Since my husband is so not adventurous with food, and since my mom is visiting the UAE right now, this dinner was a mother-daughter affair. I must say, she really loved it! We were warmly welcomed by the staff and seated at the teppanyaki table. Although we did witness a few amazing tricks during the course of the dinner, most of our dishes came from inside the kitchen.
Usually what comes to mind when I think of Japanese food is sushi, so when I headed over to try out the limited time offer Hokkaido menu at Umai, I was expecting mainly sushi dishes. I was wrong! None of the 12 dishes included sushi whatsoever; instead each dish was an artfully crafted and Japanese specialty that was just the right size to keep us satisfied until the following course. All of the ingredients come fresh, straight from the island of Hokkaido everyday. The server explained to us that Hokkaido is known for its milk and rice products, so each of the dishes presented to us at the dinner would include one of those ingredients. By the way, yes you read right– it is 12 courses! It may seem like too much, but Umai devised the menu so that the portions are just perfect enough for you to not get too full until the very end of the meal.
Here is a list of the items on the menu:
I was able to enjoy all of them, but being super pregnant, I of course had to opt out of having the sashimi dish. Ah, the sacrifices of a mother… Nonetheless, the menu was absolutely amazing and I really enjoyed all of the dishes. Among my absolute favorites were the cheese spring roll and cream croquette:
The sauce that came with the spring roll was to die for and the filling of the croquette is something I could have eaten again and again! If given the choice to have more, I would have filled myself up on just these!
The other starter that really stands out in the Hokkaido menu is the deeeeelish sweet corn soup with king crab. This is not your run-of-the-mill sweet corn soup that you can order from your local Chinese take-out restaurant. The quality of this soup is something else! It has the texture of pumpkin soup but the flavors of sweet corn, asparagus, and fresh crab.
The grilled salmon with salt and kelp is another dish that I must mention here. It was made in a way that is so different from any of the other preparations; the salmon was wrapped in kelp and then cooked in the center of a huge ball of salt. In order to eat the salmon, you must unravel the wrapping of salt and then the kelp. Make sure not to get any of the salt on the salmon itself, otherwise you really will only taste the salt! Definitely something different…
Now for the mains– we had a beef dish and also a cod dish, but I must say, the cod was my favorite of the two.
The dish was such a beautiful display of colors and flavors. The cod was cooked to perfection! Do you see the art on the dish? It’s part of your meal! That’s black squid ink! Mom and I definitely enjoyed this one!
Dessert came soon after in the form of two courses– one was a beautiful array of fresh fruits and the other was a ball of fried ice cream. What a perfect way to end the meal. Although it was 12 courses, I did not feel that it was too overwhelming at all. That could all account to the fact that I am eating for two, but I really think the portions were well-studied for this menu.
I suggest all Japanese food lovers get to Umai soon to try out this Hokkaido special menu, as the offer will be gone quite soon!! It is a bit expensive at 390 Dhs per person, but if you are into Japanese food, you will not want to miss out!
To book, call 04 444 1444.