food.

Yo mami at Umami

We live in busy times. I am working more and more every day, we started (de)constructing the house, and even the Aussies are busy building floors and drilling holes in walls. A good reason to leave our own kitchen cold and grab some delicious food somewhere else.

Doro got promoted to the next hipster level at her job and comes home with lots of suggestions for great food. While I enjoy canteen lunch or sandwiches, Doro has the privilege to go out for lunch every day in a different restaurant.

One of her recent discoveries is Umami near the Wasserturm in Prenzlauer Berg.

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The afore-mentioned Aussies craved some Asian food and so we decided to give Umami a try. Upon arrival the place was really full and only after some waiting we managed to get a table. Throughout the night there was a constant stream of guests waiting to get a new seat. If you want a relaxed and quiet evening, this is not the place for you. If you enjoy the constant buzz of coming and going, head straight for Umami.

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Inside is a very stylish fusion restaurant, perfectly fitting in the wealthy hipster area it sits in. Everything, from bar to toilet is well designed and thought through. A welcome change to the rustic to dirty conventional everyday Vietnamese places in Berlin but makes you wonder if the food holds up to the standards or if it ends up like at Yumcha Heroes, that is all looks and no brains.

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While we waited for the Aussies to arrive, bravely defending the two apparent free seats against the hordes of hipsters trying to find a place for two, we got some spring rolls to start with. This particular one was filled with grilled salmon. The pickled, mildly sweet radish on the side was a lovely combination with the spring rolls.

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Hot and cold tea with lime and ginger. Both yummy, either warming or refreshing.

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Once there, Tegan went for a soy milk drink, that was not only hot, but also featured the dreaded star anise that slipped her attention when reading the menu. They were first removed, then added again to give some flavour to the milky drink.

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Tegan’s Vietnames burger featured a bao bun. Instead of meat saitan was combined a mango relish, coriander and a sweet mango coconut cream. The bun was odd but worked well with the other ingredients.

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I went for the duck curry. They managed to keep the duck from being to greasy while keeping all the flavour and especially the crisp delicious skin. The slight hum of hotness was very welcome.

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A Pho soup chosen by Doro. The meat was fresh beef just barely blanched in the broth.

The food was really, really good. Nicely balanced flavours and so much herbs added to the dish. Fresh coriander, mint and spring onions accompanied juicy meat and tasty curries. Tegan’s odd burger with a bao bun worked surprisingly well and the sweet potato chips were as delicious as they should be. Andy’s curry needed Chili, but Andy is  not a good standard when it comes to hotness. He is eats so hot. Doro chose the classic Pho and was not disappointed. Great flavour in broth and meat and a kilo of fresh herbs sprinkled on top.

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Black rice with mango and strawberry jam. The bouquet of spoons was because we all were already too full from the dinner to have our own portion but still wanted to try the black rice. And great it was.

Umami is busy but great choice for Vietnamese lunch or dinner. It is not the cheapest, we paid about 20 EUR per person, including a bottle of whine for two of us and drinks and starters. Food is about 7 to 12 EUR, starters and drinks around 3 to 4. The flavour of the dishes is definitely worth it. Best is to book a table way ahead to avoid waiting and being pushed out again once your plates are empty. The service is very charming though, they try their best to keep everyone, waiting or eating, happy.

We will come back.

Filed under: food.

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Hi. I live in Berlin, I write about food and photography and everything else. I am a plant scientist and I studied biotechnology in Berlin. I am younger than some but older than others.

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