A real taster of Japan in Edinburgh
We first visited Yummy Tori in April 2013 and loved it, so one year on we were back to try out their latest menu and sample the plum wine & sake that had eluded us on the first visit (you can read our previous review here)! When most people think of Japanese cuisine they think of sushi and unfortunately that’s about it but that’s only a small part of Japanese cuisine (when I was in Japan a few years ago I only remember eating sushi once). Yummy Tori specialises in the “Japanese tapas” that you would find in an Izakaya, and while some people might think that’s a gimmick, it isn’t as this is what many restaurants over there are like, not just in Japan, but in other Asian countries as well, i.e. informal dining where you order a selection of food and it comes out when each dish is ready. See also our Chop Chop review for a Chinese variant.
3 dishes each is about enough per person and then you might just have enough room for dessert! Prices range from £4.50 – £6.90 for a tapa dish and they are listed by “classic” or “gourmet” status. You can order any 2 classics for £9 and any 2 gourmets for £11 or mix a classic and gourmet for £10.
We had a cheeky cocktail and refreshing home-made plum wine to start (sorry no pics). And so onto the food…
Anpan, a sweet steamed bun with a pork filling. A bit doughy for our liking, and a higher meat to bun ratio would be preferred but I’ve had buns like this in Asia and they always were overly doughy so in that respect it certainly tasted authentic!
Yummy Tori also has a Yakitori list and you can pick any 3 skewers for £6.50, any 4 for £7.90 or any 5 for £9.00. We opted for (from left to right):
- Tsukune – Chicken meatballs with carrot and onion which was light & savoury;
- Buttabara – Salted pork belly but not overly flavoured in anything else so you got the full flavour of good-quality pork;
- Cheese and courgette – veggie-friendly mozzarella and veg but it lacked the salty tang of the other skewers so was the least flavoursome of the 4;
- Yaki Ebi – prawns wrapped in thinly sliced seaweed shaved pork. Very savoury – tasted like the sea, but in the best way possible! (Be careful when eating as there was a prawn tail on our stick).
We love gyoza and these veggie versions had a strong smokey coal taste. Mmm savoury umami taste with a light soft “skin” and warming kick.
Okonomiyaki, described on the menu as a pancake and when I was in Japan I lived on these for breakfast and they were described to me as Japanese Omelettes so that’s how I know them. Really tasty umami flavours again with thinly sliced ginger on top with slightly thicker julienne of ginger. Crunchy, savoury and deep fried but still really light with that creamy Japanese mayo that seems to be served on almost everything in Japan! Yum!
Gyudon, tender beef with an almost roasted coffee taste, ginger and onions with rice. This was simple and delicious.
We’ve misplaced our receipt so have no idea what this was! Oops…some sort of dish with thin noodles, savoury soy & ginger. Texture great, well cooked with a heady aroma. Quite fragrant and aromatic, was it doused in alcohol beforehand?
Mango & passion fruit pudding with an iced passion fruit topping and desiccated coconut. The mango ice cream was refreshing light and there was a raspberry coulis on the base too – the ideal palate-cleanser after a umami-heavy meal !
Banana tempura, this was a bit bland. The banana was soft and the batter was soft. I know tempura is “light” but it really needed some extra texture & crunch. Banana and cream are always still a good match of course.
The Sake Tasting Board
We couldn’t leave without working our way through the sake board that we’d missed out on previously (25ml of each), and so, from left to right:
- Ozeki Sake – Cucumber water light not much booze lightly aromatic
- Ozeki Dry – More “winey” than the sake, like a light white
- Hakkaison Honjozo – Quite sweet. Like a nice fruity white – this was our favourite
- Kokushi Muso Cocoo – Sweet with a noticeable tanginess
All of the sakes are available in 50ml shots and half & full bottles.
Yummy Tori achieves what it sets out – an authentic Japanese eating experience without the air fare and jet lag. It was every bit as good as our last visit, so if you love savoury food and/or are planning a trip to Japan add Yummy Tori to the “must visit” list as there’s a great selection of dishes on offer – we especially recommend the Gyoza, Okonomiyaki & Gyudon, and the Mango & passion fruit was the ideal thing to cleanse the palate afterwards. In addition to the sake we tried they also stock shochu and some of the main Japanese beers and whiskies, which we shall probably work our way onto next time!
Service was friendly & brisk and toilets functional & clean. Now I’m off to plot my next trip to Japan 😉
90-92 Lothian Road
Edinburgh, EH3 9BE
phone: 0131 229 2206
menus: Food menu Drinks menu
Mon: 12pm till 3pm (closed evening)
Tues – Thurs: 12pm till late
Fri – Sat: 12pm till 1am
Sun: 12pm till late
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