It’s been a long time coming, but Redditch finally has its first Japanese restaurant and it’s apt that it coincided with the Tokyo Olympic games when the culture and cuisine of the Asian country would be fresh in people’s minds.
Edo has set out its stall with an extensive specialist menu that has authentic and also delightfully unique dishes including “dancing food” that quivers and moves on a hot plate, but more on that later.
When I was in Japan, I was taken by the delicate treatment of the food, in both how it was prepared and beautifully presented, and that expert technique is what I was hoping to see here. Especially as the owner also runs the very traditional Tsukiji Japanese Cuisine eatery in Birmingham city centre’s Station Street.
Read more : Edo – Redditch’s first Japanese restaurant opens near Kingfisher Centre and it looks amazing
This large and airy restaurant is right opposite the main post office at The Quadrant in the town centre and just steps away from the Kingfisher Shopping Centre and Redditch’s bus and train stations, so it’s easy to reach if heading there from other Worcestershire towns.
Japanese influenced decor at Edo
There’s a feng shui feel to the oriental-influenced dining room with fish symbols on the entrance mats(a symbol of good luck), a wall painted with the ‘Great Wave off Kanagawa’ artwork and even a neat Zen garden in what used to be a fireplace.
Large windows make the dining room feel bright, yet although it has room enough for triple those being served at the moment, it is currently only using the front section of around 15 tables.
That’s because, like many in the hospitality industry, it faces a shortage of staff and the young servers it has are still getting up to speed on the menu. It’s wise to book ahead to guarantee a table.
What’s the service like at Edo?
The Japanese are known for being high tech and you won’t find a paper menu in sight. Instead, everything is ordered online at your table through a tablet they provide or through a QR code on your own phone.
It can add a bit of time and seem fiddly for those of us more technically-challenged, especially as the team come and double check your order as they have had so many people click the wrong items.
There are waiting staff, who are friendly and at hand for technical tips, but they are mainly there to bring out food and drinks to tables and don’t take any orders from you.
Is the Japanese food authentic at Edo?
The online menu is extensive and caters for newcomers to Japanese food and ex-pats who want some authentic food that reminds them of home in Asia.
Yes, there’s plenty of raw fish – of extremely good quality – amongst the long list of sushi, sashimi, maki and more, made from octopus, salmon, tiger prawns, tuna and, of course, wagyu beef.
But there are also well crafted dishes that aren’t so far-reaching for Western palettes. The tempura with vegetables or king prawns have a deliciously light and crispy aerated batter. The dumpling-like chicken gyoza are exquisitely moorish with tender fillings that just melt in the mouth.
There are lots of places where you can get help so that you and your children don’t have to go hungry over the summer holidays.
Visit Birmingham Central Foodbank to get immediate help
Get a free nutritious meal for your child throughout the holidays via the HAF (Holiday Activities and Food) programme – find out more here
Many schools across the city are offering Food Banks and Food Pantries, like Oasis Academy here
Local groups are running food bank and cookery projects, like Burntwood Be A Friend here
Main dishes range from spicy hot pots of ramen or sukiyaki to teppanyaki wagyu, where the premium beef has been sizzled on a hot plate. I tried the teriyaki chicken rice, which was packed with juicy oriental flavour and was a perfect balance with the sticky rice.
One of the prettiest, and tastiest, dishes is chicken okonomiyaki that is described by the staff as “dancing food”. It is a fry up of chicken, cabbage and onions wrapped in an egg-ey pancake and smothered in a kind of creamy mayonnaise and soy sauce.
It’s served up in a scorching hot pan so that the heat makes the tiny wafers of dried fish covering it shimmer like leaves on top. It’s mesmerising to look at and even better to eat. Creamy and tangy with succulent chicken pulling it all together. Just fantastic.
The portion sizes are large with the intention that most of what you order will be shared across the table.
There are premium dishes, such as teppanyaki wagyu(£38.90) that are higher priced but the sharing combos of 10 or so pieces of large fish sushi from £10.90 work out good value for the high quality produce you are eating.
On the more regular servings, a plate of five pieces of chicken gyoza appetisers costs £5.20 and a plate of six avocado roll sushi is £3.20 with fish sashimi between £6.50 and £8.50.
For mains, a dish of ramen, okonomiyaki, terriyaki chicken rice or katsu curry starts from around £8.50, which is a fair price.
All in all, expect to pay from around £15 to £20 per person to cover some starters, main and a drink.
It seems surprising that it has taken this long for a Japanese restaurant to open in Redditch but it’s been worth the wait to have a restaurant as high calibre as Edo.
The quality of food and expertise behind its preparation means it is serving up delicious, authentic dishes that will appeal across the board.
While the owner mentioned that her Birmingham Tsukiji restaurant served slightly more hardcore traditional Japanese food, Edo is ideal for an area that is not yet fully immersed in this cuisine.
The hi-tech fancy ordering system may annoy some and it is yet to get up to full service or atmosphere in the half-used large restaurant space, as it waits to hire more staff.
That said, in terms of the food, when you leave the restaurant, you’ll be rubbing your satisfied tummy like a lucky Buddha and rushing to tell your friends about the dancing food.
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