Located in the vibrant Tollcross neighborhood of Edinburgh, Yamato is a Japanese restaurant that exudes elegance and charm. As the sister restaurant to the renowned Kanpai, and with the same owners who brought us the beloved Sushiya, Yamato carries a prestigious reputation that sets high expectations.
True to its name, which represents the ancient name for Japan, Yamato embraces the philosophy of "simplicity first" in both its food and decor. The interior features delicate origami-like lights, wooden screens, matting, and a soothing palette of neutral tones.
The restaurant's glass counter proudly displays a tantalizing array of fresh seafood, including salmon, tuna, octopus, sea urchins, and hand-dived scallops. These ingredients are skillfully incorporated into some of their signature dishes, showcasing the culinary expertise of the chefs.
With an extensive menu to choose from, my friend Liz and I opt for the Grilled Aubergine in Sweet Miso, Snow Crab Vulcan, Tempura Scallops, Seared Tuna, and Wagyu Rolls. Each dish is a masterpiece in its own right. The snow crab, fresh as virgin snow, is delicately placed on a bed of pickled red onions. The Grilled Aubergine stands out with its addictive sweet and umami flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. The Tempura Scallops are divine, with a light and crispy batter that allows the natural sweetness of the scallops to shine. The Wagyu Rolls, filled with diced wagyu for that rich fatty flavor, are a testament to the skill required to create such seemingly simple yet extraordinary dishes.
Inspired by our initial culinary exploration, we decide to venture further into the menu. Our attention is drawn to Beef Hobayaki, a traditional Japanese dish originating from the Gifu prefecture. The name itself refers to the unique method of grilling beef on a dried hoba leaf from the Honoki Tree. The result is a tantalizing smoky essence that enhances the flavor of the dish. The slices of sirloin are expertly caramelized on the edges, creating a perfect balance between tenderness and juiciness.
As we glance at the back bar, we are captivated by the rows of sake bottles, a sight that beckons us to indulge. Knowing that premium sake falls into three main categories—junmai, ginjo, and daiginjo—we opt for the Daishichi Kimoto Junmai, served warm in a beautiful pottery carafe. With its rich and complex flavor profile, this sake delights our palates and complements the textures and nuances of the food.
In summary, Yamato is more than just a restaurant. It is a culinary haven that encapsulates the essence of Japanese cuisine with its dedication to simplicity and attention to detail. As we leave the bustling restaurant on a cold Sunday evening, we can't help but acknowledge the special allure that Yamato possesses.
0131 466 5964
Monday and Tuesday - Thursday Lunch Closed
Tuesday - Thursday Dinner 17:00 - 22:30
Friday and Sunday Lunch / Saturday Lunch 12:00 - 14:30 / 12:00 - 15:00
Friday - Saturday Dinner / Sunday Dinner 17:00 - 23:00 / 17:00 - 22:00