Umami or Unagi?

My mother and I are on the hunt for a place to have a good curry. Something that is a little different to what she makes at home but is still tasty, innovative and authentic to a certain area in India/Pakistan. This is why we were both excited to have the opportunity to try out Umami in Harbourne. Lots of my fellow blogger friends have raved about this place, so I was eagerly awaiting the meal with a fork (or piece of roti) to try out what Umami had to offer.
Harbourne isn't a place I know that well but I have been to a number of eateries there and loved it. And Umami is definitely one of those. A little background of the place: the restaurant is decorated in a sleek, grand and modern way. The food is in fitting with the Hydrabadi training the chef had, as well as the North Indian influences he received whilst working on a cruise liner. The name of the restaurant, Umami, refers to the fifth taste, that is a mixture of sweet, sour, salty and bitter. It's meant to be the ultimate taste, which is a great start.

What is the point of going out for Indian food if you don't get poppadoms? There is no point! And the ones that Umami served, you could tell, were freshly fried as they were crispy and hot. But the best part was the chutneys. My mum fell in love with them and it isn't hard to see why. As they didn't have that preservative taste to them and were different to any other we have tasted. The chutneys in question were tamarind, mango and a chilli sauce. We enquired to find out they are all made in house. There is also the traditional mint sauce but they didn't give us that, as I couldn't have it due to its dairy content. After seeing the detail and passion of the chutneys, we were enthused to see what would follow.

We were advised that the Monarch Vegetarian Prix Fixe Menu was a good idea, as the dishes are given to share and are charged at £18.95pp normally. This contains a selection of starters, mains, rice and roti/naan. Considering the portions, that's pretty damn good! The starters that are normally given in the starters are Punjabi Samosa Chaat, Hariyali Tikki and Ajwain Paneer Tikka. We were given all these but the Ajwain Paneer Tikka, as that isn't vegan. Instead, we were given the Crispy Onion Palak Bhaiji. All of which were beautiful and had their own flavour. The standout one was the samosa chaat. Crispy, flavoursome and just awesome. Especially with the addiction of pomegranate, sav, coriander and a drizzle of tamarind sauce. There was also a salad on the dish that was tasty too but lets be honest, that's not what you wanna hear about. I highly recommend this starter plate.

For the mains, on the fixed menu there is Aloo Palak, Tandoori Soya Tikka Kadhai and Paneer Makhanwala. Two of the dishes (Tandoori Soya Tikka Kadhai and Paneer Makhanwala) contained dairy but I was given alternatives of Mushroom Matter Methi Malai and a veggie version of the Paneer Makhanwala (shown above).

Aloo Palak
Mushroom Matter Methi Malai

All of the mains were lovely. Garnished well, all have their own masala and showed that veggie food is not bland in the slightest. My favourite has to be the one above and the Aloo Palak, as I am a sucker for anything that continues mushrooms or palak aka spinach.

Overall, I loved my experience at Umami and would highly recommend it to vegans in Birmingham and beyond.

Would I go back? Yes

Why? Great vegan options, attentitive customer service and a lovely sleek look.

How was the service? Friendly, knowledgeable and attentive.

How did they cope with the vegan dietary requirement? They found it easy to adapt dishes, as well as recommend dishes that were already vegan.

What are the prices like? The prices are reasonable and this two-course meal would have been £18.95 per person, which is minus drinks but include roti/naan and rice.

More information - Umami website

Have you been? What did you think?

*Many thanks to the team at Umami for looking after me and catering to my dietary requirements so well. FYI this meal was complimentary but my opinions are my own**

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