Ummami is a fine dining restaurant built over a huge scale, in a building that is, as yet quite empty. It is in the corporate office area of Gurgaon and both times I have visited at lunch time, it has been full of corporate honchos having lunch meetings. The wine library is not just a feature of the décor: the wine list is extensive. Ummami is like a five star dining space at supremely down to earth prices.
The partners are reportedly ex-Oberoi and it shows in the formal space that they have created, quite subconsciously. There’s a buffet everyday at lunch; dinner is strictly a la carte. The cuisines are: Japanese (sushi and teppanyaki), Mediterranean (main courses plus pizzas and pasta/risotto), world cuisine (read fusion, albeit skillfully done), South East Asian and Indian. Their strongest point is their western section. Whether you have the citrus cured duck salad with glazed mango (Rs 350) or the rocket, mushroom and mascarpone risotto (Rs 400), you get not only outstanding value for your money (the risotto is a meal by itself) but stylish presentation and a beautifully conceptualized dish, cooked to perfection by someone who understands western cuisine.
I was a trifle disappointed by the Japanese section. The name of the restaurant reflects a Japanese bias, but the sushi and the teppanyaki dish that I ordered were a trifle over-seasoned. In fact, if Ummami has one lesson to learn, it is to go easy on the sauce, salt, wasabi and other seasonings across cuisines. My plate of nigiri sushi had two pieces of hamachi (yellow tail) and cost Rs 350. It is a standard price for sushi in that category of restaurant. Though the sushi was perfectly formed and the rice vinegared optimally, there was a little too much wasabi. In my plate of five king prawns teppanyaki style with ra yu goma tare sauce, which is a thick, sweet sauce based on sesame seeds, I found a tad too much sauce. The prawns, however, were perfectly cooked and fresh.
From the Indian section, I ordered Murgh ki Chaamp Xacuti (Rs 450) that turned out to be an excellent choice. The meat was butterflied and marinated with Goan xacuti masalas before being grilled in the tandoor. It was as Indian as you and me, yet managed to stay away from the done-to-death tandoori offerings of every other Indian restaurant in town. For main course, I was torn between dum ki torai (Rs 250) and daab chingri (Rs 800). I found it a novelty that a large, stylish restaurant like Ummami had the gumption to list a homely vegetable on the menu. I tried the daab chingri instead. Was it as good as its counterparts in Fire at The Park and Oh Calcutta? Not quite. Would I give it full marks for being there at all, instead of paneer lababdar and the usual suspects? I certainly would.
The one disappointment of the meal was the lobster in butter garlic sauce (Rs 900) from the Pan Asian Kitchen section. The price was right, but it was over-seasoned and turned out like a Chinjabi dish from a down-market restaurant.
All the desserts are highly recommendable, but the best of the lot is star-anise scented white chocolate bao zi (Rs 200)
Food: 3.75, Service: 4.00, Décor: 3.75
1st floor, Global Foyer Building, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon
Open from 12.30 pm to 3 pm and 7 pm to 11.30 pm
Credit cards accepted; alcohol served
Meal for two: Rs 2,500