Yum Yum Ninja, Brighton – Review;
Brighton, My old University town, always fills me with nostalgia. Memories of wandering through the Laines and the Parallels or along the beach in the early hours of the morning perhaps have something to do with that. August probably isn’t the best time to be in Brighton, although the weather may be good it’s just too full of tourists and language students for me, so I was rather pleased to find Yum Yum Ninja set back from Meeting House Lane in its own courtyard area. Perfect for a sunny al-fresco lunch.
It is the kind of quirky place that should work brilliantly well in Brighton. Pan Asian food (which excuses me from really knowing how authentic any of the dishes might be), served with a short cocktail list, some sake and a short but well balanced wine list. Yes I’d have visited as a student. And yes, I’d go back again now I’m considerably older…
We ordered Chilled Sake to drink, the Dassai Otter Festival recommended by the waiter and it arrived with a plate of pickled cucumber and another of tapioca and squid ink crackers. Both delicious, the crackers were a particular favourite.
The Hedonist wanted kimchi which arrived in what seemed to me to be a large bowl and which I have to admit to not particularly liking. Was it kimchi or THIS kimchi? I suspect neither, just the overwhelming quantity of what is, when all is said and done, pickled cabbage.
Bincho are Japanese skewers. Our monkfish cheeks were really very good with a perfect char.
Prawn Har Kouw, steamed dim sum, I thought a little less successful, the wrapper was quite thick as it needed to be to support two or three whole prawns. I’d enjoyed a much more delicate prawn Dim Sum at Royal China earlier this year. Authentic or not? I’m not the person to pass judgement. But, I found them just a little heavy.
By comparison the Tempura of soft shell crab was fabulous. Very naughty, but very nice – a light tempura batter that worked perfectly with the crab and yuzo dressing.
And salt and pepper squid was excellent, with an octo vinagrette (ginger, garlic and chilli).
I particularly enjoyed the tempura coated part of the Kyoto style aubergine too.
Although I was with the pescatorian Hedonist for the most part we chose dishes to share. I’m still avoiding oysters though, after a bad bout of food poisoning a few weeks ago and so enjoyed Tori Kara-Age, a Japanese fried chicken dish with a wasabi mayo and a ridiculously hot scotch bonnet dipping sauce while he downed a few of his favourite shellfish. The chicken dish was a huge portion relative to the other dishes we’d picked. It was priced at £7.95 on the menu, so I’d anticipated something similar to the dishes of seafood we’d chosen. But perhaps because I was eating it by myself there seemed to be a lot! Luckily it was fabulous and somehow(!) I finished it.
By this stage I didn’t really have room for dessert, but in the interest of research we ordered a sharing platter (asking for VERY small portions). What arrived was a little of each of the special house desserts – Toffee wontons, rosewater and honey panna cotta, plum pie and chocolate and tofu mousse with green tea ice cream. My favourite, the panna cotta, was light and had a perfect wobble. I seem to remember the Hedonist being particularly enthusiastic about the plum pie, a kind of spicy pastry. All in, very gorgeous and a timely reminder NOT to order too much to start with!
Small sharing plates range from £1.50 up to £6, while larger dishes are up to £30 (for a large portion, presumably for sharing, of Alaskan Black Cod). Wine starts at £16 a bottle, Cocktails are £7 and a saki tasting flight of three cups is £12.50.
I was invited to review Yum Yum Ninja but all views here are my own.
Yum Yum Ninja
15-18 Meeting House Lane,
Brighton BN1 1HB,