Bonsai Bistro has two locations in Edinburgh: Broughton Street in the city centre and Richmond Street in Newington – I normally go to the latter when I am craving some decent sushi at a fair price.
The restaurant in Newington can be a little hard to find for those unfamiliar with the area, as it’s a little off the beaten track. However, wedged right between Nicholson Street and the Pleasance, it’s really handy for hungry punters during the festival season.
The outside is pretty unassuming, with a small sign above the door the only indication to its existence – but once you are in, you are greeted with a small, warm and quirky interior, loaded with lots of kitschy Japanese memorabilia.
Bonsai Bistro is a place with a big reputation, but tiny square footage. So, if you’re going at peak time, such as during the festival or any Saturday during the year, then it might be wise to book ahead.
If you can’t get into the one on Richmond Street, remember there is another slightly bigger premises on Broughton Street which offers the exact same menu, just in a slightly different atmosphere.
The menu has all of the standard options you’d expect in a decent sushi restaurant – maki, nigiri, dragon rolls and (my personal favourite) california rolls. It also has a couple of unusual offerings too, like the strangely moreish cheese gyoza, which you should definitely try on your first visit.
Other surefire favourites of mine include the egg nigiri, spicy tuna maki and the chicken yakitori. Mr Bug and I just order a whole bunch of food and split it between us. How much is socially acceptable to order at a sushi restaurant? After three years of loving sushi, I still haven’t figured that one out. Still, after we polished off this little lot, I was pretty satisfied.
Dessert can be good too, depending on what you order. I normally have a sorbet to finish off the meal, the mango flavour is absolutely divine. However, on our last visit Mr Bug ordered the chocolate tart, which was flavourless and disappointing. However, the chestnut ice cream that accompanied it was good.
It’s not my favourite sushi place in town, but it’s handy for where I live and offers great value for money. If you are looking for a good sushi fix, you could do a lot worse than the Bonsai Bistro.
Bonsai Bistro is at 46 West Richmond Street, EH8 9DZ. You can get there directly on the 14 bus, or get off at the stop on Nicolson Street around the corner, which is served by every bus that goes down North Bridge.