119 Lothian Road West End, Edinburgh EH3 9AN
0131 466 9888
Much has been written about the opening of Wagamama in Edinburgh, but it’s easy to forget that there are some great Japanese and Oriental fusion restaurants within walking distance. I think it’s a shame to neglect these independently run businesses in favour of a massive chain, so I’ve managed to avoid Wagamama thus far and will continue to do so until circumstances force me through those doors.
One place that I’ve been meaning to try for years is Izzi: up on that lovely stretch of road that includes quite a few strip clubs and also the much beloved Illegal Jacks.
This is another post wine tasting review: as it was one of the few non-Italian eateries that that stays open after 9pm on a Monday.
I felt like I was in the market for noodles (definitely wouldn’t have said no to a visit to Kampong Ah Lee) but once I browsed Izzi’s menu I quickly settled on some chicken katsu, with a few salmon maki to pick at. James chose udon noodle soup: I have no idea why people want to eat noodle soup. The flavour just runs straight off the noodles, it’s hard to eat: it’s basically a bad idea, people. Don’t do it.
Plus udon noodles put me in mind of tapeworms.
I’ve seen a few reviews of Izzi where people complain that they remove the soy sauce from the table. I didn’t notice as I thought there was plenty for the tasty little sushi bites. I suppose if we’d had more sushi it might have been more noticable.
Something that also made me laugh whilst looking through the reviews on TripAdvisor were the people going on about how nice the pizza was. I didn’t see any pizza on the menu, but maybe that’s because I was in Izzi not Zizzi. 😉
The chicken katsu was salty and tangy and deliciously moreish. The crumb was perfectly crisp whilst the chicken underneath was tender. The sauce had that sweet sticky barbeque flavour quality about it that I enjoy, and I devoured my whole plate of food (including the tasty sticky rice which was easy peasy to pick up with my chopsticks).
The sushi was really nice, too, but it’s not exactly hard to screw up salmon maki. Heck, even I can make salmon maki and I’m a disaster. The point is that they didn’t screw it up: the salmon was lovely and fresh and full of rich flavour.
James didn’t enjoy his udon noodle soup, but why would he? It’s noodle soup.
Funny story: the first time I tried sushi I was about 15 years old. I bought it from Boots. I was a little nervous so tentatively went for the smallest piece of fish I could see first: the problem was what I thought was fish was actually pickled ginger. I didn’t enjoy that, so then I ate some wasabi. Hilarity ensued. Oh how I look back on my uncultured younger self and laugh.
A nice touch was getting fortune cookies at the end of the meal. Mine had a message about embracing an exciting opportunity within the next few days, which got me excited enough for my hopes to be suitably dashed on the rocks of reality by the Friday.
So if you’re being tempted by the shining lights of Wagamama, consider walking a little further and giving Izzi a go. Just avoid the udon noodle soup.