Japanese cuisine at Scottish prices in Edinburgh? Jonathan Trew legs it to Leith and investigates.

The waterfront redevelopment at l.eith is continuing at a pace normally associated with South liast .-\.sl;lll boom economies. Now that the gigantic Scottish ()ffrce bttildirrg is up and running. the service sector is beginning to cater for the ttew market.

Leading the way at the moment is the Daruma-ya restaurant which opened at the end of October on Commercial Qttay. The row of bonded warehouses on the qtray which look onto the Scottish Office have been revamped and a series of glass extensions back onto a canal to give l.eith‘s take on Artisterdam. .Nestling in one ofthe units is the spacious Darnma-y a. The glass conservatory upfront houses a leather upholstered reception area and an exquisite replica of an old style Japanese. drinking well which sets the scene for the tranquil dining room. Bamboo screens conceal the dining area which housed crates of claret from the l830s until the turn of the century. The room has been redecorated to create an interesting mix of the old arid the new, with elegant. high-backed chairs and hi-tech barbecue tables contrasting with the stone vaults.

Mr Richie. the restaurant‘s proprietor. spent eight years in Japan where lte acquired an enthusiastic taste for the subtle blend of flavours which make tip Japanese cuisine. ()n his return to Britain. Richie found that the majority ofJapanese restaurants here had little in common with the genuine article: the food nray be authentic bill the prices are far from easily accessible. Daruma- ya has been designed to redress the

balance with a set lunch at £5 and a set '

dinner at £l() as well as the ti In (uric menu. All the meals are subject to an additional l() per cent service charge which takes the guesswork out of tipping.

The standard of food on offer for the money paid is high. If the essence of Japanese food is to be fottnd in hiin quality raw ingredients. fastidious


A taste ot the Far East on the east coast preparation and delicate presentation. then Darunia-ya‘s two Japanese chefs have distilled a litre spirit. Japanese cuisine is all about simplicity and the interplay of fragile flavours rather than a melting pot of strong tastes. It offers British palates the opportunity to try something new. As an interesting alternative to a lunchtime sandwich. l)aruma-ya sells bento boxes filled with a choice ofthe chefs‘ special ofthe day. deep fried pork cutlets cooked in egg served on a bed of rice or a mixture of pancakes. fried noodles and sushi. {\‘one of which are as familiar as a cheese and egg roll; all of which are a damn sight tastier. According to Richie. once people have overcome any reticence about swallowing the unknown then they tend to go back for

A popular misconception is that Japanese food means raw fish. btit while sushi is an important constituent of the cuisine. it is by no means obligatory. l’ork. beef. lamb and chicken are just as prevalent on the menu. and while the methods of cooking -- be it grilling. barbecuing or deep frying are the same as those used in the ()ccident. the methods of preparation create different flavours and textures front those to which the western palate is used.

I>urtntin~_vn. (t’nt't 5. ('mnntt'rt‘tu/ Qntrv. 62-64 Commercial Street. lit/inbrnylt. 554 7660.

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Le Sept

7 Old Fishmarket Close Edinburgh lunch and dinner Monday to Thursday all day Friday and Saturday Sundays dinner only telephone 0131 225 5428


I Rainbows And Wellies: The Taigh na Mara Cookbook (Findhorn Press) liiglit years ago Tony Weston tired of the rat race and headed north where he stumbled upon an old seashore shop on the banks of Loch Broom. Struck by the scenic beauty of the area. Weston settled down. converted the shop into a vegetarian guest house and promptly went on to earn the place a glowing reputation for the standards of their food and the Vegetarian Guest House Of The Year Award irt l‘)‘)5. \\-'eston was then

joitrcd by Jackie Redding.

a guest who never quite made it home. Redding took control of the kitchen while Weston took to standing stark naked in loclts with no more than a bunch of bananas to cover his modesty. Still the nudity was all iii a good cause. namely providing a somewhat bizarre cover shot for the couple's idiosyncratic cookbook.

The hardback book comprises two weeks worth of three course menus that range from hearty dishes such as beetroot sottp to delicacies like seaweed and coconut sorbet. None of the recipes require specialised equipment. years of kitchen apprenticeship or ingredients that can't be found in any reasonable supermarket. The recipes are clearly set ottt. with the preparation instructions broken down into simple steps; usefully. and unusually. fora recipe book. it is ringbound so that it will lie flat on a kitchen table.

liach chapter or menu is prefaced with a photo and short story about sonte particular aspect of Highland life. either past or present. and whether it be a treatise on flying sheep. the clearances or the superior roadcleartng



abilities of the Highlands attd Islands road authorities. the authors have produced an anecdotal flavour“ of the area in which they live without being twee or revelling itr tartan tack. (Jonathan Trew)

The book normally costs. £10.95 inc le’. 1.1.x! readers can obtain it for the special price of L' H.951 inc Pokl’ by tel/fax 01854 055282 with credit card or7 by post frotrr liior lornhaig. lireepost l\’ 33‘). Taigh na Mara. Ar‘dindrean. l ochbroom. Nr llllapool. l\’23 2BR. I the Internet Cafe 239 North Street. Glasgow, 33] 8-147. http://www.linkcafccrruk. (ilasgow. at last. has a cybercafe. Situated in North Street. near the Mitchell library. the Internet cafe is as likely to attract shoppers as Park Circus suits and students. The cafe provides access to the internet via ten

Would you buy a book from this man?

computers for £2.50 for half an hour with a reduced rate of £3 lot‘ students. It also offers e- ntail addresses for ill a week plus the opportunity for individuals and businesses to put their own pages on the net. There's free adv ice for tht nnititiated with a focus on helping people get access to whats out there on the net.

Those who like to burn the candle at both ends can log on with a cooked breakfast front bani. munch their way tlrrongh the day wrtlr reasonably priced sandwiches arid snacks before signing off at llprtr. The cute is roomy and qtttct enough to relax and hay e a coffee lll without teeltng herrtmcd u: by the technology. Although illl\ ing said it is hard to resist the trrgc to log on. tune in and find the latest Beastie Boys web site rl.ncie McLean)

go a only” tons Chip


This superb Scottish restaurant has been the recipient of many awards for excellence since being established in 1971. The newest award is a Michelin Red M, an award never before bestowed on a Glasgow restaurant.


Tel 0141-334 5007

The List 23 Feb-7 Mar I‘Nb 99