As a dedicated carb-swerver, I love but don’t generally eat very much Japanese food. However, a recent Saturday night found my sister Ali and I both massively craving sushi, I decided to stick a middle chopstick up at the diet and set course for Tang’s on Candlemaker Row. Japanese restaurants have been popping up like gophers all over Edinburgh of late (Hay Sushi in Haymarket and Yes Sushi on Hanover Street are the newest) but off the back of several positive reviews, the more established Tang’s seemed like a safer option for a night of throwing weight-watching caution to the wind. It was totally worth it – we emerged onto the cobbled street two hours later in a zen-like state of gastronomic satisfaction.
After some deliberation over the extensive menu, Ali and I decided to kick things off with a shared starter of some pork gyoza (Japanese fried dumplings) and the Aburi sushi platter, which features flame-torched salmon, tuna, sea bass, eel and prawn nigiri, and a prawn tempura maki. I certainly can’t claim to be an expert on sushi, but IMHO, Tang’s sets the bar pretty high, deftly avoiding palate-clogging starch overload with noticeably light rice that provides a perfectly chewy, not-too-sticky base for the fresh, delicate fish topping. The gyoza were generously stuffed, savoury and meaty, and I could have happily snaffled up, popcorn-style, a much larger portion.
Food envy of our neighbours’ heaving plates of noodles prompted both myself and Ali to opt for phad Thai for main course - rice noodles fried with peanuts, egg, bean sprouts and either chicken, prawn or tofu (I went for chicken, Ali for prawn). There was a rich, almost-sweetness to the noodles – not as strange as it sounds, and very tasty – and make sure you sprinkle over the supplied toasted peanuts as these take the dish from good to great in one bite. I think the dish would have benefited from a little more garlic – although the absence of garlic in Japanese cooking is widely noted, this was after all technically a Thai dish – nonetheless it was thoroughly enjoyable and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again, although next time I would be keen to give the lunchbox-esque bento boxes a whirl. In an unheralded display of willpower, both Ali and I gave dessert a miss, sadly only to get our big feathery angel wings in a right old tangle.
With two glasses of wine and a soft drink, our bill came in at £52 for two, including tip. Very reasonable for the quality of the food, with good service and a pleasantly buzzy atmosphere. Dr Atkins may turn in his grave, but I can defiantly confirm that I most definitely will be back.