Saturday, 18 January 2020

Restaurant Review: Umi Japanese Cuisine, Stockbridge


Readers! Happy New Year to you all (can I still say it after midway through the month?) I’m back on the wagon again with some sort of routine, have quit chocolates for breakfast and am using my alarm again in the morning.

Last weekend, as a reward for his patience in visiting countless interior stores with me in the last few months, I took Mr WhatClaireDid as my plus one to a review of  Umi Japanese Cuisine in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.  For those of you not in the know, Stockbridge is a cool ‘hood in Edinburgh to wander around in – lots of independents stores, cafes, restaurant and a high quality charity shop or two, if you enjoy a rake around.
 
restaurant review umi stockbridge by what claire did
Interior of Umi Japanese Cuisine, Stockbridge, Edinburgh 
We were invited along to try out Umi’s menu and this is genuine – I loved the place.  My last meal on earth would probably be Asian cuisine of some description and I can’t remember the last time we went somewhere that the food was so fresh and delicious.

Umi is located on Deanhaugh Street in Stockbridge, in a basement – something I love, as you never know what you’re getting until you step through the front door. At Umi, Edinburgh, you’ll be greeted with lanterns, bench seating for groups, small tables for two or four and the delicious scent of a kitchen punching above it’s weight with Japanese food in Edinburgh.
restaurant review umi stockbridge by what claire did
Authentic interiors at Umi

We sat at a bench big enough for four (or in our case, just two… we ordered a lot of food to share).  The staff were really polite and helpful – making some recommendations to try, including the Octopus balls which are a favourite of diners at Umi Japanese Cuisine.  A little like a Spanish croquette, with octopus in the middle, deep fried.
restaurant review umi stockbridge by what claire did

After spending longer than we should have running through the menu, we started with a  few of Umi Japanese Cuisine’s small dishes priced between £4 and £10 for sharing.  Here, we enjoyed the Kara-age Fried Chicken, Chicken and Vegetable Gyoza Takoyaki (fried octopus dough balls).  Each of these three dishes was priced at under £5, which we felt was great value for the quality and the amount of food we received.




 We both felt it wasn’t great to come to Umi Japanese Cuisine in Edinburgh and not try their sushi which is hand rolled by their skilled chefs. We opted for a an 8 piece Crunch Soy Roll selection, which priced at £9.90, was filled with tempura prawn, avocado, a soy paper and topped with eel sauce, dill sauce and crispy fried onions.  The onions were great to give some crunch to the dish and I wasn’t shy in enjoying some soy sauce dipping with these – poured from the lovely Japanese soy teapots on the table!

restaurant review umi stockbridge by what claire didrestaurant review umi stockbridge by what claire did


Not content with just enjoying the smaller plates, we both opted to try the rice bowls, which were the standout dish of the visit – neither of us having a clue what was coming.   I will say that we probably could have ordered one less small plate, as we were starting to get full by this point, but carried on regardless!

The rice bowls were such a surprise – amazing value and a bit of theatre. I had the salmon fried rice whilst Mr WhatClaireDid opted for the chashu fried rice, which was servied with pork belly.

The dishes arrived in roasting hot stone bowls, we were presented with a smalls sauce bowl on the side and encouraged to pour this in, then use the cutlery to mix everything around. 

restaurant review umi stockbridge by what claire did

The heat from the bowls, combined with the liquid started to fry the rice and the meat/fish at the table.  We had no idea we’d be frying our own rice… was it great?  Absolutely.  It added an extra dimension to the experience and the bowls kept their heat, so by adding a little more soy, you could keep on cookin’ at the table.  

Again, these were great value – priced at £8.90 for the pork and £10.90 for the salmon. They are also really filling – so either order one between two, or perhaps go easy on the smaller plates.

restaurant review umi stockbridge by what claire did

 We were really delighted by our Umi Japanese Cuisine experience and would recommend it to both locals and tourists coming to Edinburgh.  All in, including drinks, lunch would have been around £50 for us both, which we felt was brilliant value for the amount of food we had and how delicious it was.  You could of course order less, if you’re on a budget and still leave satisfied.

Umi Japanese Cuisine is closed on Mondays and is open for dinner Tuesday to Thursday and lunch and dinner Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Find out more by visiting their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Disclaimer – we were gifted lunch for two, in exchange for an honest review of our experience. Any opinions expressed are my own.