Just shy of a year old, The Oberoi’s many restaurants and bars have already become popular outings for evening affairs. While Dubai is full booming with Japanese restaurants, Umai promising a quiet and refined place near the center of town in which to escape during the work week.
I ventured to Umai one day during the week to try the Asian Express Lunch. Umai, which means “good” or “tasty” in Japanese) is a pan-Asian eatery that specializes in Japanese cuisine. In this small, yet sophisticated restaurant, food is prepared in true Asian style with a live culinary round table that allows guests see sushi, sashimi and teppanyaki being prepared live. The place is sparsely decorated with a central dining area and a few tall booths. For those desiring a greater view of the action there are a few tables around the bar near to the live Teppanyaki grill.
We were offered a wet towel and soup to start with. We then opted for a few starter dishes including Cantonese-style dumplings that were made with squid ink dough and were quite flavorful. We were also served a delicious, but filling Asian soup with hand-tossed noodles. For the main, each of us were presented with a charcoal-grilled black cod. Both of us had to rush to other meetings so we finished off with a jasmine tea.
While Umai is still in its teething stage – some dishes were stronger than others, for example, the noodle soup was a bit too heavy for a light lunch, it has potential. What is more is that the tranquil space and seating so close to the open-air kitchen gives an intimate feel to the restaurant – an almost exclusive experience that one doesn’t always get with Asian cooking.
Umai is located at The Oberoi in Business Bay. Tel: +971 44441444