Umi

Umi

13th August 2019 5.30pm

https://umiedinburgh.com/

Umi can be found nestled in the heart of Stockbridge. Sister restaurant to both Kenji Sushi and Bentoya, Umi is the youngest of the trio but already strong in its following. They aim to offer high quality, authentic food at an affordable price.

Food – 9/10

We ate:

  • Chicken and vegetable gyoza
  • Aubergine goma
  • Tuna maki
  • Avocado maki
  • Tokyo roll
  • Chashu don
  • Diet coke
  • Glass of white wine

The menu here is extensive and we really had to stop ourselves from over-ordering as there was such great choice and the menu layout made it all look so appetising. Sadly the stonebowl fried rice dish my friend wanted to order was unavailable but the helpful staff immediately recommended a suitable alternative from the specials menu which was a close match. This came with a miso soup which my friend gulped down. As you will be able to tell from the photo, when the aubergine goma arrived I cracked right in because I was so excited. So unfortunately you cannot see it in its original glory. It was a sweetened triumph that I wolfed down. The tuna and avocado maki arrived together. These were perfectly balanced between the rice and filling. The tuna was also at the right temperature to get the best flavour.

Aubergine Goma (half eaten!) - Umi

Aubergine Goma (half eaten!) – Umi

Tuna Maki and Avocado Maki - Umi

Tuna Maki and Avocado Maki – Umi

The gyoza came all joined together, which was unusual but made the presentation pretty. They were easy to take apart and the filling was delicious. The dipping sauce added a little contrast too. The toyko roll was generous in portion, with plenty of filling in the roll but still being a manageable size to fit in your mouth. I always feel conflicted about getting chicken in a sushi roll as it doesn’t seem right, but my love for the toyko roll knows no bounds. The chashu don was a special so I am not sure how often it features but consisted of steamed rice, topped with pork belly and the house special sauce. The pork belly was broken down into strips to be eaten easily with chopsticks. There was plenty of rice too.

Chicken and Vegetable Gyoza - Umi

Chicken and Vegetable Gyoza – Umi

Tokyo Roll - Umi

Tokyo Roll – Umi

Chashu Don - Umi

Chashu Don – Umi

Service – 8/10

The staff were very friendly and approachable. We did have to chase up on one drink but this was because the restaurant had become very busy very quickly. Everything else came out in a very timely manner.

Atmosphere – 8/10

This place had a really nice vibe about it. Whilst relatively empty when we arrived for our early table booking, this place was bustling within about 10 minutes of our arrival. However, that just added to the charm and feel of the place. The decor was unassuming and stripped back, which allowed the food to speak for itself. There was a happiness about this restaurant which we enjoyed.

Value – 9/10

Whilst the food was complimentary, we felt for sushi it was good value for money. You don’t have to spend much to have a filling meal and you can get rice or ramen dishes for under a tenner.

Cost – approximately £45

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Most definitely. I need to work my way through the menu.

Thank you to Julia from Crimson Edge for organising. Whilst the food was complimentary, views expressed are my own.

Restoration Yard

Restoration Yard – Steak Night

26th April 2019 7.30pm

www.restorationyard.com

Dalkeith Country Park is a lovely place. I am ashamed to say I had not visited since its refurbishment a few years back. There’s a new chef on the block in the form of Colin Halliday, who has previously worked at the likes of The Caledonian and Gleneagles. The café opens up in the evening on the last Friday of each month for a steak night, which is what we went to sample. Don’t worry if you are not a steak fan, as there are alternatives if you prefer.

Food – 9/10

What we ate:
Pork belly
Smoked haddock fishcake
Fillet steak
Rib-eye steak
Sticky toffee pudding
Raspberry crème brûlée
Two diet cokes

The starters were a bit different in size but that wasn’t an issue. My pork belly was small but perfectly formed. However, it was the accompanying Stornaway black pudding bon bon which was the star of the plate. Every mouthful was packed with flavour and was a delight to eat. The pea purée and apple sauce ensured that the food wasn’t too dry and pulled all the elements together. Across from me, the fishcake was also getting the thumbs up. This came with a crispy hen’s egg, which was breadcrumbed, along with a tomato and onion salsa. It was a hearty starter but balancing it with salad was a good idea.

Smoked Haddock Fishcake - Restoration Yard

Smoked Haddock Fishcake – Restoration Yard

Pork belly - Restoration Yard

Pork belly – Restoration Yard

Both steaks came with roasted cherry vine tomatoes, a portobello mushroom and hand-cut chips. I chose the Café de Paris butter to go with my steak and my dining companion opted for a peppercorn sauce. We didn’t get steak knives for the steak but this caused no bother as the meat cut like butter. Both of the steaks were full of flavour. I was really pleased with the café de Paris butter, which I had not eaten before. It was full of herby flavour that worked so well with the steak. My friend also rated the peppercorn sauce, adding that it had a nice heat to it. The chips were plentiful and the vegetables well cooked.

Fillet steak - Restoration Yard

Fillet steak – Restoration Yard

Rib-eye steak - Restoration Yard

Rib-eye steak – Restoration Yard

We pushed the boat out with dessert. I couldn’t resist the sound of the sticky toffee pudding and my friend loves a crème brûlée. The sticky toffee pudding was delicious. The vanilla ice cream was beautifully smooth and the toffee sauce was incredible. The raspberry crème brûlée was being enjoyed too. My friend said it was unusual to have the raspberries under the sugar top rather than at the bottom of the dish but it worked really well that way. The top was crunchy and gave a good crack when hit with the spoon.

Sticky Toffee Pudding - Restoration Yard

Sticky Toffee Pudding – Restoration Yard

Raspberry Creme Brûlée - Restoration Yard

Raspberry Creme Brûlée – Restoration Yard

Service – 9/10

Nothing was too much trouble. The staff were friendly and helpful.

Atmosphere – 8/10

The dining area was light and airy and full of quirky decorations from the tables, which all seemed to have themes, to the light fittings. The views were great, with the large windows allowing diners a view out into the park. However, there was no escaping the fact that this felt more like a café than a restaurant – which is what it is most of the time.

Value – 8/10

Pretty good value. Whilst this meal was complimentary, the total cost would have been around £95.

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Definitely. It is well worth a visit.

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views expressed are my own. Thanks to Lucy for organising.

Chicken massaman curry - Dusit

Dusit

15th March 2019 7.30pm

www.dusit.co.uk

Food – 9/10

We ate:
• Thung Kam Phoy – Moneybags
• Ped Chom Yong – Pretty duck
• Chicken massaman curry
• Chicken panang curry
• Sticky rice x2
• One glass of wine

The duck salad was exquisite. The meat itself was tender and succulent. The sweet chilli sauce dressing on the salad was not too sweet and worked well with the surprise of the dish, mango. I really was unsure whether mango would work but I loved it. The onions have added zing and the cashew nuts brought the texture. Across the table, the moneybags looks really cute. Four adorned the plate, with a bowl of sweet chilli sauce and a beautifully presented salad. Inside the bags were mushrooms, toasted glutinous rice, and herbs and spices. These went down well.

Per Chom Yong - Dusit

Per Chom Yong – Dusit

Thung Kam Phoy - Dusit

Thung Kam Phoy – Dusit

The chicken massaman curry was delicious. The bowl looked small on arrival but I actually struggled to finish it. Filled with plenty of chicken and potato and topped off with some crispy fried onions, this was a hearty dish which went really well with the amazingly sticky rice we had ordered. My dining companion also enjoyed her chicken panang curry but said she thought she would have preferred mine. That said, she still thought her dish had good flavour and was tasty.

Chicken massaman curry - Dusit

Chicken massaman curry – Dusit

Chicken Panang - Dusit

Chicken Panang – Dusit

Unsurprisingly we were too full for dessert.

Service – 9/10

Very helpful staff.

Atmosphere – 9/10

Dusit has a bustling atmosphere but somehow is not noisy. It felt like a vibrant restaurant.

Dusit

Dusit

Value – 8/10

The food isn’t the cheapest but it is of great quality.

Cost £60

Overall – 35/40

Would I eat here again? Definitely

Bang bang chicken burger - Brewdog

Brewdog (Lothian Road)

6th March 2019 6pm

www.brewdog.com/bars/uk/brewdog-lothian-road/

Food – 8/10

We ate:
• Bang bang chicken burger (special)
• Jackpot burger
• Fries x 2
• Beer
• Diet coke

Bang bang chicken burger - Brewdog

Bang bang chicken burger – Brewdog

The bang bang chicken burger was excellent. It was quite stacked, with a deep fried chicken thigh, hot sauce, lettuce and sriracha mayo. A light slaw sat on top. The flavours danced on the taste buds and was a delight to eat. The mayo really worked well in pulling all the ingredients together. Somehow it almost felt like a healthy burger (I can kid myself!) The fries were a little limp though, which was a bit disappointing.

Jackpot burger and fries - Brewdog

Jackpot burger and fries – Brewdog

The jackpot burger consisted of a beef brisket patty with chorizo, black pudding, blue cheese and bbq sauce. This was also a large burger but easy enough to manage. It was full of flavour. The bun was also great as it was covered in poppy and sesame seeds.

Fritz-Kola - Brewdog

Fritz-Kola – Brewdog

Service – 8/10

Friendly service.

Atmosphere – 7/10

Great if you like a bustling atmosphere but perhaps a bit too noisy for decent conversation.

Brewdog

Brewdog

Value – 9/10

The voucher was a good deal but at full price, the burgers were still good value.

True cost approximately £35

Overall – 32/40

Would I eat here again? Yes.

Mumbai Masala - Konkana

Konkana

5th March 2019 6pm

www.konkana.co.uk

Food – 8.5/10

We ate:
• Poppadoms and chutneys
• Chilli squid
• Ajwaini prawns
• Mumbai masala
• Machhere Jhol
• 2 x garlic naans
• Lemon rice

Konkana is a seafood specialty Indian restaurant and is a sister restaurant to Kalpna. Their starters were beautifully presented. My chilli squid was full of massive pieces of squid, which were lightly coated in a chilli batter. This sat on a delightful sauce and came with a delicious salad that is worth eating. Usually side salads on these plates are limp and not worth attempting but this was zingy and fresh. Don’t overlook it. On the other side of the table, my dining companion was raving about the prawns. They were juicy and worked well with yet another excellent sauce. The poppadoms were nice and crispy. The chutneys tasted good, although the mango chutney was quite gloopy and difficult to manoeuvre.

Chilli squid - Konkana

Chilli squid – Konkana

Ajwaini Prawns - Konkana

Ajwaini Prawns – Konkana

Chutneys - Konkana

Chutneys – Konkana

The curries were of a high standard. I’d never had a fish curry before but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked. My Mumbai masala contained a lovely bit of pollock placed in a masala sauce. My friend was tucking into the Machhere Jhol, which is a Bengali fish curry. She really enjoyed the curry, even though her palate usually prefers something a bit hotter. We discussed the challenges of not overpowering fish with too much spice and we appreciated the skill needed to get the balance right. The cod in the curry was of good quality. The accompanying garlic naans were spot on and the lemon rice was a nice addition without being too lemony. There is always a risk of tasting like washing up liquid and luckily the chef did not fall into this trap.

Mumbai Masala - Konkana

Mumbai Masala – Konkana

Machhere Jhol - Konkana

Machhere Jhol – Konkana

Garlic naan - Konkana

Garlic naan – Konkana

Lemon Rice - Konkana

Lemon Rice – Konkana

Service – 9.5/10

Very polite service. Nothing was too much trouble but we weren’t constantly pestered either. The poppadoms did come out after we were part way through our starters, which we thought was a little odd but wasn’t problematic.

Atmosphere – 8/10

A thoroughly modern restaurant with comfy seating and a relaxed atmosphere.

Konkana

Konkana

Value – 8/10

Whilst this meal was complimentary, the quality of the food generally means the price is worth it. It’s not the cheapest of curries but the class of the seafood was top notch. The full value of this meal would have been around £55.

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Definitely.

Thank you to Hotel PR for organising. Whilst this meal was complimentary, view expressed are my own.

Quattro stagioni pizza - Mia

Mia (Dalry Road Branch)

28th February 2019 5.30pm

http://mia-restaurant.co.uk/

Food – 8/10

We ate:
• Calamari
• Salsiccia e borlotti
• Bianca pizza
• Quattro stagioni pizza

My calamari was pretty good. It was quite thick but not chewy. The coating was light and the garlic mayo was spot on. Across from the, the salsicca e borlotti wasn’t quite as expected. Described on the menu as ‘pan fried Italian sausages served on a bed of borlotti beans and toasted bread’, in reality this was more like a broth. However, my friend absolutely loved it. She said the flavour was excellent, even if it wasn’t what she thought she’d be eating.

Calamari - Mia

Calamari – Mia

Salsiccia e borlotti - Mia

Salsiccia e borlotti – Mia

The pizzas were both a decent size (to the point that neither of us could finish them). My quattro stagioni pizza came with toppings of artichokes, mushrooms, pepperoni and Parma ham. They were not either equally spread over the top of the pizza or places in quarters. They were kind of dumped in the middle. It wasn’t a big deal though as it tasted really good. I’d never had artichoke on a pizza but really enjoyed it. My friend enjoyed her bianca pizza. This was a ‘white’ pizza with mozzarella, mushrooms and truffle oil. Simple but effective.

Quattro stagioni pizza - Mia

Quattro stagioni pizza – Mia

Bianca pizza - Mia

Bianca pizza – Mia

Service – 7.5/10

Service was a little slow to start with. However, it did pick up as we went through our dinner.

Atmosphere – 8/10

This was a bustling restaurant, even at the early time we had booked. Plenty of people were also popping in to make bookings too. We also loved our album cover menus, which was a bit of fun.

Mia

Mia

Value – 8/10

We had a voucher deal, which made this particularly good value but even at full price, this wasn’t too bad.

Cost for the voucher was £22 for two courses for two with a glass of wine or beer each. Full cost likely to be nearer £48.

Overall – 31.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yes.

La Casa

La Casa

12th February 2019 5.30pm

la-casa-restaurant.co.uk

Food – 8/10
We ate:
• Bruschetta
• Pulpo
• Gambas pil pil
• Croquettas de Serrano
• Calamari (x2)
• Halloumi (x2)
• Loukanika (x2)
• Churros
• Cake
• 1 large glass of wine

The menu here had lots of choice and it took us a fair bit of deliberation before deciding what to have. La Casa offers a mix Mediterranean dishes, with Spanish and Greek being most prevalent. As usual with tapas, the plates came out when ready, although we were a little surprised that the bruschetta was the last thing to arrive.

Pulpo - La Casa

Pulpo – La Casa

The best dish for me was the pulpo, which was an octopus and potato dish. This was just amazing and the plate of food I keep thinking about a few weeks later. The tentacles could put some people off, visually, but I thought they looked beautiful. The texture was great and worked really well with the potatoes, which were soft and golden.

Halloumi - La Casa

Halloumi – La Casa

My two dining companions both had the halloumi and raved about how good it was. Three large slices of the cheese had been griddled and served with a salad. This was a very generous portion and gave them both a satisfying cheese hit.

Calamari - La Casa

Calamari – La Casa

Gambas pil pil - La Casa

Gambas pil pil – La Casa

The rest of the seafood – the calamari and the gambas pil pil – were both really good. The quality was high and were cooked well. The calamari came with a small side salad and a lovely dish of aioli, which was delicious.

Croquettas de Serrano - La Casa

Croquettas de Serrano – La Casa

Loukanika - La Casa

Loukanika – La Casa

The croquettas also got the thumbs up. These were also served with aioli. The loukanika was interesting. The Greek pork sausage lacked a little texture but still had good flavour. The accompanying leeks and peppers made the stew feel quite homely.

Bruschetta - La Casa

Bruschetta – La Casa

The bruschetta, as mentioned earlier, arrived last. The bread was brown which was a surprise. It was a little underwhelming and could have done with some onion and more basil in it. Perfectly edible though.

Churros - La Casa

Churros – La Casa

Cake - La Casa

Cake – La Casa

I was way too stuffed for dessert (partly because I’d had one more dish than the other two). My friends decided to order churros and the cake special. The churros looked a touch anemic and felt a little greasy. The chocolate dip was good though. The cake was quite sodden with honey, but it still all disappeared in a flurry.

Service – 8/10
The service was friendly and helpful. We were not rushed out, even though the restaurant was getting full.

Atmosphere- 8/10
We had a relatively early booking but this place got bustling fairly quickly. There was a friendly vibe here which made it great for relaxed dining. Some of the tables were packed a little closely together but it wasn’t too bad.

Value – 8/10
Some plates are better value than others but overall it was pretty reasonable for all the food we ate.

Cost £83.

Overall – 32/40

Would I eat here again? Definitely. I want that octopus again and there are other things I’d like to try.