Uma Nota: São Paulo’s Street Food with an Oriental touch (7.0)

Uma Nota is more of a boteco than a restaurant, which is a kind of a pub where bohemians in Brazil would get together for drinks and cheap snacks. The menu is very compact and other than salads, it’s mostly grilled meat or skewers coming in petit portions. Uma Nota didn’t even use to have proper desserts when it first opened. It has now adapted to local needs and the menu is a little more complete. What stands out in terms of food is the use of distinctly South American spices and chili peppers with an occasional Japanese touch–whether it’s in the form of adding miso or using teriyaki sauce to grill, giving chefs a great degree of versatility. Ambience-wise the place is pretty laid-back and folksy and servers are warm if a little amateurish. Overall we enjoyed our meal, but this isn’t a place we’d actively seek to return to.

Food Rundown

Pan fried octopus with sweet potatoes and homemade teriyaki sauce, $135
The octopus itself was succulent and juicy, but we didn’t like it to be drenched in such a sweet sauce. Sweet potatoes and purple potatoes, on the other hand, were delicious.

Grilled flank steak (300g) with farofa and feijão salad, $330
This was really nothing to write home about. The steak itself was pretty flavorless and while that wasn’t the end of the world, salt was literally snowed atop the steak that made it so unbelievably salty. Please, chef, have mercy on our kidneys.

Roasted cauliflower skewers with vegan herb mayonnaise and togarashi, $65
This was tasty and well-charred and we really liked the blend of spices with a bit of bright green herb mayonnaise. Recommended.

Ube cheesecake (Japanese purple sweet potato), $70
As I understand it ube should be a purple yam that grows above ground, which is distinct from purple sweet potatoes that are grown under the ground, so this cheesecake might be misnamed. We thought it tasted more like sweet potato than yam. The sugar was so sparingly added that this was actually a very good cheesecake that keeps you wanting for more. The ice cream’s sweetness stood in such stark contrast to the nutty and slightly acidic flavors of the cake. Apart from the name and the fact that the kitchen took about fifteen minutes to slice our cake, we were happy with this.

Uma Nota

38 Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong