Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Newly opened Uma Nota in SoHo – Brazilian-Japanese fusion

More of a bar with snacks than a restaurant, this place has a laid-back vibe, although it can get busy and noisy. The limited menu offers interesting dishes

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 May, 2017, 12:31pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 May, 2017, 12:31pm

Brazilian-Japanese food is fast becoming popular in Hong Kong with the opening of Djapa, TokyoLima and now Uma Nota in SoHo.

The exterior wall has a mural of a woman with flowers in her hair, beckoning people to come inside. It has a laid-back vibe, with rattan screens and seats and colourful banquette seating.

We got there early, but within an hour it was quite noisy and at one point we almost had to shout to continue our conversation. The place functions more as a bar where customers can have some snacks to complement their drinks, rather than eat a proper meal.

The menu is limited, and didn’t seem as adventurous as Djapa or TokyoLima in terms of the ingredient combinations. First to arrive was the ceviche goa (HK$150), a decent portion for two, featuring chunks of fish, shrimp and calamari, and seasoned with a subtle sauce of coconut milk, curry and cilantro. Unfortunately, the delicate seafood taste was overpowered by too much thinly sliced raw red onion.

Next came three pieces of coxinhas de frango (HK$70) – tear-shaped deep-fried dumplings filled with minced chicken and okra. The filling was substantial, but the accompanying house-made chilli sauce lacked bite.

Yakitori-style beef skewers (HK$90) arrived: two large chunks of beef on each of two skewers, with farofa, or toasted cassava that tasted like corn. The medium-rare beef was juicy, and served with a small bowl of salsa to add more flavour.

Warm morning glory salad (HK$80) seems more Thai than Brazilian-Japanese. The vegetable, sitting in a pool of fish sauce and topped with chillies and cashew nuts, was sweet. Berinjela (HK$180) – a large plate of eggplants sliced in half and covered in miso sauce – were baked and then topped with bits of goat cheese and cashew nuts.

The two dishes would have been good with rice, but it wasn’t available as a side dish.

When we asked for the dessert menu, we were told they didn’t serve any sweets, and they offered us the bill instead. It was strange to rushed out of the restaurant, considering there were a few empty tables and no customers waiting outside. The meal was over in 90 minutes.

However, we did manage to get something sweet in the end – with our bill, our waitress served us some chocolate caramels.

38 Peel Street, Central, tel: 2889 7576

Other places nearby we’ve written about recently:

First impressions of Happy Paradise in SoHo – who pimped that Hong Kong cha chaan teng?

Restaurant review: 12,000 Francs in SoHo – attentive service and delicious modern European food

Bar review: Bobby’s Rabble, SoHo – craft beers, a party vibe and reasonable prices