Maki and Ramen Sushi Bar

Every couple months the flatmates and I try different sushi restaurants: a true bonding experience over our shared love of all things sourced from the sea and deep fried. On this occasion we skipped down to the newly opened, third addition to the Maki and Ramen Sushi Bar family. On the corner of Fountain Bridge and Ponton street, the spacious dining area and authentic Japanese looking open plan kitchen enabled us to watch the talented chefs working their magic while we sipped on crisp Sapporo beers.

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Going with our standard ordering tactic, try everything, we started with sweet pumpkin croquettes, salty pork gyoza and spicy beef tataki ramen. The croquettes were crunchy golden pockets filled with smooth sweet pumpkin and drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise. Definitely one of my favourite dishes on the menu, my taste buds sang with joy.

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The gyoza were soft steamed parcels, perfect for dipping, that greedily soaked up the salty soy sauce and fell apart in your mouth.

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The beef tataki ramen was a vat of spicy, creamy curry broth drowning a thick heap of noodles, crisp spring onions, sweetcorn and tender pieces of beef with a soft boiled egg. The broth alone was exquisitely indulgent and spicy but when eaten with a little bit of everything the flavours exploded in my mouth; these guys know exactly what they are doing.

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The second wave of our seafood feast was a glorious platter of sashimi: salmon, tuna, octopus, squid and surf clam all nestled in a bed of ice crystals. Paired with tangy ginger and eye watering wasabi every morsel was devoured. Piece. By. Piece.

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And last but by no means least the final wave: green dragon rolls, rainbow rolls and spicy tuna rolls. The dragon rolls were devine; crispy prawn tempura cushioned in sweet rice topped with the freshest, creamiest avocado i have ever been privileged enough to taste.

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The rainbow rolls were a pretty display of avocado, salmon, tuna and sea bass draped over crab stick wrapped sushi rolls that tasted clean and fresh.

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The spicy tuna maki were bitesize, fiery and perfect with a shaving of pink pickled ginger.

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Maki and Ramen is under ten minutes from our flat which is both a beautiful and dangerous thing. We will definitely be returning for many more flat mate dinners; flat mate number 2 loved the dragon rolls so much he ordered two trays to bring home and demolish that same night.

Do yourself a favour and book a table immediately, i guarantee you have not tried sushi this fresh, tasty or moreish. The staff were friendly and polite and the mix of families, couples and groups of young 20 somethings created a carefree chatty atmosphere; with everyone collectively pausing to admire the chef’s culinary skills at smoking some secret delicacy under a bell jar every now and then.

To everyone in the Maki and Ramen Sushi Bar family – thank you. Thank you for reminding me how delicious sushi can be when done right and reminding all three of us to organise our flat mate dinners more often.

 

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Three Birds: Tasting Menu

Three Birds is nestled at the top of Viewforth in Brunstfield and i have always wanted to try their menu; many friends have sang their praises and i was excited to find out why. To test their experimental dishes in preparation for their new menu, Three Birds hosted two tasting days where the proposed new dishes were half price.

Half price food? Table booked, we waited eagerly for Tuesday the 4th to arrive.

We began with a trio of enticing starters, choosing a promising seafood dish, a quirky meat dish and exotic sounding soup. Promising turned out to be divine: sautéed prawns, squid and octopus happily drowned in tamarind recado and pineapple salsa exploding which with tropical, fruity flavour.

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Quirky turned out to be a confusing mixture of rich venison tartare, cold under seasoned cauliflower cream, two overpowering anchovies, whole smoked almonds and a chocolate crumb. The crunchy almonds felt out of place against the softness of the tartare and cream and the only downfall of the tartare was there was not enough.

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The final starter stayed true to not only being exotic but tasting like nothing i have ever had before.  Earthy green curry water cress soup that left a surprisingly fresh grassy after taste, slashed with turmeric yoghurt and a deliciously sweet troupe of shrimp sinking in the middle.

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The old ball and chain chose wisely and tucked into a tender braised lamb shank with anchovy butter and zesty oregano gremolata, sitting on a beautifully simple salad of olive, feta, tomato & cucumber with tzatztiki and small crisp potatoes.

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And finally, a drum roll for the star of the show, a mouth wateringly pink duck breast with a crackling salty skin. The sharpness of the rhubarb kimchi cast a shadow over the slightly bland smoked duck leg khichidi and charred asparagus but the duck egg held it’s own; a bubble of pure poached perfectness.

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Portions are generous and by the end of the main courses i was resembling a wee stuffed chicken. But Three Birds dessert menu was too good to resist; i went for a gloriously dense chocolate mousse which achieved a winning combination of bitter and sweet. Accompanied with wedges of pistachio sprinkled golden honey comb, this dessert was heaven; my only demand was for more of the crunchy golden goodness.

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All of these equisite and educating dishes were greedily washed down with a bottle of Mavum Pinot Grigio which was smooth and sweet.

Although some of the flavours did not work for me in certain dishes, the food was bold and the overall experience unforgettable. The staff were so friendly and helpful which made a comfortable atmosphere and time flew by. Three Birds knocked it out of the park and i can’t wait to see what they decide on with their menu; i’ll be singing their praises too.