Sushiya was one of the first restaurants I visited when I moved to Edinburgh. Living not far from Haymarket, and Sam working at Murrayfield, meant that we had both seen and heard great things about this Japanese restaurant. Over the past 4 years we’ve had food from here regularly (mainly as takeout), so when I found out it was closed I was devasted. However, my disappointment was soon replaced with excitement, because I found out that it had only moved location and had rebranded itself as Yamato. Luckily, they only moved to Tollcross, so still my side of town, which I’m very happy with. Sam and I decided to venture to the new location for a Friday date night a couple of weeks ago, to see how it compared to Sushiya.
The Yamato team also have Kanpai (my favourite sushi in Edinburgh) and as soon as I stepped in to Yamato I could feel the connection. Sushiya was a lot smaller and had a more relaxed set up, where as Kanpai and Yamato have a more sophisticated feel. The restaurant is quite big, and the layout is simplistic and intimate. We were presented with menus once seated and everything looked delicious. Sam and I are both big fans of sashimi, so we knew that we had to order the sashimi platter, but the menu has a lot of traditional and non-traditional options. We know what we like when it comes to sushi and we normally order similar types of dishes on every occasion, but we decided to branch out slightly this time.
Our order consisted of karaage (sake marinated fried chicken), salmon & avocado maki, crisp sushi roll with spicy tuna, avocado & lumpfish caviar and salmon sashimi, as well as the Yamato sashimi set. Each dish came out as and when it was ready and each one was fantastic. I hadn’t tasted karaage before, but I thoroughly enjoyed it; every bite was full of flavour, and although it is fried chicken, it wasn’t greasy. Sashimi is so light and refreshing that I could eat this all day. The Yamato sashimi platter had a great selection too with tuna, squid, scallop and mackerel to name a few. Scallop is one of my favourites and isn’t always on every restaurant’s platter, so I was pleased about its arrival! The crisp sushi roll was another new one for me and I was pleasantly surprised; it had a great texture and the tuna, avocado & caviar was a great topping. This roll was very filling, and I prefer raw fish, so I may not order it every time, but I would certainly have it again. Because I was so full I didn’t eat much of the maki, but all the fish was incredible fresh, and the sashimi just melted in my mouth.
As a stand-alone restaurant, I would definitely recommend Yamato because of the lovely atmosphere, good service and fantastic food. But, I found it very similar to Kanpai, and Kanpai is still my favourite sushi spot. All of the dishes are wonderfully presented, and it feels as though a lot of effort as gone in to the new venture. You should definitely pay Yamato a visit for their inventive and classic sushi options, but I can’t lie, I will miss the homely vibe of Sushiya.