One minute there was two and then there was five! Maki and Ramen restaurants have popped up all over Edinburgh due to their popularity and people’s appetite for hot bowls of steaming ramen or precision prepared sushi.
I was invited along to their newest restaurant on South Bridge to find out what their secret of success is.
This Maki and Ramen use to be a chicken joint but I think it is better suited to Japanese food especially as its location is student central and many a student in Edinburgh lives on noodles and hearty bowls of goodness to keep them going for hours (studying, partying or otherwise).
Maki and Ramen Southbridge focus on Ramen. There is no sushi here. I was a little disappointed at this but soon got over it when I looked over the menu. There is a big choice of Ramen dishes but you’ll also find bowls of Yakisoba and Donburi available as well as numerous side dishes.
We ordered a bowl of Edamame (£3.50) so that we could nibble away whilst deciding what best to order.
If there is gyoza on a menu, it will find my face! Always a must order item.
5 pieces of Pork or Vegetable Gyoza Dumplings with soy sauce (£5.90)
We choose the pork and they came out just the way I like em. Soft and slightly sticky on the one side, and crispy and well cooked on the other. The inside steaming hot, filled with tender sweet pork meat. Dunk this in soy sauce, and I’m in gyoza heaven.
We wanted to cover most of the dishes on the menu so as to give a bit of an all rounder review; so I chose a Yakisoba.
Grilled Chicken Yakisoba - Tepanyaki fried noodles with grilled chicken pieces (£12.90)
A large bowl of stir fried yakisoba noodles arrived with cabbage, bean sprouts, carrots, spring onions and fish flakes through it. Three skewers of succulent seasoned chicken pieces accompanied the dish. Very tasty indeed.
You could also have chosen the Vegetarian option or the Pork Belly.
For the Ramen, we ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen - pork bone broth served with cha siu (marinated braised pork belly), a soft boiled egg and greens (£11.90)
The Ramen was good but slightly greasy and a little bland. We had to include quite a bit of the kimchi to liven this bowl up. The pork was tender, just required some seasoning, and the noodles lovely. Perhaps we just chose the wrong Ramen for our tastebuds and I suppose this is the joy of Ramen - keep trying until you find the one you love.
They have 7 variations on their menu ranging from super hot with the Hell Ramen to the garlic one, Black Tonkotsu Ramen or the Miso Ramen with soft tofu. In hindsight, I think we should have chosen the Hell Ramen!
I wanted more chicken so also ordered the Chicken Yakitori (£5.90)
I am very fussy when it comes to ordering and eating chicken at a restaurant, and I could easily have gorged myself on their chicken. Perfectly cooked and fresh.
Overall, this Maki and Ramen, much like their other restaurants, is busy! Tables are constantly being seated and reseated. It’s in an Edinburgh hotspot for tourists, students and locals alike with a bus stop pretty much right outside.
This is fast food, but it’s good food cooked fast, served fast and with a smile. The plates come out the kitchen as soon as they are ready so you end up with a bit of a stop start, crazy rush on dishes and then have to eat it all at once. Luckily the food is served hot and doesn’t sit for long on the plate.
Maki and Ramen, is by no means fine dining, it’s not a bistro nor a cafe but it is a place you go to when you are hungry and want to leave with a full belly and happy. It’s not harsh on your wallet and won’t take up much of your time unless you continue to order dishes and eat.
Maki and Ramen, 29 South Bridge, Edinburgh. www.makiramen.com
My Spoon Award : Bronze Spoon 7/10 (service, food and ambience is good)
I was invited by Maki and Ramen to review their menu. Food and drink were complimentary but the views are very much my own.