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Soyami – I love Newbury SO much

Food blogger Leila Ferguson reviews the new restaurant in Northbrook Street

Soyami – I love Newbury SO much

One of the many things I love about Newbury – along with giant puppet animals in the Market Square, the delightful river and canal, Victoria Park and the mad Crafty Craft day – are the local restaurants. 

We are so lucky to have a choice of great pubs like The Newbury, fine dining at Henry and Joes (have probably got that wrong as I am rubbish at remembering names and faces, it has got me into trouble many a time), the amazing Japanese at Arigato along with a host of other places. 

You may have noticed, beloved reader (note the singular here) that in all these years I have been blogging I only push locally-owned restaurants. 

Indeed now that The Bladebone, a favourite country pub of mine in Chapel Row, has taken over The Bull, how exciting, does that make it a chain?!  Probably not but it is edging that way due to its own success. 

It rates along with my favourite named pub The Newbury in … Newbury.  A lovely community-minded pub that is offering £1,000 to whoever writes a winning recipe to go on the menu. Start thinking now, dear readers and send it to The Newbury asap.

Soyami is new and has only been open for a week or two and is owned by what I think was Eee and a friend.  I love places that are owned by people who love their food so much that they have a need to share it and this ticks all those boxes.

There are three bbq’s. You need to book to get one of these but well worth it for the experience. Luckily the other food that they offer is just as good so don't worry if you don't get the bbq, you will still be well fed.

Seaweed, but not as you know it from a run-of-the mill Chinese. Whilst there don't seem to be many edame beans .they are brought with the drinks as a little appetiser.

Ok this is the only slightly strange dish in that I loved the prawns, really fresh. Indeed, Soyami offers sushi but only if the quality is good enough so it may not always be available, it depends on whether the owner buys it in.  The Katsu was also delicious, loved the deep flavour but I would have liked the two separately.

Salt and pepper squid – loved the chunky bits of onion with it, incredibly moreish. Again the quality was great.

Chicken yakitori starter, I like that Soyami offers three ranges of food, sushi, bbq and Japanese ‘other’ such as teriyaki, Shogayaki and Yakisoba, Udon and Ramen.  This was delicious and had us fighting over the last bit but not as much as the dumplings, more later.

And here they are. These are totally different to the gyoza that Arigato do or Chris and Venus who make their gyoza with such love and incredibly thin skins. These are the dumplings of my youth, where all of us six kids, parents, friends would sit round a table rolling and stuffing (why do you think I am so incredibly loud, I had to compete and won). 

These were so juicy, much thicker skinned than the ones previously mentioned but no worse for it. They just kept coming and coming and coming probably because we didn't stop ordering them! I would have liked a more vinegary dipping sauce but these dumplings compensated for all the wrongs in the world. Perhaps I have found the answer to world peace. To be fair we virtually had to be carried out we were so over dumplinged.

Just a quick look at the quality of the salmon. I ordered one of the pure salmon and a salmon sushi dish to take away for lunch the next day but it didn't make it!

Loved the chicken yakitori so much we ordered it again as a main. Pretty sure it was thigh as it was so flavoursome and I loved the skin

Teriyaki salmon, great quality ingredients and I love the teriyaki sauce.

Eee and his business partner, bound to have spelt his name wrong, they are delightful, shy but passionate about what they are providing which is a pleasure to see. I want Newbury to be full of places like this.

This was the yakitori which was lovely but I need to go back to try the Yaki Udon which is the soup udon.  Hah, another reason to return

This is the bbq in action and on it is a dish rarely seen outside London which is the Beef LA Galbi.  It looks like a short rib of beef which unravels to produce a long strip of beef which is cut into bite sized pieces and again we were fighting over the last piece.

This was a marinated short rib and the most amazingly flavoured chicken bulgogi.  Spicy but not too hot, great flavour and again very moreish. There is something a little cavemanish about having your food cooked in front of you but Eee took care of the cooking side.

As far as the BBQ goes you can get a set menu for £32 for two that includes three different meats of your choice, sides of lettuce and rice. It was fun rolling up the meat in the lettuce then dipping it into the homemade dipping sauce that was made with yellow bean sauce and fruit juice, delicious.  They also offer a seafood platter for one for £16. I also loved the kimchi, something I never particularly want then when I eat it I want more whilst also knowing that it is fundamentally good for me.

Please support this restaurant. Newbury has a few great places to eat, we are so lucky, but if they are not supported they will disappear and we will be left with nothing or just the all-over-the-place chain restaurants

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