Tucked away underground in Stockbridge is new Japanese restaurant Umi. Umi is a cosy underground food experience that is worth the trip into the quieter parts of Edinburgh. With a restaurant that provides all the yummy Japanese goodness you could ask for, the extra twenty minute walk from Princes Street is definitely worth your while. You enter the restaurant to an authentic space and can either be seated on a table amongst the lanterns and enticing decor, or in a booth space with benches and dividing doors that allow privacy for bigger groups to socialise. The food ranges from fresh Sushi, Tempura, Dumplings, their speciality Ramen with pork bone broth and a long list of hot and cold plates that cater to all dietary requirements. Umi even serves Japenese dessert options and some Japanese beers to swill down all the fresh food. Staff are friendly and understanding and the pricing is around £15-£20 per person (without alcohol) meaning it is not ‘cheap as chips’ but is still very student friendly for the range and quality of food available.
Ellie-Jo’s food review
I opted for the chicken and vegetable Gyoza and the KFC chicken Ramen. The Gyoza are fried and served with a spicy vinegar sauce meaning they are the perfect mix between sweet and sour. You get six in a portion so the dish would also be ideal to share in a group if you all wanted to try a little bit of everything. The ramen was some of the best I’ve had, although I didn’t opt for the twenty-four hour bone-broth base, the Korean fried chicken, leeks, soft boiled egg and seaweed were a perfect combination. The chicken was coated in a crispy fried skin which remained crunchy despite being added to the chicken broth and the leeks and seaweed also added some texture in contrast to the soft egg and noodles. Packed full of flavour, these two dishes are perfect for a beginner when it comes to Japanese food, not too spicy or adventurous but still tasty and authentic. Next time I go, I would order some sushi or a fried rice dish as seeing these go over to other tables made me very jealous – they looked delicious!
Bryony’s food review
As a fish lover, I couldn’t help but dive right into Umi’s varied selection. To start I had the Goruden Cod Finger. Not your average fish goujon, the fish came wrapped in thin strips of a kind of filo pastry, served with a dip that can only be described as mango heaven. Tasting like sweet mango yogurt, it was good enough to be eaten with a spoon (which was kindly provided). The flavours beautifully complemented one another, despite what you may think. The sweetness of the mango mayo brought such lightness and freshness to the dish. The presentation was also next to none, looking like mini works of art that you almost felt guilty about deconstructing. For my main I had the Umi Sushi Set. Made up of 3 pieces of Sashimi, 3 pieces Nigiri and 6 pieces of Maki it was a feast! Definitely a large enough selection to share with a group alongside other dishes or a fulfilling main for one, such as myself. The Maki was delicious, comprising of salmon and avocado, it was the perfect size for my amateur use of chopsticks and dipping into soya sauce. The tuna was a personal favourite, whether eaten with the Japanese rice in Sashimi or on its own as Nigiri, it was full of flavour. Being quite a meaty fish, the tuna is a great pick if you are someone who may not be as keen on the flavour of a stronger fish.
First to try the winter specials menu, we were generously given the Orange crude. Consisting of white fish in an orange sauce, what you would expect to be overpowering and strong flavours, were understated and subtle. For fish lovers and leavers alike, the dish was tasty with a fresh citrus kick. Other winter specials include: Yakitori ramen, Wagyu beef, Lotus chips with spicy cheese mayo, Salmon teriyaki and even Mulled plum wine to get that festive feeling so try and head over during the festive period for these winter treats.
Overall, Umi had a great ambience and a fine-dining experience within your average Edinburgh budget, and so was definitely worth the visit. While it may not be your regular go-to, if it’s an authentic Japanese treat you’re after, Umi has our vote.
Image Credit: Umi Restaurant Website