Great news. I have a reader.
Her name is Gill, or Jill. I’m not entirely sure of the spelling.
Recently, I went to the launch night of this new restaurant, and someone - the manager, I think - followed me out to tell me that her granny loves my reviews.
Not only that, but she phones her granddaughter every week, and reads them out to her.
It’s not clear if she actually enjoys the live narration, but I was VERY happy to hear about this.
I grinned on the walk up Broughton Street, all the way to my bus stop.
But, honestly, as much as I love Gill/Jill, it didn’t influence what I’d write once I eventually visited this ‘Asian fusion’ restaurant. After all, there’s always a chance I might have a second reader, and I have to be honest with them.
Expectations weren’t particularly high, because I’ve visited earlier incarnations on Leith Walk and Tollcross, both of which are now closed. They were so-so.
This is different, perhaps partially because its owners Meredith Wilkie and John Howard, have taken on head chef Duncan Adamson, formerly of Gardener's Cottage restaurant.
Also, this feels like a prosperous spot, where Smoke Stack was resident for decades.
It’s great for people watching, and selfie-taking, under their new pink neon sign, which glows like a radioactive worm.
Sake and cocktails are a focus, and these are muddled up at their bar, where there’s some additional casual seating.
We tried the Krystal (£9), which was clear and very innocent-looking but contained a punchy mix of Ojo de Tigre Mezcal, tequila and lime cordial, and was decorated by a golden leaf skeleton that had been slipped into the glass. There was also the summery and fresh Hidden Qi, with plum sake, Aluna Coconut Peach and Pomelo Rum Liqueur, citric acid and soda.
Their menu consists of Small Plates, all of which sound tempting, and we went for five.
The crispy pork belly (£10) came first.
“Are you going to need a knife and fork?” the waiter asked.
We said no, but then worried that sawing through potentially rubbery meat with chopsticks might be a bit like trying to cut wood with a golf club.
However, it turned out to be so melting-ly soft that we could easily scoop up vast mouthfuls, along with all the addictive nibbly bits, like chilli, crispy onions and peanuts.
Around the same time, our potatoes (£6) arrived. These had been a late addition to the order, since I usually have a panic when there aren’t enough carbs. They had properly crunchy and caramelised seams, and were topped with a rough plaid pattern of condiments - ‘umamimaise’ (a portmanteau of umami and mayonnaise presumably), tonkatsu sauce and pink togarashi - all splurged on as if someone had used a paintball gun. I haven’t enjoyed tatties this much in ages.
Our other veggie course was the asparagus (£6.50) – eight chunky spears that were dressed in a light ponzu sauce, fresh mint and sesame seeds.
It’s quite tricky to share a bao bun (£7), since it’s really designed for a solo muncher. Once I’d tested a single bite of our version, which contained sticky five-spice brisket, kimchi, cucumber, lettuce and crispy onions, I just wanted to ram the whole lot in and forget about his feelings. I could see that he felt the same, once I’d passed it over to him.
If you want to try their gyoza, they offer them steamed or fried. We went for the steamy venison (£5) versions, which were soft, fat and fleshy, with middles that were stuffed with a sausage-y and dense mixture of meat and black garlic. On the side, there was a blob of orange chilli sauce like a rising sun.
There are just two desserts to choose from, and I petitioned for the dark chocolate miso and black sesame delice (£5). I’m not sure how I feel about this. The salty and sweet were in a see-sawing battle for supremacy, but, even with sugary white chocolate sails and puffs of sesame sponge, the balance was slightly out of whack and the sodium was winning.
Anyway, I’ll let them off, because none of the food here is anodyne. We’re talking big fun favours, lovely staff and the sort of space you want to linger in.
If you’re reading this, tell your granddaughter that her restaurant is great.
53-55 Broughton Street
(0131 259 7719, www.luckyyu.co.uk)