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Bonsai Bar Bistro
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Bonsai Bar Bistro
14 Broughton Street,
0131 668 3847

It is the tenth birthday of Bite this year and inevitably your editor catches herself looking back to the restaurant scene of 2003 and considering the good, the bad and the ugly.

For example, it is bad that there are still so few decent wine bars in Edinburgh; perhaps they never recovered from the 'yuppie years'.  It is ugly that so many of the restaurants appearing in the first issue of Bite no longer exist. However, it is good that a few do and that sushi restaurants in particular have proliferated.  In 2003 the West Richmond street branch of Bonsai had just opened.

Fast forward and I am visiting the new branch at the top of Broughton Street. It is a deceptively simple place. The menu lists soups, salads, sashimi, sushi, teppanyaki et al in a very clear and concise fashion but there are some really tempting and interesting dishes on offer.

We try salmon sashimi with radish noodles (£4.50), tuna Maki (£4.25), tako salad - marinated octopus & tomato salad with yuzu dressing £3.95) and sunomono salad  - lightly pickled cucumber & wakame salad (£3.50). The sashimi was delicious, the seaweed wrapped round the tuna maki had a great texture and flavour but it was the salads that truly impressed. The octopus was particularly good; the tentacles tenderized and infused with citrussy yuzu. Tomatoes added more acidity and everything was chopped small in easy to eat bites.

We had black sesame seed and honey cheesecakes in shot glasses for pudding (£1.95. The seeds had been roasted crunchy and the honey had a lovely floral aroma and flavour.

Lacquered bento boxes full of Japanese goodies looked great at the next table (£9.90) alongside bowls of steaming miso (2.50) but if you want a really good deal there is a lunch offer for £4.90, details are on posters whilst daily specials are chalked on a board.

Given the location, the price and the fact that I love sushi this wee bento box of a restaurant will definitely be a regular pit stop for me.  I have already eyed up the menu for future visits and seared scallops with ginger and orange and octopus dumplings figure highly. (S. Wilson)



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