Umami at Crowne Plaza London Kensington

Crowne Plaza Hotel, 100 Cromwell Road , London, SW7 4ER

Umami

SquareMeal Review of Umami at Crowne Plaza London Kensington

Named after that elusive ‘fifth taste’ much revered by the foodie avant-garde, Umami at the Crowne Plaza Hotel offers user-friendly, pan-Asian cuisine for Cromwell Road’s tourists and museum trippers. Expect voguish, feng shui surrounds and a backpacking cook’s tour of Far Eastern climes, taking in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan, with tapas-style plates in two sizes (for solo grazing or sharing). The kitchen serves up admirably executed, sustaining versions of Thai fishcakes, pandan chicken, duck with tamarind, beef rendang and the like – although these do little to fire up the taste buds. Instead try something less conventional, such as wickedly delicious lychee tempura stuffed with prawns and chicken – or take an express tour through the region with one of the admirably diverse 'Asian Journey' set menus. Tastefully subtle desserts such as homemade chilli and stem-ginger ice cream make for a refreshing finish.

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4.0

Food & Drink: 6.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

John S. 25 May 2013

First, be warned that the ambience of the restaurant is zero unless you enjoy eating in what is effectively an extension to the hotel's lobby. I think this might be acceptable for breakfast but certainly not for dinner. The menu styles itself a Pan-Asian but I would describe it more as South East Asian with an emphasis on Malaysian food. Main courses seemed to be limited to curries and noodle dishes ( more on the curries below!). We were six people and most of what we ordered was disappointing with often key ingredients missing; for example the Thai style beef salad had no fish sauce or lime juice in it and the curries (Beef Rendang, Green Chicken Curry and the Indonesian Vegetable Curry) had no coconut milk in them! The beef dish just about managed without coconut milk but the other dishes were inedible. The chicken satay was a disgrace (clearly prepared ahead of time and reheated). On the positive side the Mee Goreng was authentic and tasty with a nice spicy kick to it and both side vegetable dishes ( asparagus with yellow bean and bok choy) although served in small portions were delicious and quickly consumed by our table. Both front of the house staff and kitchen was clearly swamped. We waited more than 20 minutes before our drinks and wine were served and our starters come out close to 45 minutes after we ordered. All in all a negative experience and we will not be returning.

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