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Hong Kong restaurant reviews

First impressions of Umami in Hong Kong’s Regal Kowloon: sashimi, sushi and teppanyaki

Sea urchin from Japan, Korea and Canada features in seasonal sashimi platter and tempura dishes, and tender Miyazaki beef with fried garlic chips is a highlight

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 March, 2017, 12:30pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 March, 2017, 12:30pm

The Regal Kowloon in Tsim Sha Tsui East has expanded its culinary offerings with Umami, a new Japanese restaurant named after the so-called fifth taste.

Located on the first floor of the hotel, the restaurant seems stuck in the 1980s with its conservative decor.The large space is sectioned off into dining room, sushi bar and teppanyaki area.

It still hadn’t received its liquor licence so the staff helped us buy sake from a nearby shop. But the prices on Umami’s drinks menu are reasonable, and there is a good choice of bottled Japanese craft beers.

Japan’s ‘fake food’ more appetising than the original

The food selection features sashimi, sushi and teppanyaki, with a focus on sea urchin, shrimp and beef. Our amuse bouche of chopped octopus and cucumbers seasoned with wasabi was a strong kick-start to the evening.

The sea grape salad (HK$180) was a large serving of lettuce, frisée, red cabbage, cherry tomatoes and the aforementioned sea grapes – a type of seaweed that looks like tiny crunchy green grapes – in a light soy dressing.

The seasonal sea urchin sashimi platter (HK$580) featured uni from Japan, Korea and Canada, along with small rectangular pieces of nori.

The largest sea urchin – from Canada – had a strong bitter taste and was best eaten dipped in soy sauce, as was the uni from Korea. The two selections from Japan were the best; although the pieces were small, they had a nice sweetness.

There’s also the sea urchin tempura (HK$200), althoughuni is best eaten fresh and raw. With this dish, either the oil was not hot enough or the batter was too thin, because the exterior was more soft than crunchy. Pink salt accompanied the dish, but the extra seasoning was not needed.

The thick sliced Miyazaki beef (HK$880) was the highlight. The cubes were tender and juicy, and were served with nicely fried garlic chips andeggplant, mushrooms and pumpkin. As with the sea urchin tempura, the accompanying salt was not needed.

Umami

1/F Regal Kowloon hotel, 71 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2613 2138

While you’re in the area:

First impressions of Alzina, Tsim Sha Tsui - Spanish comfort food at its finest

Restaurant review: Chuan Yue Ren Jian in Tsim Sha Tsui – spicy Sichuan

Restaurant review: Hanbando in Tsim Sha Tsui – modern Korean