A Japanese experience
" Umai is not a restaurant, Umai is an experience! "
The Bailliage hosted a kaiseki dinner with Alex Abramov at Umai, not a restaurant but an experience located in Old Jaffa.
Ring the intercom bell. Main entrance door opens. Climb a few stairs. Turn right, take off your shoes and stay in socks or wear comfortable slippers. And you are inside Japanese magic - a complex of tranquillity, aesthetics, precision, minimalism.
Cold beer in hand, the heart opens ready for nearly four hours of elite Japanese culinary experience. A kaiseki dinner is an ancient Japanese tasting meal. The menu changes every season. Ten tastings including sake with no repeats between the dishes all of which combine meticulous Japanese tradition with up-to-date techniques.
Owner/Chef Alex Abramov led the evening. He explained the menu whilst managing the open kitchen. Young, energetic, rhythmic, Chef Abramov acquired extensive knowledge of meat. From rationing, through aging, smoking, drying, cooking plus methods of preparation customary in Japan and Southeast Asia. An expert in Wagyu, he shows great talent in serving wonderful meat and fish dishes.
Shrimp tartare with sesame oil
Katsuobushi and bonito flakes
Suimono wonton stuffed with blue crab meat
Dry aged greater amberjack sashimi
served cold with cherry chips
(Japanese hot pot cooked at the table)
Personal ceramic pot
filled with oxtail/bone marrow broth
and circa 30 ingredients according to Chef Alex
(Wagyu beef top blade steak)
thin slices cooked independently in a casserole
dipped in great sauces
“Pizza and Pizza”
Radish and watermelon
fresh pickled vegetables
Comforting risotto with oxtail
cooked for 20 hours
(traditional Japanese swwets)
Japanese Matcha popsicle
Puffs with Japanese caramel custard
Three and a half hours later and we were still seated, refusing to go as we did not want to end the experience because Umai is not a restaurant, Umai is an experience!
Based on a detailed report by Tali Berner, Chargée de Missions
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