Creative Japanese Food with a Hint of Germany at UMI, Taikoo Hui

[This venue has since been closed and substituted with yet another hot pot restaurant]

Taikoo Hui has been positioning itself as a fine dining mall nestling various high-end restaurant concepts that aim at satisfying the palates of Shanghai’s most discerning diners. UMI Restaurant & Terrace is the latest addition to Taikoo Hui, offering a German-influenced Japanese menu crafted by the outgoing Executive Chef Bjoern Alexander.

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Through the restaurant’s private elevator, diners access UMI’s refined space which is equipped with a gorgeous terrace, perfect for the warmer months. The sleek interiors are conceptualized by RED Design, an award-winning architecture firm responsible, among others, for the airy design at Ascott’s Highline. The ample, polished sake bar is perfect for solo dining.

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Their omakase set menus allow for an experience which is authentic to Chef Bjoern’s culinary mission. The choice is among 5 courses for RMB 488, 6 courses for RMB 688 and and 8 courses for RMB 888. Sake or wine pairing programs are also available.

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During my visit at UMI I had the 8-course menu plus some hits from the regular à la carte. The omakase starts with a bite of heavenly, pristine, raw seafood: the Oyster / Uni / Caviar is everything I hold most dear in my heart, all in one bite.

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As per Japanese tradition, we move on to the Sashimi with a selection of three cuts. The personal touch from Chef Bjoern is to serve it with a dollop of ginger jelly that adds a tad of vibrancy to the top quality raw fish.

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Chef’s Bjoern signature dish is the Foie Gras / Raspberry / Ginger / Rose Petals. He’s indeed very protective of this complex recipe of miso-marinated foie gras cubes, rolled into a flakey German baumkuchen pastry and garnished with pickled rose petals.

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The Snow Crab / Truffle / Uni / Steamed Egg / Lime Cream dish that we were served right after is utter perfection. The generous amount of uni and chawanmushi-inspired steamed egg is enriched and elevated with Yunnan truffle. In a perfect, parallel universe this’d be my daily afternoon snack.

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Hands down my favorite dish is a new entry on the à la carte menu, the Codfish / Sweet Potato / Squid (RMB 198), a beautifully buttery and impeccably white poached codfish topped with crispy purple potato and wrapped in banana leaf.

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From the à la carte menu, I highly suggest to order the Mussels Pot with Sakura Shrimp Dashi. The flavor-packed broth reminds of exotic Tom Yum soups with a strong lemongrass infusion and a hint of spiciness. At RMB 188 this generous one kilo portion is perfect for sharing with a few friends.

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Another dish for sharing, the Crab and Uni Rice / Truffle / Garlic (RMB 228) is hearty and filing.

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UMI is as much about the food as it is about the drinks. The sake list is a comprehensive selection that will satisfy the pickiest of connoisseurs, as is the whiskey section, too. Besides, their signature cocktails are perfectly balanced and precisely executed.

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The Chandon Shiso Spritz (RMB 98) made with shiso infused Apreol, rose shrub and Chandon rosé is bubbly and refreshing, perfect to get your evening started.

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The Smoked Ring (RMB 118) made with steeped black tea Shochu, Mancino Vermouth and a garnish of dried ham, is a more contemplative drink with complex, long-lasting bitterness.

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The Torch Me Up (RMB 98) made with Burbon, Crème de Cacao Brown and torched kefir lime leaves is great to enjoy after your meal at their lounge area.

Overall UMI impresses for the open-minded, playful but respectful approach to Japanese traditional cuisine. The successful addition of German elements stimulates diners’ curiosity, leaving them satisfied and craving for more.

Address:
288 Shimen Yi Lu, TaiKoo Hui, 3/F, Room L321&L401, near Nanjing Xi Lu
石门一路288号兴业太古汇3楼L321&L401室, 近南京西路
Telephone:021 5220 3082

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