Do you know that feeling when you discover a restaurant that ticks all your boxes? You’re in love with the food, the interior decorating is superb, and the staff is nice as hell? Umami, which serves up the best goddamned asian fusion food I have had in a long time, is basically one of those restaurants. They are located in Prenzlauer Berg, and while it’s not exactly within walking distance from my flat, it IS a 5 minute walk from the office.
This basically means that instead of only talking about how great the food there is (because let’s face it, no one in Berlin really can be arsed to venture too far out of their neighbourhood on a regular basis – as is evidenced by the fact that I hoo and ha every time I have to make the journey from Friedrichshain to Neukölln to prove to my boyfriend that yes, indeed I am willing to spend the night at his place too and no, he isn’t the only one who has to commute through Berlin in order for us to spend time together), I actually have plenty of opportunities to get my weekly fix.
The staff and I are now on a smile-when-we-see-each-other basis because I like to give them my money and I’m almost convinced that when I eat there, my food (and the food of whomever else is with me) comes out just a little bit quicker than everyone else’s because I’m such an amazing regular. I’m sure, in reality, this is really not the case, but I mean small details, right? And the only thing that is preventing me from saying “I’ll take the usual” besides not knowing how to say this in German, is that everything – from the regular menu to their specials – is so freaking good, that I’m not even ordering the same thing each time. (Except when I am, and when I am, I’m all about the Pagoda Rolls, Saigon Pancake, and Herbstgarten Salat.)
Umami also has amazing choices for vegans and vegetarians but also incredible dishes for omnivores, so everyone can really find something that suits their dietary preferences. And after finding out that some of my other favorite asian restaurants have since shut down (Susuru, I’m looking at you. Except I’m not. Because you’re gone. And I can’t take it. CALL ME.) I’m pretty sure that this thing that me and Umami has got is going to go on for a while. And you know what? I’m perfectly okay with that.
Photography: Rae Tashman