Sunday, February 16, 2014

Umana Brunch

Neither two feet of snow nor snow emergency could stop us from Sunday brunch. It's been awhile since J and I have ventured out for a late weekend morning outing. Our last brunch trip to New World wasn't up to par to our norm so we decided to give Umana Restaurant and Wine Bar a go. Umana also happens to be open later than most brunch places (11:30am-3:30pm) and perfect for us since we usually get a later start to our day than most people. 

I drive by Umana almost everyday and have been intrigued by it since its renovation days. Umana's menu is inspired by global flavors and just what we needed to brighten our day from this dreary winter weather. Its brunch menu is small but spans many breakfast standards including fritatta, quiche, french toast and crepes all with an international twist. You'll find sweet fillings such as spiced mango chutney and cardamom honey sauce and savory ones like African spiced shrimp and salt cod in the egg dishes. Two brunch items stood out to us the most: the hash duet and pork belly omelette. 
All omelettes come filled with sauteed red onions, goat cheese, and vegetables and served with home fries and a green salad. While the omelette was nice and fluffy, it could have used some seasoning. A side of sriracha helped a bit with flavor. J was a bit disappointed with the pork belly; what he got were braised chunks rather than crispy ones like bacon and again the meat lacked seasoning. However, a creamy and tangy goat cheese was a good choice of cheese. The onions were ok but there were no notable additional vegetables per the menu, except for scallions. The home fries were crispy enough but lacked salt. A side salad with berry vinaigrette was a welcomed addition. 

Oddly enough my hash duet did not lack seasoning. In fact, the plantain tempeh half was overwhelmingly salty which was disappointing considering I was really looking forward to tasting sweet plantains rather than a mouthful of soy. The plantain hash was flavorful but needed a better balance of sweetness and saltiness and desperately needed acid. On the other hand, the skirt steak hash was excellent and our favorite brunch item.  The menu made it seem like the tempeh would be part of the meat hash but whatever it was suppose to be, the tempeh ended up working better texturally in the plantain hash despite being overseasoned. The skirt steak was seasoned and cooked well and I appreciated finely diced pieces of potato instead of giant chunks. The hash duet was topped with a fried egg and served with toast on the side. While the egg was fried well with a runny yolk, the toast was nothing more than pre-sliced generic bread and only toasted on one side and soggy from a bit too much butter. With the promise of such grand flavors and one of the chefs formerly from All Good Bakers, I was expecting homemade bread. 

Umana could do well with a bit more fine tuning. The flavors and creativeness is there but the dishes need better execution and balance of seasoning. The space is beautiful and unique and I'd love to see its food match the atmosphere. Perhaps there is more promise with the dinner menu. I'm still eyeing the Samosa Trio


  1. Nick is gone, has been since late December. The menus are his, but the execution is not.