Sushi Sisters Impress
It seems fitting that the first restaurant I review post-pandemic is the sister restaurant of the last one I reviewed, way back in 2019.
Much has changed on the restaurant scene in that time, including, sadly the closure of many a favourite dining spot. Other restaurants have limited their opening times to a few days a week, whilst new eateries have sprung up in the city. It’s a whole new world of eating out.
Back in September 2019, I visit one of Edinburgh’s most charming and authentic Japanese restaurants – Umi. I was really taken by the interior, which recreated a Japanese street scene in a quaint Stockbridge basement, and enjoyed some superb food.
I was therefore excited to be venturing to sister establishment Bentoya, located on Bread Street, off bustling Lothian Road, to pick up where I left off almost three years ago.
The interior, whilst pleasant, didn’t create the same impact as Umi, so the focus here was most definitely on the food – and it didn’t disappoint. Taking a hungry, Japanese food-loving 19-year-old helped with narrowing the choice from an extensive menu of sushi and ramen, to four dishes, which we shared.
We were also guided by the super helpful manager, who made some recommendations and suggested we start with a few dishes which we could add to as we ate. As in Umi, the food is brought out as it is prepared, keeping it fresh and an interesting dining experience.
We ordered two small dishes – deep fried squid rings with spicy salt and pepper, which had a lively kick, and Age Dashi Tofu – deep fried tofu with grated daikon in a dashi broth. My daughter and I definitely preferred the spicy squid, and wouldn’t hesitate to order it again. The tofu, on the other hand, didn’t go down as well – it is an acquired taste, and whilst the crispy exterior was delicious, we weren’t keen on the consistency of the tofu.
Onto the mains, and we went with the manager’s suggestion of Red Dragon Roll, a first for us. The prawn tempura and cucumber roll topped with torched salmon, mayo, parsley and flying fish roe was bite-sized and left a delicate flavour on our palates. We were instantly big fans. To accompany this, we had Dynamite Roll – six pieces of soft shell crab tempura, salmon, avocado and jalapeno roll, topped with tempura flake, teriyaki sauce and spring onion. These giant rolls gave us a chopsticks challenge as they were too big to swiftly pop in your mouth in one move, however we persevered and had fun trying to get the smaller pieces to their destination without losing too much en route. Both dishes were faultless and filling. In fact, we didn’t need to order any more.
What I liked about Umi, and is replicated at Bentoya, is value for money. For two of us, minus drinks, our bill came to £33.40.
There is an extensive menu, also available in take away, and gluten free options.
Although Umi closed during the pandemic, it is due to re-open later this year.
It is great to see the sisters thriving – there are three altogether – and even better to be enjoying meals out again.
Bentoya, 13 Bread Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AL
Tel. 0131 629 3993
Photo Credit: Elise Stewart