Restaurant Review: Edamame


It’s Thursday, and outside the effervescent limits of the Oxford bubble that would usually mean only one day until the weekend. Yet, stuck as we are in this antiquated limbo-land, there is no weekend. No god-sent two day break but only a perpetual tedium of days without dates stretching out before us. But fear not, there is one way to punctuate your work/drinking/sleeping routine.

I’m not talking about college drink-fests or evenings of Oxford Union hackery, which I’m sure already fill your week. I’m talking about the simple pleasures of good food with friends. That’s why Thursdays should be penciled into to your Blackwells calendar, as Sushi night at Edamame. When life in Ox-land gets you down you can momentarily escape along your tastebuds to a pseudo-Japan, minus the geishas and sliding paper doors I’m afraid.

So why are Thursdays the selected instance for such a transportation? You may ask – the truth is, in keeping with the rest of Edamame’s bizarre opening hours, there is no logical or even vaguely plausible explanation. Like all the other eccentricities of Oxford, it’s best just to go along with it because if you happen to want sushi on any other day of the week YO! is your only option. And sushi at Edamame is definitely better than the shards of plastic rice at Yo!

It’s generally fresh and well prepared, they have a great nigri set for seven squid, which although unadventurous is pretty satisfying when doused in wasabi and soy sauce. Only don’t be fooled into thinking that demand indicates quality – only limited supply unfortunately; I await a far-east Asian culinary revolution in Oxford! Because I am an avid supporter of the principle of raw food – why cook something when its tastes better if you don’t? (bacteria is rarely fatal nowadays) and because I love sushi, I can’t help but be happy stepping into Edamame’s tiny teeming dining area with a group of rowdy friends and being crammed onto a rickety Ikea table. No advice needed on what to order; sushi is as variable as it is invariable, so just close your eyes and point at the menu and order a large bottle of sake, because Edamame is about the experience (and not necessarily the food.)

If you are left standing out in the chilly mist of one Thursday too many then you could always go to Edamame for lunch, its really good value and has a varied and exciting menu. The salads are a step above the usual English conception of a plate of lettuce drowned in heavy dressing. They are refreshing and have interesting flavour combinations that zing on the tongue, I especially felt oddly rejuvenated by the wasabi pickled cucumber, which electrified my nasal passage. The fish is definitely a highlight of the menu. Theterriaki salmon that I sunk my teeth into was oozing moisture, aka it wasn’t overcooked, and was the right side of sweet, unlike many a version that I’ve had in my lifetime. Other dishes such as the ginger pork were extremely edible and a welcome change from the kind of grey rubber that they serve in hall at some of the colleges, which is enough to give, me at least, pork-infested nightmares. And all these crafted dishes are complimented by the best sticky rice in the bubble; composed of gooey grains rather than unloved pellets. In short Edamame is the best alternative to the processed mechanized hell of Yo! And as I have yet to visit Japan and therefore don’t know any better it definitely sates my hungering for oblongs of Asian flavors… every week.


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