From the moment we arrive at new Peruvian spot Uma, we receive five star treatment. It’s another quality hotel diner in Perth city, and the Pan Pacific restaurant offers complimentary valet parking with all bookings. I simply drive up to the entrance, hand over my keys and within moments I am happily sipping a cocktail inside. Perfect for a rainy June evening, there’s no searching for an elusive (and expensive) parking space here.
The relaxed arrival is extended to the restaurant, which overlooks the hotel’s pool. Uma’s inviting dining space is ultra-modern, yet cosy. There’s sleek furniture, warm terracotta’s and dusty blues, as well as a few quirky alpacas for good measure. Latin music sets a lively soundtrack and the packed restaurant is buzzing.
There’s lots of floor staff, all equally smiley and helpful. One waitress asks if I’d like to start my night with a Pisco Sour – and why not – it’s being sipped at every table around us. I enjoy the signature Peruvian cocktail served in a champagne saucer. The classy little drink from Lima features ‘Pisco Quebranta’. The brandy made from fermented grape juice is mixed with tart lemon and lime juice, as well as egg whites.
For those who prefer to dine with wine, the wine list has local and South American drops. The food carries on the same theme, mixing fresh WA produce with modern share plates of Peruvian cuisine. Head Chef Alejandro Saravia also runs acclaimed restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne.
Ceviche is the way to start a meal at Uma. The Peruvian staple is amplified with a bounty of freshly caught West Australian seafood – octopus, crystal crab legs, scallops and more. We share the Peruano Shark Bay goldband snapper ($20), cured in ‘Leche de Tigre’, or “Tiger’s Milk” a traditional Peruvian marinade of citrus and herbs. Charred sweet corn and paper thin caramelised sweet potato are on the side.
The chunky ceviche is best enjoyed with house baked brioche ($8). We break bread and dip into a lush whipped feta and roasted garlic dip, with a drizzle of toasted buckwheat oil. A devilishly good combination.
We jump at the chance to try the “Croquetas de Alpaca” ($15) with fermented chilli sauce. Yes, that’s alpaca croquets! The crisp, rectangular croquets, stacked jenga-style, are stuffed with braised alpaca shoulder and roasted Andean chillies. The dark meat has flavours similar to veal. We savour something different, though try to ignore the cute alpaca ornaments surrounding us, as we nibble the croquettes.
“Chicharron de cerdo” is translated as eight hour slow cooked Linley Valley pork belly ($16). The tender belly meat is cut into strips and crisp fried in a five spice crumb. Plated on a caramelised sweet potato purée, it’s a deliciously different way of serving up pork belly.
Onto mains, featuring meats cooked low and slow. Mouth-watering Margaret River wagyu brisket ($41) is braised for eight hours – making it fall apart with the merest touch of a knife. Served with a green beer and coriander sauce, swirled with creamy celeriac purée, and crispy fried kale leaves.
Next, we share ten hour slow-roasted West Australian free-range lamb shoulder ($48) with roasted heirloom carrots and shallots. The succulent cut of meat is cooked in adobo sauce, giving it a rich depth of flavour, with aromas of paprika and garlic.
We order a side of coffee salted baked potatoes ($12), not knowing what to expect. The potatoes are as interesting as they sound, with a present, though subtle coffee flavour. The small, chunky spuds are swimming in a creamy whey and burnt butter sauce, finished with a sprinkle of seasonal herbs. Divine.
Dessert also takes a traditional theme with a Latin American “Tres Leches” or three milk soaked sponge cake ($15). The light sponge is served warm, with a generous smear of raspberry sauce and a raspberry sorbet.
Chef Alejandro’s Pisco caramel pudding ($10), is a scrumptious custard-like dessert, finished with drunken currants, strawberries and lemon rind.
From light and fresh ceviche, to rich slow cooked meats – the food at Uma is tantalisingly unpredictable. We leave feeling satisfied and like we’ve had a little taste of Peru – from the Pacific Ocean to the Amazon Jungle. The price point means it’s not an everyday dining experience, but well worth splashing out on. A little bit of Peru has arrived in Perth and we love it. Muchos Gracias Uma.
Uma Perth – At a glance
■ Pan Pacific
207 Adelaide Tce
Phone 6211 7221
■ Opening times
Tues to Sat – 6pm to 10.30pm
value for money 3
■ style – Modern Peruvian
■ wine – mainly local and
South American drops.
■ Chef – Alejandro Saravia
■ Owners – Pan Pacific Hotels
■ feel – Contemporary and elegant
■ wheelchair access – yes
Small plates – $8 to $40
Larger plates – $38 to $55
Dessert – $5 to $15
■ all in all – excellent modern Peruvian
cuisine, without feeling pretentious.
Uma is fun, whilst still remaining classy. Another
great addition to the Perth hotel dining scene.