Umami at Vivanta by Taj

Picture Credit: Vivanta By Taj Guwahati
For the past few months, ever since Vivanta by Taj opened its door to the well heeled and swish crowd of my city, Guwahati, a buzz has been created. Opinions have been coming in from the diners, some liberally generous and others not so. But, it is clearly evident, that the city has accepted this new kid with warmth and love.
I have eaten on a number of occasions and every time returned a happy soul. There is always something new and the ever courteous staff more than makes up if there is something amiss. After all, we are all suckers for attention at the end of the day!

Seven, their all day dining has secured its spot light. Their second restaurant Umami, serving Japanese and Oriental cuisine, is the one that I was curious about. It opened with great fanfare, however I skipped the opening on purpose. The best show put up is not the space to review. I wanted to see if it lived up to its hype and whether the diners interest were ensnared or otherwise. So, one fine evening, I slipped in quite late, to taste and to soak in the atmosphere, seeking Zen. 

The interiors are subtly graceful, the stunning craved marble wall immediately grabs your attention. It is indeed a beautiful backdrop but the floor creaks and that is certainly not nice!  The menu is a thoughtful and it was a delight to skim through it. 

Tuna Sushi Rolls
 For starters we had, Tuna Sushi rolls and Hargou dimsum, stuffed with cheese and truffle. Although, traditionally Hargau is stuffed with shrimps, the characteristic twist is all evident here. I'm always drawn to dishes which take the traditional, give it a new twist and make it their own. We also accompanied our sushi and dimsums with 'Outenga' pepper soup and seasonal greens. Outenga, which is a local fruit, is popularly used as a souring agent and comes in a new avatar here.

The tuna maki rolls failed to live up to my expectation, but, the Hargou was cooked to perfection, translucent and thin crust with perfect pleats and the scrumptious stuffing. The wasabi with the sushi, had the right zing and hit but I personally feel the rolls could have been slightly smaller. It is easier to pop into the mouth otherwise it is quite a mouthful! Chef  Ashish explained that Sushi knife is yet to arrive and hence the rolls were not the best. That explains why it was a let down.

The Outenga Soup and Hargou
The outenga pepper soup was perfect, the tang with the peppery heat and the bite from the spinach green with delightful. 

Chef Ashish recommended that we have a fish as a main, so that our palate were not over powered with flavours. He served us, steamed Bhekti in a fermented black bean sauce on a bed of wilted bak choy which was not on the menu. It was outstanding. The fish fresh, white and flaky, generous portion and the sauce was intensely flavourful. We had the fish with Gohan, Japanses sticky fried rice. The sauce so graciously smothered the plump grains of rice that it was indeed a perfect combination.The jasmine tea acts as a great palate cleanser throughout the meal. This will definitely my dish to order at Umami. If the sushi let me down, this dish picked up on all scores. 

The Fish with Gohan
We ended the meal on a high note with a dessert called 'Lotus'. It is a coconut panna cotta with frozen raspberry and the most sinfully rich chocolate sauce, shaped like a lotus that blooms when the hot sauce is poured over it. Chef Amit, a sweet character serving sweet desserts, bagged all the prizes with this dish.

The Lotus Dessert
With Chef Anirban at the helm, one can expect to be taken on a magical gastronomical journey, where he uses his imagination of creating dishes using local produce without compromising on the global culinary standards.The ever courteous and attentive staff wins your heart with their charismatic warmth and creates a place for themselves in your heart. Eating out is not only about just cutting edge techniques and good food, its also about connecting with the surrounding. This is certainly a place that one would like to go to celebrate with family, friends or just alone to spend some me time. The restaurant has a vibrant yet at the same time a calming environment, a place that one can never get enough of.

If you enjoy oriental cuisine or you're looking for a new dining experience, Umami at Vivanta by Taj is a must visit.


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