Review: Uma Nota
With the South American food scene taking off in Hong Kong, it's no surprise that recently opened Uma Nota is one of the most talked about spots in town. We visited for cocktails and dinner, and here's what we found.
Tucked away on the corner of Hollywood Road and Peel Street, this stylish, laid back boteco, known traditionally in Brazil as a lively meeting place for bohemians, is the perfect choice for casual dinners with friends or late night cocktails and nibbles.
Uma Nota offers a mouth-watering selection of Brazilian Japanese street food along with an impressive cocktail menu. Owner Alexis, describes the concept as “not only two worlds coming together, but more about bringing the authenticity of street food in Sao Paulo, to the people of Hong Kong”
Upon approaching the restaurant, it’s difficult not to be captivated by the beautiful mural painted on the wall; a woman with the biggest smile, laughing – definitely a little representation of the lively, but laid back atmosphere inside. A set of colourful stairs leads to the restaurant, which has a cosy cushioned seating area, perfect for people watching with a cheeky pre-dinner caipirinha in hand.
It would be rude to attend a boteco without trying a famous caipirinha! We began by ordering a passion fruit caipirinha and a Kumaru, the special cocktail of the day. While the caipirinha, packed a punch with its flavoursome yet strong Cachaca, especially imported from Brazil, the light and fruity Kumaru won the top spot. With vanilla liqueur, sake, noori and black pepper syrup, this refreshing drink was a perfect accompaniment to a hot summers day.
The menu is perfect for sharing with a group of friends with its tapas-like small bites. Begin with the raw plates and opt for the refreshing Ceviche Goa, perfect for awakening your taste buds. Deliciously fresh succulent pieces of white fish, shrimp and calamari, immersed in a tangy coconut and curry milk, known traditionally in Brazil as the “tigers milk”. Whet your appetite by ordering this dish as your starter.
Next up, are the small plates, made to share with your favourite people. The more you order, the more flavours and dishes you get to try, and all while avoiding a food coma by the end of it – it’s a win, win situation!
First up was the Coxinhas De Frango; a hugely popular snack in Brazilian street food culture. The crispy deep fried croquettes are filled with shredded chicken and okra and served with a homemade chili sauce with a kick. The crunch and texture of the doughy outer dumpling, makes for a great contrast against the smooth shredded chicken and okra filling prepared with fresh Brazilian spice and herbs. Packed full of flavours and textures, you cant go wrong with this dish.
For the adventurous foodies, go wild and order the Banana Dulce. A friend described it as “the best dish of the night” having tried this dish previously. I hate to admit it but I was 99% sure that I would dislike this seemingly ‘random’ dish consisting of a fried green banana, topped with a layer of sour cream and crab meat. Sounds kinda strange right? Now it takes a lot to surprise me but my oh my, this dish did just that! An incredibly moist and slightly sweet plantain paired perfectly against the salty crab meat. And no, this is not a dessert, but go ahead and order it. You wont regret it!
Coming in with the Eastern influences, the skewers are a familiar choice for those who love Japanese Yakitori.
The tender beef skewers are tossed in corn flour, creating the perfect crunch and are paired perfectly with the refreshing salsa verde, while the chicken skewers were succulent with a subtle chargrilled barbeque marinade, served with a smokey soy sauce.
And if that’s not enough for the meat lovers out there, order the Porco Crocante. The crackling pork belly offers a perfectly crisp outer edge against a tender and flavourful centre, dipped in a generous helping of spicy tonkatsu sauce.
At this point, I was ready to kick back and relax with another cocktail when another dish was presented but this time from the ‘size matters’ section of the menu and, thus speaking, very large in size and ideal for those hungry diners. That said, I’m not one to refuse a new dish and so in true foodie form, I tucked into the Berinjela – a whole aubergine, split and roasted and topped with miso, goats cheese and cashew nuts. The feta cheese and nuts were a welcome break from the salty miso sauce. This hearty dish is sure to be a hit amongst the vegetarian foodies out there.
Although there are no desserts, we were offered complimentary Brigaderos (choc fudge balls) made with condensed milk, cocoa and Brazil nuts. As more-ish as they were, I left in the hope that one day, Uma Nota will offer more options for those with a major sweet tooth like me!
Uma Nota truly represents the traditional boteco – a friendly, neighbourhood meeting place where good drinks and snacks are served, in a lively yet laid back atmosphere. This is the ideal place for a casual dinner with friends while enjoying the fun Brazilian and Latin beats. The genuine, friendly service with a smile only adds to the experience.
The reasonably priced menu offers quality, flavoursome food with small dishes ranging from $70-$90, while bigger dishes are priced from $180-$220. Top off the foodie experience with a delicious Brazilian-inspired cocktail. With prices (and cocktails!) like these, I’m already arranging my next trip back!
Book: 2889 7576 or [email protected]
Hira is a British freelance lifestyle, food & travel writer currently living her best life in Hong Kong and blogging about her experiences here