Maki & Ramen – Omakase Sushi Bar

13/02/22

Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

It’s what can only be described as a dreich night in Edinburgh. The rain has been coming down for hours and shows no signs of letting up. An attempt to seek solace at our usual haunt, The Cameo, backfires when we discover the place has been taken over for a quiz about ‘Chick Flicks’ – which is in neither of our wheelhouses. Then we remember, we still haven’t spent the money my in-laws gave me for my birthday back in December…

We make a quick call to Maki & Ramen and they have a table for us. Result!

Back when we were first in Edinburgh, this venue housed the ramshackle but rather delightful Kampong Ah Lee, which specialised in delightful Malaysian cuisine and spectacularly tacky wall art. Now the place is part of a mini-chain of restaurants, all in Edinburgh city centre, and the cuisine is Japanese (indeed, I visited it briefly in 2017, shortly after its name-change, while it still hadn’t settled on its game plan). When we arrive, the place is bustling with other bedraggled customers seeking refuge from the rain, but the friendly staff are well-organised and pretty soon we’re sipping our drinks and perusing the menu. Since ‘omakase’ literally means ‘dishes selected by the chef,’ we’re happy to let our waiter recommend some dishes she thinks we might enjoy.

We start with a grilled sushi set which is very good indeed: seven pieces of seafood (salmon, clam and prawn) wrapped around sticky rice, and so tender, they virtually melt in the mouth – as does the side of pork gyoza, which is accompanied by a portion of crisp endamame beans.

On a night like this, of course, a big warming bowl of ramen is an appropriate choice. I opt for chicken karaage, the chunks of tender meat encased in a really light and fluffy batter, while Susan chooses the salmon ramen. Both bowls come to the table piping hot, the broth fiery and satisfying. And both bowls contain a perfectly soft boiled egg and a selection of greens.

I’d like to tell you that while we’re eating the rain gradually recedes, that the skies roll miraculously back and (despite it being after eight o clock) the sun blazes benignly down upon us. Obviously, none of this happens, but for a while, I can actually imagine it. And, as far as a ‘pick-you-up’ goes, this is exactly what we needed.

We’ll be back before very much longer.

4.6 stars

Philip Caveney

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