Hay Sushi (hey hey hey!)

Joining me to try out Dalry Road’s newest restaurant, Hay Sushi were Salt n’Sass, Lancashire Lass and The Pineapple?? (I know!!  let people choose their own dining handles and see what happens……sheesh! :o)

I was at first a little concerned when I spotted a new Sushi restaurant opening just a few doors down from Sushiya, one of my favourite Edinburgh Sushi bars but in the spirit of Eating Edinburgh soon found some eager dining companions to test it out, including a Japanese friend (The Pineapple) who is better placed than most to comment! (actually she also proved invaluable when it came to ordering as she knew what everything was and we ended up with some more interesting options rather than the same old miso, tempuras and sushi/sashimi platters).

The Urban, contemporary decor, with sleek colours and fluorescent lighting on the walls was ‘married’ with distinctly Oriental colours and patterns and there was a nice buzz and a mixture of diners.

On making our selection, the dishes soon began to arrive, one or two at a time so we had time to admire them before polishing them off before moving on to the next. Little tip from (The) Pineapple in a Japanese restaurant the chopsticks will be placed horizontally on the table (rather like a dessert spoon) and not vertically as in a Chinese.

Agedashi

The first of our dishes to arrive was Agedashi Tofu, cubes of silken tofu with gently quivering bonito flakes around the outside to give it some Umami with a soy dipping sauce, it was lovely!! Next was a Wakame (seaweed) salad which was a little disappointing, possibly trying to be too British with a lot of lettuce leaves but the red seaweed in it and the dressing were very delicious.

And so the dishes kept coming, Ebi Gyoza (prawn dumplings) and Temaki, (large Nori cones of sushi, salmon & avocado, spicy tuna and soft-shelled crab), beautifully presented and again, very tasty, the rice perfectly cooked little ‘fluffy pillows’ and not hard or dry as you often get served.

Temaki

My ultimate favourites though were the Sashimi set, boasting octopus, squid, scallop, sea bass, tuna, mackerel, salmon roe and cockle, again wonderfully presented and adorned with crab and salmon eggs and the Dark Dragon Roll, which was a long sushi roll filled with eel, a deep fried prawn at one end creating the head of the dragon, delicious!

All of this was washed down nicely with warm sake and we all had a couple of beers (or in my case red wines). I had been given a 10% discount card and on bringing us the bill we were delighted to discover that with a decent tip we owed the very reasonable sum of £25 each, bargain!

Sashimi Set

The food and the company were great, so was the decor and the prices, the only thing that lets it down at the moment is the service which was unsteady and lacking personality (on The Pineapple asking for a Japanese speciality that is often served ‘off-menu’ the waitress informed us she wasn’t Japanese and didn’t even offer to check with the Chef and also after finishing our meal we were left for about 20 minutes and had to ask the waitress for more drinks).

The presentation was great and the food was lovingly placed on gorgeous crackle glazed crockery, although this is traditionally a more Chinese trait whereas the Japanese dishes tend to be pretty simple and let the fish speak for itself (amazing what you learn isn’t it!)

The head of our Eel Black Dragon Roll

The bathroom was a little basic, a square ‘box’ next to the kitchen and fronting on to the main aisle which allows you to knock out a waitress or two with the door if they’re not being vigilant and also the kitchen staff I suspect could hear the more ‘enthusiastic’ of bathroom-goers!

The overall score I think was a 7-8 out of 10, really not bad for a restaurant that I thought might have shot itself in the foot opening so close to a well established one with a loyal following. Hopefully they will soon offer a takeaway service and their in-house service will come up to speed and I would happily recommend giving it a whirl (and don’t forget to ask for your reusable 10% discount card).

Don’t just take my word for it though, this is what my dining companions had to say about the restaurant:

The Pineapple:  The sashimi platter was nice and varied with around 8 to 10 different kinds of seafood. It was good to see agedashi tofu, which is deep-fried tofu with dashi sauce and shaved bonito flakes (katsuobushi) done well – it’s a simple dish and I think getting the simple things right is
important, especially in Japanese cooking. So it was slightly
disappointing that the seaweed salad was not as good, the salad leaves
overwhelming the seaweed and cucumber.

Whilst I would say the quality and taste is good, there are some things
that are not quite Japanese like the kind of chopsticks used or some
aspects of the food presentation. The picky Japanese punter side of me
says I wish Hay Sushi and more Japanese restaurants in Edinburgh could
be totally authentic, but understandably they are trying to cater for
their market.

Lancashire Lass: Excellent broad menu choice featuring an array of delicate and some more robust Japanese flavours. Sashimi a real highlight – beautifully melt-in-the-mouth texture and fantastic quality. An improvement in the lack lustre service would result in me making a diversion for a cheeky sushi roll on the way home from work….

Salt n’Sass: Delicious Sashimi – my first time eating just raw fish and i loved it! Presentation was divine. Service was not the most attentive, but for the price we paid for a very large selection of dishes, I’m more than happy to make that concession. Consider me a Hay Sushi fan!

Hay Sushi, 15 Dalry Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2BQ. 07956 541 116

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