Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Ume, Surry Hills

Time and time again, big name restaurants have closed down due to the turbulent economic climate but that hasn't stopped Surry Hill's latest offering- Ume from popping up amongst the ranks of the great eateries around the area. It has big shoes to fill as it replaces the former Bistrode's impressive nose to tail food affair with the technically dense seafood driven cuisine that is Japanese.

The minimalist japanese influences take centre stage immediately as you enter the restaurant as the theme of serenity decorates the restaurant with its beautiful pink plum blossoms (very befittingly called ume) and clean presentation, very much a reflection of the food that is to come. Japanese sake and beers make a dominant appearance with half the restaurant segregated into a bar and kitchen area. Not a set of chef whites in sight here as the regular attire is happi coats.

Salmon Tartare 16
The salmon tartare seems a bit lazy with some of the pieces inconsistently cut but becomes nicely textural with the crunchiness of the red onions and little pops of roe. 

Seared ScallopSoy brown butter, Finger lime, Wood sorrel, Organic Nori 19
Easily what will be one of their specialities, every ribbon of scallop is arranged to be a petal of a flower with little wood sorrel leaf butterflies prancing about. They are prized for their buttery texture and delicate flavour, cleanly dressed in soy and brown butter. Special mention goes to the pink finger limes which gave off little pops of bursting acidity and sweetness and were truly delightful.

Tako West Australian “Giant” Octopus, Slow Braised & Lightly Charred, Simmered  Daikon, Cucumber and Sansho pepper 18
Arranging the cucumber and daikon in a cross seems a bit forced, whereas a tumble would have felt more natural. In eyeing the larger pieces of octopus, the use of chopsticks can be quite unsettling when a knife would nicely do but you come to realise the pieces are so soft and tender that barely any cutting or biting is necessary. The nicely charred exterior is contrasted with the almost creamy insides that have resulted from being sous-vide in it's own seawater, beautifully dressed with a flavour very much akin to the numbing lemony tones of szechuan.

Cone Bay Barramundi Shiro dashi butter poached ‘Barra’ Baby Kabu, Crisp Wakame Sea Flora, Soy & Yuzu dressing 32
The barramundi was gorgeously cooked, dense and meaty, appropriately accompanied by an arrangement of sea vegetables but the fascinating crisp wakame has to be the highlight. A simply outstanding main.

Ami-Yaki Wagyu Mayura Station Wagyu 9+ Roast Sesame Emulsion, Grilled Green onions, Native Bottle Brush, Shiso Ponzu 42
Beautifully presented, the wagyu was as it should be, melting, tender and extensively marbled. The grilled leeks provided a pleasant smokiness and white snow (turns out it was wagyu fat) gave off a distinctive richness but an odd consistency; not quite melting but sticking. Very well executed and it would probably be the go to dish if a return visit was in the works.  

Small Chef’s Selection of Mixed Nigiri Sushi – 4 Pieces 12
Served last, the nigiri selection was as fresh as can be but be warned, the somewhat innocent display of nigiri traditionally hides a vicious ball of wasabi underneath so if you're going to be a hero and chuck in some more on the side...

Sea Urchin Sushi 7.5
The nori was a bit tough but there was no overshadowing the sea urchin, slightly bitter and buttery with the distinguishing taste of the sea.

Kaki Fresh Persimmon, Christmas Bush Honey, Roast tea jelly, “Rice cream”, Native Violets, Kinako 14 
I feared the freshness of cooked fruits are often lost but the excellently roasted, intensely sweet persimmon retained some of that bite and balances extremely well with the more tart dehydrated raspberries and neutrality of the ice cream which made it feel somewhat decadent but at the same time cleansing.

Dark Chocolate ‘Terrine’ Michel Cluizel 70% Dark Chocolate,  Ginger & Rose petal ice cream, Whipped Matcha, Macadamia nuts15 
The thick slab of chocolate terrine had a texture between hard and thickly fudgey but loosens itself a little with the inclusion of the deeply aromatic green tea cream and fragrant ginger ice cream. I say ginger instead of rose because ginger is often quite a dominant flavour, you get the ginger hit first but rose flavour just becomes an after thought but i'm glad it wasn't lost.

Not being much of a tea connoisseur, it tasted like normal tea. 

Throughout the night, the pacing felt appropriate but the service can often be vaguely impassive and at the same time the waiters can uncomfortably and over enthusiastically hover a little more than necessary. However, they were always professional, informative and always willing to explain. I think what would be welcomed is a little sense of warm generosity. An amuse bouche, seaweed salad, miso soup or something a little extra on the house would have been greatly appreciated. All dishes were so incredibly balanced so it goes without saying, do taste a little before that innate urge compels you to drown your food in the accompanying soy sauce. Ume is incredibly produce driven and seasonal and the menu is so compelling with it's elegant simplicity that it might just stand out amongst it's other Surry Hill peers.

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wow everything looks amazing and im dying to try the scallops and the barramundi!

By far the best dishes there!

i think ill be heading here for the wagyu!

Definitely one of the highlights!

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No, we aren't the most amazing gastronomes or chefs. Heck, half our team doesn't even know how to cook... well. However, what we really love is eating. And lots of it. We enjoy that occasional freebie, filling up that craving for a midnight snack and finding a 20 in our pockets that we thought we never had, and using that as an excuse to go out eating. As we battle the ongoing war on uni student poverty, we'll bring you the most swoon worthy recounts of our latest foodie adventures.

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