind it this time. The crispy salmon skin was interesting, keep in mind for those of you that cannot handle fishiness, the skin is normally more pungent than the flesh.We also ordered a bacon something roll that sounded very interesting but sadly it never came, will try it next time for sure.
- Unagi Nigiri - This was my favourite. Not just out of the sushi section but out of everything! The eel was so amazingly fresh and buttery it literally melted in your mouth. Wonderful, I wish I ended my meal with this so the taste could have lingered in my mouth a little longer. Mmmmm
- Whole Fried Fish w/ Spicy Sauce - This was ok. Even though the flour coating was crisp I found it too thick and the fish got a little lost inside. The sauce was a bit over spiced and seasoned too. But to be fair my friend did quite like this dish so it clearly works for some.
- Galouti - We thought we should give the Indian food a shot too. And with all this food some kebabs would be easiest to squeeze in. Unfortunately this was my least favourite dish. Galouti require a mix of several very aromatic spices. So combining all these spices can be tricky to keep balanced. They sadly toppled over. The meat had the right melt-in-your-mouth texture, but I couldn't taste the meat itself just a lot of cloves and spices.
- Assorted Mushroom Pizza - This wasn't bad but since they've invested in a special brick oven they should perhaps invest a little more in the recipe and ingredients. The crust, sauce, cheese were all just ok. The mushrooms were no fun at all, I could only taste some button mushrooms and shiitake. They hadn't cooked the shiitake enough and it is a fairly tough mushroom so it detracted more than it added to this pizza.
- Confit of Duck Leg w/ Red Pepper Jam & Poached Pears in Red Wine - Confit refers to anything cooked in its own fat and salts, traditionally a way in which to preserve meat. This duck leg was apparently slow cooked for 7 hours. A perfect duck leg confit would have crispy golden skin and meat so tender it breaks at contact. So they got the first part right and but the meat could have been a little more tender and moist, especially since it had been cooked for several hours. The flavours were nice, I thought the poached pears could have been a tad sweeter.
- Tofu Yam Fried w/ Hoisin & Mayo - Sorry guys I actually cannot remember the exact name for this but it was delicious. Initially I was a skeptic, I mean a carnivore like myself digging in to some hippie dippie tofu nonsense and then when i saw the amount of mayo and sauce I thought perhaps it would be too much. BUT I not only loved this crispy tofu yamness but found myself doing a few double dips in to the gooey gunk of sauce! This was really yummy and you should try it vegetarian or not...
- Seared Scallop w/ Beans, Apples and Olive Jam . The olive jam was delicious too, wouldn't have minded a bit more of it in fact.
- Mille Feuille - Starting from the bottom layer; Chocolate with hazelnut - Best and tastiest layer, topped w/ gooseberry, mascarpone mousse - Biggest problem here was the texture, it was most "Un-Mousse" like. In fact it had this weird rubbery texture that resisted a seductive melt down on your tongue. The next layer is the pastry, which essentially is the key ingredient in a traditional mille feuille, it actually gets it names from the many layers of a puff pastry. Now this was no puff pastry but a hard pastry lacking the fluffy crumbliness and with the unwanted flavour of something stale. Finally a layer of Raspberry compote and dark chocolate which were both ok. Due to the uneven consistencies presented through each layer it was impossible to get every layer in a spoonful. It was beautifully presented sadly that is all the praise I can give it.
- Baozi w/ Corn, White Chocolate, Five Spice Infused w/Star Anise- These Dumplings are made from chestnut flour and and this is their own little creation. I am glad the chef recommended this because I may not have ordered it otherwise. It turned out to be my favourite dessert. The creamy spiced corn combined with the dumpling skin - great stuff. The chocolate too was subtle disallowing it from becoming too heavy a dessert. I wonder if it was intentional that the dumpling skin was al dente though?
- Watermelon Kalakand -Interesting. After seeing the scary pink colour I did think it would be worse than it was but it was actually quite nice. The basil and black pepper with the watermelon was all quite harmonious. Get it if you are craving an Indian dessert. Worth a try.
I definitely recommend Umami to all, whether in Gurgaon or not. My only complaint besides the overwhelmingly large menu was with the service. Though friendly it was very shoddy in every other way. I would have liked to give them a break on this because they are new but when on numerous occasions the waiters had no idea about the dishes on the menu it really ticked me off. The final straw was when I asked the waiter what a certain dish was as it had no description just a exotic sounding name he simply said "This is .." and then just repeated the dish's name as if if I heard it from another persons mouth it might make any sense. They really need to send those waiters to Restaurant Boot-Camp asap!
You can go to Umami for a casual lunch, or a nice dinner date. It has something for everyone. Value for money with its great variety, using the freshest of ingredients. Two thumbs up. Now lets just hope it stays this way!
88008 90963, 0124-4558000
1st Floor, Global Foyer Building Golf Course Sector-43, Gurgaon
Labels: European, Healthy Options, Indian, Japanese, Multi-Cuisine, Pizza, Sushi