Travel broadcaster Phil Blizzard discovers that UMI, one of the trendiest Japanese restaurants in the United Arab Emirates, and chef Yukitaka Kitade have introduced a ‘celestial contemporary’ menu.
UMI, which in Japanese, means ocean is delighted to offer the new ‘Kaiseki’ menu which aims to encourage togetherness and sharing and is known throughout Japan as being highly refined and artistic.
Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner which has evolved and is seen these days as a type of art form that balances taste, texture, appearance and colours of food. The extensive new menu has some divine highlights which include a very lightly pan-fried thinly-sliced wagyu with the tiniest hint of foie gras, the colourful tuna tartar with caviar served with sushi rice crackers and the giant king crab which is oozing with taste and often seen on Japanese dining tables at the time of celebration.
Dishes carefully presented on plates are beautifully arranged and garnished with real leaves and flowers - Chef Yukitaka Kitade creates art. They are vibrant in colour and the textures are intriguing. His vision is to produce dishes that contain ingredients sourced locally and he is a firm believer in creating seasonal a la carte dishes using the freshest produce available. In fact he is no stranger to the boats on which local fishermen haul in their daily catch as he searches for the finest of ingredients. Having spent almost ten years in the Emirates, his requirements are anticipated by his favourite fishermen.
Traditional Japanese cuisine, know as Washoku, has recently been added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, raising the hopes of enhancing its global recognition and understanding.
“We’re still on the first rung of the ladder to understanding it,” says top British chef Heston Blumenthal, who regularly visits Japan for culinary meetings where the world’s top chefs exchange ideas.
Washoku is a social practice based on a set of skills, knowledge, practice and traditions related to the production, processing, preparation and consumption of food. It is associated with an essential spirit of respect for nature that is closely related to the sustainable use of natural resources
Chef Kitade enjoys passing on his experiences and will be hosting a master class on Monday 19 October 2015. Those attending will be taken on a culinary journey discovering the mysteries of the delicately beautiful Japanese cuisine, along with the creative and dramatic preparation of teppanyaki. The next class will be on Monday 19 October 2015.