Saturday, 11 June 2011

Koyama Japanese Restaurant

One of the many things I love about Edinburgh is its sense of identity. This manifests itself in many ways and if you're a foodie, you are spoilt for choice in terms of local produce available and the variety of shops, cafes and restaurants which are all locally owned. Of course there are concessions to the trappings of the homogenisation of the high street and there are a number of Starbucks, Pret A Manger, et al in town but I'm proud to say that these don't clog up the streets of Edinburgh like they have in other places. So it is with a small touch of sadness that I recently read that super noodle chain Wagamamas will be opening their first store in Edinburgh on Lothian Road. The truth is, I actually like Wagamamas and would normally have welcomed the news, right up until last weekend. Which is when I visited Koyama Restaurant, a newly opened Japanese restaurant which heavily features sushi and noodles on their menu. Of course the city can sustain the opening of one little Wagamamas alongside other similar and nearby restaurants, however as I ate my meal at Koyama (which was not even a quarter full on Saturday lunchtime) my heart went out to the charming and eager staff whose business could potentially be taken away by the super chain. So don't get me wrong, I am not against superchains opening up in Edinburgh but for me it's the diverse and distinctive local restaurants and cafes that make the city special and I know I'll keep going back and want to support them.

I'll get off my soapbox now and onto the food! Koyama is located near the Meadows on Forrest Road and is a light, cheerful space with colourful touches such as bright blue painted tables. The staff were wonderfully friendly, attentive and eager to help with the menu - they have just opened after all. Their menu has an extensive sushi selection with some interesting sounding choices. Not all of these had descriptions so it may well be wise to seek advice before ordering (I'm still not sure what a white golden roll is). There are some reasonably priced sushi sets available too, ranging from a 16 piece maki set costing £11.95, up to £24.95 for a 21 piece maki, nigiri and sashimi set.  My dining companion had some beautifully presented salmon nigiri as a starter, which cost £3 for 2 large pieces, and was proclaimed "very fresh and very good."

Noodles are their other specialty with a large range of wok-fried and soup based options, and a choice of udon, ramen and soba noodles. My dining companion had chicken katsu yakisoba (£9.90). There was a large piece of tender chicken with a crispy topping and a generous drizzle of katsu sauce on top of tasty noodles and vegetables.

I decided to have the the sushi bento box, comprising of 3 salmon and tuna maki rolls, teriyaki chicken, salad, rice and miso soup. for £12.50. The bento arrived in a traditional black lacquered box which the waitress unveiled at the table. It was quite possibly the largest bento I've had - the maki rolls were fat and juicy, a proper size rather than a 'bento' portion. The teriyaki chicken was delicious and moist - their own sticky sweet teriyaki sauce had a great flavour and I would love to try their hot-plate teriyaki on my next visit. Bento boxes are a great choice for someone who wants a bit of variety and this was a perfectly balanced selection.

There are some other favourites available too - tempura (from £4.50), yakimono (chargrilled skewers, from £4), rice sets and gyoza (£5.50). There's such a great range on the menu, and I'm already planning what to have on my next visit. Koyama have an opening deal of 10% off food running through June so pay them a visit if you'd like to support local business and want try some delicious Japanese food.

20 Forrest Road
Tel: 0131 225 6555


Chiara said...

Sounds delicious, thanks for posting. Will definitely give it a try soon!

Katey said...

Thanks Chiara - let me know what you think if you end up there!

Anonymous said...

Can't agree more. Best Japanese restaurant in Edinbugh!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous place - just had lunch with work colleagues and it was superb. Wonderful fresh food, seemed pretty authentic from my non-Japanese but sushi-loving viewpoint - great service too.

Katey said...

Glad you've enjoyed the visits - I'm going again this week and am really looking forward to it!

Simon said...

This place is amazing. Great value, the portions are big and the food is AMAZING. Check out the lovely maki sets (Tokyo, California and spicy tuna roll being my favourites) and also the hot plates are absolutely delicious

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