We love the massive amounts of excellent Chinese food, French food, Italian food, and even steaks here in Hong Kong. It's truly a food lover's paradise because many of the world's top restaurants come and open a location here. However, one area that's more lacking is Central and South American food.
Bryan, who's from Los Angeles, craves amazing Mexican, and it's been hard to find here in Hong Kong, though we've identified a couple. We've also seen very little food from Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and the like.
This is why I was so keen to try Uma Nota, a modern Brazilian Japanese place in Central.
I don't mind the fact that it has Asian influence. In fact, I love the Japanese/South American combination. It reminds me of Nobu Matsuhisa, the famous Japanese chef who took inspiration from his time in Peru. Nobu married Peruvian ingredients with Japanese cuisine and started a whole new trend of dishes - such as jalapenos on yellowtail - that were widely imitated.
At Uma Nota, we happened to come on a Monday, where they were featuring their "Meatless Monday" menu. We still ordered a few non-meatless (is that a word?) items. All in all, we really enjoyed the vibrant flavors, fresh ingredients, and nice change in pace.
Meatless Monday 5-Course
Coxinhas are deep fried mushroom and eggplant Brazilian dumplings. These were nicely fried and served with a spicy mayo sauce that definitely had a nice kick. I can imagine that this would be really good with chicken (a version of which also appears on the normal menu), though this mushroom version was still very good.
Portobello Skewers came topped with roasted red bell pepper and a chimichurri sauce. The mushrooms were very juicy and flavorful, and we really enjoyed the sauce as well.
Next we had Roasted Cauliflower with shishito chili, nankin sauce, and jiquitaia chili powder. The sauce was addictively good. Despite the fact that it was vegan, it was chock full of flavor.
Morning Glory Salad consisted of a vegetable that is ubiquitous in Chinese cuisine, called kōngxīncài (空心菜), or hollow heart vegetable. This Brazilian-Japanese version included cashew nuts, soy sauce, and amarillo sauce.
For our main course we had a Moqueca Banana and Pumpkin stewed with tomatoes, red bell pepper, coconut milk, and coconut rice. It was surprisingly good and quite filling! It was actually a savory dish and the coconut rice itself was beautifully fragrant and absolutely delicious.
For dessert we enjoyed Manjar de Coco, which consisted of a mixture of coconut pudding, passion fruit, mango-ginger sorbet, and almonds. It was light yet still incredibly creamy (despite being vegan!).
We did order a few "non-meatless" dishes just to try out the rest of the menu. The Beef Skewers (not pictured) were fantastic - juicy, charred, and flavorful. I would definitely get those again if I return. The Tiradito with white fish came with cashews, hot pepper, cilantro and avocado was solid, light, and refreshing.
General Thoughts - Uma Nota Hong Kong
Uma Nota offers a refreshing change in pace of cuisine. I really enjoyed the bold flavors, small plates, and vegetarian-friendly dishes. I'd recommend visiting with a small group of friends so that you can try many, many dishes. The few non-vegetarian dishes we tried were good. I would definitely come back and try the rest of the menu.
All in all, I'm really glad there are restaurants willing to explore more adventurous (at least for Hong Kong) cuisines. I think Uma Nota is doing a great job. Looking forward to coming back again!
Uma Nota Hong Kong
38 Peel St, Central, Hong Kong
Disclaimer: I was invited to Uma Nota and did not pay for the meal. I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own.
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