More for me at Edamame

People had been urging me to check this place out for months. Whenever I complained of a craving for tofu, or that the only sushi to be found in Oxford comes from chain restaurants or supermarkets, there was always one person in hearing distance who passed on this tip. It is only now I’ve actually bothered to follow these directions that I wish I’d listened much sooner.

After hearing that this chic eatery was the darling of Oxford’s hippest, grooviest scenesters, I was concerned about my chances just turning up on a Friday at 6pm without booking, but as soon as we arrived we were warmly ushered to the two free seats at a six-person table. The wide, gracefully curved table allowed us to easily turn to face each other and hold a conversation separately from its other occupants, whose own conversations were kept private from us. Despite this set-up, the low-ceilinged, cozy room and its excellent acoustics gave the little restaurant an intimate, but relaxed feel. Although packed, it never felt oppressively so, and we never had to budge out of anyone’s way as they tried to get past.

We ordered a few of the mains to share and a rice bowl each, as per the menu’s recommendation, along with a few sides and specials (including the namesake, edamame). All of it, and the sushi particularly, was beautifully presented and plated at no compromise to taste, convenience, or portion size. Everything arrived impressively quickly, starting with the edamame, which was served in a delightfully kitsch wicker basket. The pods were basic but well done, lacking the unnecessary quirks some feel are needed to personalise the Japanese staple. This was a pretty description of most of the dishes, where the biggest surprise was the quality of the food, particularly the tofu, which was equally impressive in all of the dishes that contained it.

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The waiting team routinely checked on us with a degree of unobtrusiveness that didn’t make me feel rushed, though we had no complaints for them. When we paid, I was staggered it was only £25. I wish I’d ordered more.