A few weeks ago we were invited to try the new vegan dishes at Umi in Stockbridge.
As a very big fan of Japanese food, I was particularly excited to see what they had on offer and to have my mind blown tasting real authentic Japanese food, instead of the westernised chain food we’re all used to seeing on every corner.
Tucked away in a basement venue, Umi is in the heart of Stockbridge, located on Deanhaugh Street. I must have walked past it a hundred times during my many trips to the market and somehow, I seem to have missed it every single time.
The decor and ambience of the restaurant is a reason to go to Umi in itself. It has a lovely relaxing vibe, and the staff are so kind and thoughtful that you immediately feel comfortable and welcome. The restaurants looks exactly what I imagine when I think of a Japanese restaurant. It’s simple, sleek and has traditional Japanese seating and decor throughout it like the beautiful lanterns hanging above our table.
Despite the restaurant being fairly small, the layout of the tables allows for lots of space, and I didn’t feel cramped at all.
(We actually liked the decor so much that we bought the exact same lamp for our dining table after our visit).
Having been to a fair few Japanese restaurants around the city, one of the things I really loved was the fact that the chopsticks were not that horrible single use wood that everyone seems to be moving towards. It’s a little thing to even think about, but a little thing that makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable for me.
We started off ordering a few dishes, and then got a bit order-crazy because everything that came out was just SO good.
Steve started off with a classic and one of his favourite things, Edamame beans. In most restaurants, you get a little bit of sea salt sprinkled on top of your Edamame, and you can expect it to be the same, but Umi does things a little differently.
The Edamame bean starter at Umi is cooked using truffle oil, and comes served with a sprinkle of sea salt and saffron threads for added flavour, oh and the portion was absolutely enormous.
When we saw the size of the edamame beans, I panicked a little because I realised how much food we had actually ordered, and all of the dishes we had were generous sized portions, and in my opinion, you definitely get great value for your money.
I started off with some sushi. I am a sucker for sushi, I can’t lie. Whenever Steve asks me what I want to eat, I always want Sushi! Avocado maki is my go to ultimate favourite, but I felt like being spontaneous and trying something a little bit different and so I ended up picking the Hana Roll.
The Hana Roll was filled with mixed leaf salad, cucumber, avocado, and was topped with sesame seeds, rocoto, amarillo and teryaki sauce. It was delicious.
Again the portion was enormous, I am used to getting much smaller portions when it comes to sushi rolls, so I was very pleasantly surprised and VERY full after eating this, which didn’t bode well for how much other food we had ordered.
Next up, we got some vegetable tempura to share, a routine favourite of ours when eating Japanese food.
The vegetable tempura was cooked using a wide variety of vegetables, from my recollection it was asparagus, sweet potato, butternut squash, and onion. It was served with soy sauce for dipping.
The batter was light and crispy, just as you expect from Tempura! No soggy batter here.
Because we were here to try the vegan dishes on the menu, I thought I would go out of my comfort zone and try a dish I’ve never had any variant of before. Ramen!
Yeah, that’s right. Me the Japanese food fanatic had never had ramen before (mainly because I love noodles, rice dishes and sushi so much) but I finally tried some. I feel like I definitely made the right choice in waiting to have ramen because my first ever bowl of ramen was ah-may-zing. AMAZING.
I went for the Crazy Vege Ramen, without any egg, and my goodness… it was unreal. I think half of the reason I hadn’t bothered to try ramen before was because I wasn’t a huge fan of ramen noodles. Well, this bad boy’s noodles were incredible. At Umi, the ramen noodles are homemade, which I think, has a hugely positive impact on the quality of the dish.
The ramen was a rich and creamy vegetarian broth with a special chilli paste and oil, topped with Tofu, Leeks, Sweet Corn, Roast Tomato and mixed baby leaf salad and some chilli strands. It wasn’t too spicy, it had the perfect kick and the richness of the sauce definitely toned down the chilli a wee bit.
Steve also got a rice dish, which we didn’t photograph (he got too carried away munching it away too quickly because it was that good). I wish I had gotten a shot of it!
On the whole, as you can probably tell, we had an absolutely lovely time, and will definitely be heading back to Umi for a date night soon.
I have been recommending Umi to everyone that asks for recommendations in Stockbridge, and will continue to sing it’s praises to anyone that asks!
I can’t thank the staff enough for being so lovely, so accommodating and for putting up with us over-ordering.
We are really looking forward to going back in the very near future.