In the past few weeks of the Fringe and Edinburgh International Festivals, I can honestly say I’ve probably eaten out more with friends and family than I have been to see the shows on offer. On some friends’ recent visit, they had read good reviews about Koyama, a Japanese restaurant on Forrest Road, and wanted to try it out. I’ve never been and ever game for sushi and Japanese food, we headed that way for a quick meal before they jetted off for another Fringe show.
The restaurant proudly boasts of being the only Japanese restaurant in Edinburgh that has their dinnerware imported directly from Japan and I have to say, on stepping into the restaurant, a lot of the decor and utensils did bring a sense of comfort and familiarity with the Asian culture.
The interior has been simply decorated, but it’s just enough to give the place a Japanese vibe without being overwhelming. The sight of kanji writing on the wall and a Japanese geisha doll brought forth fond childhod memories of similar Chinese dolls we had displayed in our family home.
Just as a forewarning, Koyama is not your typical sushi restaurant. If you’re looking for a good range of sushi to choose from, you’re best visiting Bonsai (at Richmond Street or Broughton Street or Sushiya (Dalry Road at Haymarket) which are my favourite sushi restaurants. If you want a change and get an idea of what other goodies are on offer in Japanese cuisine, Koyama is your place to go. There’s seriously a lot more to Japanese food than sushi!
The menu on offer
If you know what you’re looking out for or what dishes you like to eat, the menu offers too much choice. I’m a big fan of a lot of Japanese foods so I had difficulty choosing between the gyoza (pan fried dumplings), tempura (deep fried vegetables or seafood in batter), bento boxes (rice boxes with salad, sushi, meat and sometimes fruit) and various other dishes. Luckily, my friends had similar cravings/tastes in food as me and we were able to come to unanimous final choices.
Soft shell crab rolls and bibimbap (a sizzling hot stone bowl with rice, vegetables, beef and a raw egg which you mix together to cook before eating)
Takoyaki (octopus balls, like ebelskiver are sweet, takoyaki are savoury Japanese starters or snacks and are served with a sweet BBQ sauce, mayo and dried octopus flakes)
Unfortunately, once we started eating, I forgot all about taking photos of some dishes before we started in on them, so I’ve missed out on the ramen with pork katsu (deep fried pork chop coated in bread crumbs). With a table full of Asians, I think we were all quite satisfied with the quality of food and the tea we were served. It was slightly disappointing how small the takoyaki was, but given that the size of them aren’t as big as what you can find in Hong Kong and on the streets of Japan, I could hardly complain.
Koyama is open 12:00 noon to 11:00pm daily and can be found on 20 Forrest Road. You can also call ahead to book a table by phoning 0131 225 6555.
Have you been to Koyama? What did you think of the restaurant and the food? Did you have a favourite dish?