When I think of Japanese food, I think of Sushi. However this is not the case for Yummy Tori on Lothian Road. Showcasing a different take on Japanese cuisine, Yummy Tori specialises in Yakitori and Japanese tapas. The menu consists of yakitori skewers, various meat, vegetable and fish tapa dishes to share or Japanese curry dishes and ramens for the individual. They also specialise in Japanese cocktails and various other drinks.
On arrival it was immediately obvious that Yummy Tori was a casual fun restaurant with a large wooden bench in the center of the room, providing a shared dining experience. Around the walls are mirrors covered in colourful messages written by diners. The main attraction of the dining area is the bespoke robotayaki grill where the chefs prepare the yakitori skewers over live hot coals. This showpiece is somewhat overshadowed by the large message in front of it encouraging diners to review them on Trip Advisor.
The food soon arived. From the gourmet tapa’s selection, Prawn Tempura; fresh, juicy prawns in a very delicate Tempura Batter. The batter was light and fluffy and unlike many other tempura dishes I have tasted, this was not greasy at all. The only criticism was the dipping sauce. This lacked any great depth of flavor.
The Yakiniku Beef was presented along with the prawn tempura and was also exceptional. Thin slices of tender beef with onions in a black Pepper Sauce.
From the Tapa’s classic selection we had Teppan Gyoza and Takoyaki. Again both dishes were fantastic and full of flavour. The Teppan Gyoza were thin, hand-made dumplings filled with pork and vegetables. In contrast to the prawn dipping sauce this vinaigrette had lots of flavour.
Takoyaki is a dish of fried Octopus Dumpling Balls. This was covered in what tasted like a sticky Worcestershire sauce. Topped with dancing Bonito Flakes (wafer thin flakes of fish skin which wriggle around from the heat of the food) this gave the dish a theatrical side.
Unfortunately the tasting skewers did not leave as good an impression. We chose Buttabara (pork belly with mustard miso) Yaki Pe Ma Chizu (green peppers stuffed with cheese wrapped in shaved Pork), Shiitake Leek (Grilled Shiitake Mushrooms stuffed with Leeks), Yaki Ebi (prawns wrapped in seaweed and shaved pork) and Tsukune (chicken meatballs).
The green peppers were oozing of warm melting cheese. The chicken meatballs were in a lovely home-made glaze. The mushrooms were juicy and flavoursome. However the pork belly was slightly tough and chewy and the prawn lost in the earthy seaweed. Overall there were highs and lows to the mixed skewers.
The side dish of noodles was delicious; pan fried in a tasty soy sauce. Our other side dish was garlic rice. Disappointingly the fluffy fried rice was overpowered by the chunks of burnt garlic, leaving a bitter taste.
At this stage we were pretty full up but could not resist the Banana Tempura. Again the batter was so light and filled with tasty banana. This was served with sweet whipped cream and honey. A perfect end to the meal.
Throughout our meal the waiters were helpful and friendly. This Japanese provides a very chilled atmosphere, great for a laid back dining experience. Yummy Tori could be the one to convert all those who think they do not like Japanese food (as in sushi) to loving Japanese food.
Bill for two: £47 (Including 2 beers)
Atmosphere: Fun, laid back
Overall: 7/ 10