Umami is an Indian restaurant located in affluent Harbone across from the swimming baths. The name alludes to the 5th taste, tasted in foods like marmite and sun-dried tomatoes.
A lounge area with sofas and a cocktail bar greets Umami’s entrance. Go past and you’ll arrive at a long, narrow dinning area decorated with a colour scheme of dark blues, whites and creams.
Signature dishes include lobster Chennai masala, spiced slow-roast lamb shank, and grilled monkfish in chilli and garlic sauce.
For starter I had poppadom, served with a tray of relishes. For main I tried cottage cheese dumplings encased in spinach and served in a dairy rich mughlai sauce.
I explained to Rustun about what I was doing. Rustun told me that Hoq is his business partner and they are both longtime friends with Ivan. Rustun originally trained as an accountant but found his way into the curry business after university and has remained there ever since. He told me that he now favours lighter, fish-based curries.
Hoq wasn’t in that night so Rustun phoned him and wrote down his instructions. Hoq had told me to go to say hello to Mr Batt at Maharaja. Rustun explained that Mr Batt has been at the forefront of the Birmingham curry scene for over four decades and is a fount of stories.
Hoq and Umami is the 25th pocket of Birmingham so that  Pockets of [Birmingham] can now be assembled.