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Soul Sushi, Edinburgh, restaurant review

Get on up to Soul Sushi, for seafood that'll turn you into a sex machine, says Gaby Soutar

Published: March 30, 2018

The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, was once the co-owner of a restaurant called The Gold Platter.

They served burgers, catfish, fried chicken and other soul food delights on gilt plates.

I’m not sure I would’ve been a regular, since I’m not a huge fan of burgers and their ilk.

I also don’t think that kind of grub is conducive to being a sex machine. Too much bloating – you’d never fit into your white catsuit and doing the splits is nigh impossible.

Maybe James Brown should have bought into something lighter, like Japanese food.

This place is coming up to its first birthday. I haven’t sampled their wares before, possibly because they previously functioned as a delivery and pop-up business.

Their small eatery serves mainly as a take-away, with chiller cabinets along one wall, limited seating and, it’s worth noting, no toilets.

(Just don’t drink too much green tea). It’s also quite sparsely decorated, with a mural across one wall that features a surreal cityscape of buildings, birds in hats and robots.

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After perusing the menu, you order up at the counter, pay, and the food is brought as it’s ready.

We slurped a huge cardboard tub of miso soup (£2.50), with a misty dashi that, after a stir, revealed flakes of shell pink poached salmon and whole leaves of spinach. Soothing.

I am a gyoza fiend and do prefer the steamed versions. Sadly for me, they only do fried dumplings here, though as far as this genre goes, these were goodies.

Served on a square wooden tray (hooray for a little bit less of that unnecessary plastic), these were bubbly surfaced, stoat beige, crispy along their crimped edges and stuffed with a simple filling of mashed duck (£5 for five) and pork (£5 for five).

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These came with an appropriately zingy soy and rice wine vinegar dipping sauce.

The huge helping of mixed hosomaki (£9.75 for 24) featured nori-swaddled bite-sized bullets, each in a precise Military-Tattoo-style crowd formation consisting of eight of the three varieties – salmon, tuna, and cucumber and sesame seed. All had a good ratio of filling to rice and were very uniform.

Our favourite option was probably the dragon roll (£8.50 for eight pieces). Unlike the usual Japanese restaurant theatricality of the dragon’s “head” being made from barbecued eel or a prawn’s discarded bonce, this was a mythical beast without the bells, whistles and fire-breathing.

I suppose you need practicality, if most of your food will be stuffed into boxes and eaten out by office workers or students.

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Anyway, this simple version had a roof of velvety avocado, with centres of breaded king prawn, cucumber struts and spicy mayo.

I practically gulped down their sashimi (£8.25 for six pieces) whole, as if I was one of the crazed seagulls that congregate round the Nicolson Square wheelie bins.

Alongside a ginger thatch of spiralised carrot, there were two vibrant and tongue-sized pieces of rose-coloured salmon, a couple of tuna and another pair that were billed as “coriander seared tuna”, though we couldn’t taste the herb.

You could also try the sesame-seed speckled chicken katsu rolls (£5.50 for eight) containing breaded poultry, red pepper and mayo. Or there’s teriyaki tofu (£5.25 for eight), with a sweet tang from the sauce, the red pepper sticks and cucumber. Not bad, though the fish wins.

For more sugary-ness (and loos) we repaired along to number 104, where you’ll find Kilimanjaro Coffee, who were serving joe (£2.70 for a flat white) from Edinburgh roastery Williams & Johnson.

We also ordered a big slice of dense and fruity carrot cake (£3.50) with clotted cream cheese icing that was studded with sunflower seeds and orange segments, plus a slice of the best and most biscuity chocolate tiffin (£2.60) in town.

And that gave us renewed energy. We could’ve done the James Brown style splits if we’d wanted to, and had been wearing appropriately reinforced trousers. I very much recommend this combination. Get up (get on up) to Nicolson Street.

Soul Sushi

126 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh

(0131-667 0200,

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Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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