With the opening of Yummytori, just a few weeks ago, the area around Lothian Road has further strengthened its case for being considered as Edinburgh’s “noodle district”. We’ve previously reviewed the excellent Kanpai, taken a trip to the popular Wagamama, and then there is newly opened Njoi, the Meadowood Café, the Rainbow Arch, and I dare say many others.
We were joined today by the same guests as for our visit to Wagamama. That’s because both Katey and Danielle work near the noodle district, you see.
We were welcomed in to the simply appointed new surroundings by the friendly staff, and seated as a corner table. I immediately noticed two things: the large open kitchen/bar area, which gave you a good view of what was going on; and the curious writing on each spare square inch of glass or mirror. These were diner testimonials, all saying very nice things.
We were given a curious little dish to nibble on, while we settled ourselves, which comprised rather inelegant chunks of white cabbage leaf and a punchy miso sauce. The sauce was rather good, but I don’t think the cabbage leaf slabs quite worked as a transport medium for it.
Once we were all assembled, we turned our attention to the menus. MJ and I were momentarily confused as to what to order, but Danielle cut through things with typical élan, suggesting we order all the tapas selections, minus the soft cheese and honey, which wouldn’t have been a favourite with MJ, in any case. In addition, we tried a selection of their “mocktails”.
Dishes began appearing quickly, and after a little while we had a full table of what looked like good size portions. We dived in with considerable gusto.
The dishes that stuck in the mind were: the calamari, which was light and crispy, but a little characterless; the flavour-packed beef; the dumplings, which has a good, well-cooked exterior but a rather non-descript filling; and the salmon, which was overcooked and very dry.
The chicken and pork dishes were completely interchangeable and as such rather cancelled each other out. There was another sesame chicken dish, but it didn’t score a hit.
The mocktails took a while to arrive, and they were similarly hit and miss. Danielle’s lychee one was light on lychee flavour, but Katey kiwi was a resounding success. My green tea and mint “mock-ito” was overly sweet, which rather removed the opportunity for the subtle flavours to cut through the sweetness.
So overall, Yummytori was fine, but little beyond that. The tapas dishes were too similar, and the mocktails rather hit and miss. I found the pricing while reading the menu a little confusing, but the bottom line was certainly reasonable for the dishes we had. Their menu is extensive, so it may be the case that if we’d ordered different items we made have had better luck, so perhaps a return visit would be a good idea. I’m not sure I saw enough quality, today, to put that return visit near the top of my list of things to do, though.
It seems quite a while ago that Blythe and Edinburgh Foody, Edinburgh Eats and I wandered over to the “Noodle District” for lunch. And, actually it was pre-festival season, but forgive me my tardiness.
Yummytori promised to be a new and interesting take on a mix of Eastern dining and Western cocktails, something of a Yakitori Japanese Tapas style of restaurant. In theory, this sounds quite good. In actuality, the food let it down a bit and the drinks took so long to arrive that we had almost finished our food.
It is located right by the Filmhouse, so it seems apt that it is slick and stylish and is set to provide a quick and different dining option for pre-film fodder. The mirrors on the walls are allow you to see the room and kitchen (which is behind glass partitions) and there are dry erase markers where patrons are encouraged to write their comments and smiley faces for other guests to see. I wonder how often they clean them and start fresh?
The menu is a good size and offers an array of dishes that you’d expect such as Ramen – with silly names like Moo Moo and Oink Oink, yakitori sets, and rice dishes. Since there were four of us, we opted for a set of tapas without the cheese. (Thanks guys).
We were brought out a plate of white cabbage and some thick, rather nice, miso sauce. Sadly, the cabbage wasn’t quite up to scratch, and while this is a nice idea, the produce let it down on the day.
When our dishes began to arrive, we dug in after being amused at the tomato with ears. The sliced beef in a Yakiniku sauce was well balanced and the sauce worked well. So well, in fact, that I used it when trying some of the other dishes too. The dumplings were good. The filling was a fine pork and veggie mix, but dumplings are not their specialty.
The salmon teriyaki had all the makings of being a classic dish that I love, but the salmon was dried out and had lost that tenderness that it should have while the teriyaki sauce overpowered the subtleties of flavour.
The fried chicken and pork dishes were non-descript, which isn’t to say they were bad, but I have fond tasting memories of similar dishes at Koyama.
So while the whole meal did the trick for feeding us at lunch, it didn’t make me want to rush back.
MJ scores Yummytori:
2/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 12/20
Blythe scores Yummytori:
2.5/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 12.5/20
Today’s questers were: MJ, Danielle, Katey, Blythe
We ate: all of their tapas options, bar the soft cheese and honey
We drank: mocktails, water
We wore: noodle-district chic
Total bill: c.£35