Meet your new favourite flavour at Umami | Gourmand and Gourmet

Meet your new favourite flavour at Umami

We all remember those diagrams in school for where our tastebuds are – sweet, salty, sour and bitter – in four neat sections on our tongue. Well it turns out that not only were those childhood tasting sessions a myth, but there’s a fifth flavour as well, and it’s one that the Valley’s decadent new Japanese spot is dedicated to. The irresistible savoury flavour you’ll taste in foods like cheese, broth, soy sauce and cured meats, umami is the reason we can’t get enough of parmesan atop our pasta, rich bone broth in our ramen and tomato sauce on our hot chips. And why you’ll soon be addicted to Umami, returning to their corner of the Chinatown mall again and again. umami-japanese-restaurant-brisbane-2With the kitchen headed by Chef Minh Le, who’s swapped forks at the now closed Foraging Quail for chopsticks at Umami, the menu here is all about the fifth flavour, with dishes designed to seriously tempt the tastebuds. All made for sharing, these eats look as good as they taste – and they look pretty damn spectacular. Start with smaller plates like pulled pork and soft shell crab bao and tempura oysters with wakami salad before moving onto the likes of coal grilled Moreton Bay bugs with Thai pesto and radish and dehydrated bisque, and saltbush lamb belly with nori emulsion and butter poached potatoes. Even the desserts have a savoury element, like carrot garden with ginger gel, honey carrots and butterscotch cream. You may even recognize the nine textures of chocolate with peanut butter log and moss from Foraging Quail – and be glad it made the transition with Le. umami-japanese-restaurant-brisbane-3If you just can’t decide, leave the hard choices to the chefs and opt for the 10 course tasting menu (a total steal at $85 per person). While you relax in the glam, moodily lit venue, Vietnamese Espresso Martini full of coffee, Kahlua, Frangelico, condensed milk and vanilla Sambuca in hand (did we mention they do uber creative cocktails?), you’ll be brought out plates and plates of their favourite dishes, no tough decisions necessary. Ready to begin your Umami experience? You’ll find them on the corner of Ann Street and Duncan Street in Fortitude Valley, open Tuesday to Sunday for dinner. Words by Ranyhyn Akui