Umi has been on our list since it opened, so we were delighted to get the opportunity to review it, especially since it was our first baby-free dinner together as a twosome, and thank god for that – sushi and ramen would not be easy to eat with chopsticks in one hand and a baby in the other!
Situated in the heart of Stockbridge, this new Japanese addition to the Edinburgh dining scene is a sister restaurant of much loved Kenji Sushi and Bentoya. Having never been to Japan, I can’t speak to the authenticity of the decor, but it certainly felt like stepping into a Japanese backstreet to us. Adorned with lanterns, shoji screens and horigotatsu tables, the restaurant was fully booked – and we were soon about to see why.
After inspecting the lengthy menu, we decided to start with aubergine goma, grilled aubergine in a miso sauce, and KFC (Karage fried chicken) served with lemon & mayo. Both were absolutely outstanding – the aubergine sweet and sticky, and the chicken tender and crispy.
The dynamite rolls were just that, dynamite. The soft shell crab tempura was combined with salmon, avocado and jalapeno topped with tempura flake, teriyaki sauce and spring onions.
Of course, we had to sample the truffle ramen, a light chicken broth with truffle oil & homemade ramen noodles, topped with chashu pork shoulder, aji-tama soft boiled egg (soft boiled eggs soaked in soy sauce and mirin), shimeji mushroom, leeks and nori seaweed. The broth itself was flavourful and a wonderful warming dish on a surprisingly chilly June evening. While the truffle was a bit overpowering, it was definitely worth tasting, and I have no doubt that the other ramens on the menu are just as indulgent and comforting.
Of course, because we’re greedy bastards, we didn’t stop there – not even close. A tasting plate of nigiri and maki showcased some of Umi’s traditional sushi, while we topped off the meal with some of the best chashu pork fried rice we have tasted.
Hidden in the depths below street level, Umi should be top of your list for Japanese food in Edinburgh.