Hapa Umi branches out from its izakaya roots
At a media event last week, I checked out the new Hapa Umi, which is located at the base of the Waterfront Centre office tower at 909 West Cordova Street. The restaurant took over the old Metro space, and hasn’t changed a lot from Metro’s sleek, modern decor.
With three successful Hapa izakaya locations, I can understand why Lea and Justin Ault would want to build on the Hapa name. But by using the same name, it’s easy to assume that Hapa Umi is just another Hapa izakaya. In fact, the restaurant has a whole different concept.
Nothing about Umi looks like an izakaya, and the food isn’t izakaya fare, either. This is more of an upscale Japanese fusion restaurant. For the most part, the dishes aren't served tapas-style; they're ordered by each diner, course by course. There’s also a good selection of high-quality sushi, much of it Ocean Wise. Dinner mains run $19 to $29, and the restaurant is also open for lunch weekdays.
Chef Tomoki Yamasaki has French training, and many of the dishes blend French and Japanese flavours and techniques (for example, a miso-hollandaise sauce for spring salmon). Here’s a sampling of what’s on the menu.
Below, Carolyn Ali photos
Pemberton Meadows beef tataki with garlic ponzu, green onion oil, and spicy daikon.
Braised lamb shank, pommes puree, yuzu-shiso gremolata, umeboshi emulsion.
Bento lunchbox; selection changes daily. This one includes halibut tempura and sushi.
Green tea opera cake, with layers of green tea jaconde, matcha buttercream, and chocolate ganache.
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