Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These questions are often asked at Edamame.
Questions and answers are listed under two headings :  those relating to our operation, and others relating to our food.
Please scroll down to read the answers, which we hope are helpful for you.

Operation

Food related questions
1.   When is Edamame's next scheduled holiday closure ? 1.   I have special dietary requirements, so what can I eat ?
2.   Do you take cards ? 2.   Does the fish stock used at Edamame contain any shellfish ?
3.   How long might we have to wait if there's a queue ? 3.   Do you use MSG in your cooking ?
4.   Why can we not book ? 4.   What is miso ?
5.   Why can't I sit down and wait for my friends at the table ?             5.   Why do you not serve noodles in the evenings ?
6.   When is it likely to be less busy ? 6.   Do the main dishes come with rice and soup ?
7.   Why do I have to share my table with others ? 7.   How spicy is spicy ? ?
8.   Why do you not move to larger premises ? 8.   What is the difference between shoyu and miso ramen noodle dishes ?
9.   Do you have wi-fi ? 9.   Why do you not serve spoons with the miso soup ?
10.  Is service included ? 10.  Do you serve vegetarian miso soup ?
11.  Why do you only serve sushi one night a week ? 11.   Do you offer desserts ?
12.  Are you "child friendly" ?  
13.  Is there wheelchair access into Edamame ?  
14.  Do you do takeouts ?  
15.  Why do you close so early in the evenings ?  
   

Operation

1. When is Edamame's next scheduled holiday closure ?
We will close for a summer holiday AFTER lunch on Sun. Aug 20th 2017.  Our reopening date will be Wednesday September 20th.

2. Do you take cards ?
Yes we do, at both lunch and in the evenings (we USED to have a cash only policy at lunchtimes).  There are some minor  restrictions on the use of cards at Edamame which help us maintain a good speed of service - we ask for a £10 MINIMUM spend per card, and a MAXIMUM of 2 CARDS per group of guests.  We are grateful for your cooperation with these restrictions.

3. How long might we have to wait if there's a queue ?
It is very tricky to answer this question as there are so many factors to consider !  For example, it is often the case that some of the people waiting ahead of you in the line are members of a group that has not yet fully assembled, in which case groups who have fully assembled will be invited to sit down ahead of them, if seats are available.

We have only three tables capable of seating groups of 5 or more.  It is relatively easy to arrange seats for groups of 2, 3 or 4,
so we suggest larger groups may like to split up into smaller groups if they are in a hurry to sit down.

Whatever the situation please be assured we are doing our utmost (within reason) to minimise the wait at the door whilst seeing to it that our guests sat inside receive warm and courteous service.  We are always grateful to our many regulars who, having finished their meals, remember those people who may be waiting at the door and kindly consider them (and us) by vacating their seats relatively quickly.

4. Why can we not book ?
We try to maximise the efficiency of our operation in our tiny premises of low seating capacity in order to maintain our modest prices without lowering the quality of the food.  It is easier to achieve this goal by seating fully assembled groups of guests on a first come first served basis.

5. Why can I not sit down and wait for my friends at the table ?
We understand you might like to wait at a table for your friend(s) to arrive.  Regrettably though, due to the very small restaurant seating area we are unable to offer this option, as it conflicts with our "no reservations" policy which we try to maintain for reasons explained in the previous answer (4).

However, if you already know the food order for your whole group then please let us know.  We will invite you to sit, we will take your order and promptly start its preparation, including the order for the person(s) yet to arrive.

6. When is it likely to be less busy ?
In general it tends to be less busy during the first hour after opening ie. 11.30-12.30pm (Wed - Sat lunches), and 5.00-6.00pm (Thurs-Sat evenings).  Also it is often quieter during the last hour of Sunday lunch (ie. 2.30-3.30pm), but it should be noted there is likely to be a reduced menu available at this time, as items often sell out as we approach the end of our week.

7. Why do I have to share my table with others ?
We try to seat people as comfortably as we can appropriate to how busy we are.  At busier times the tables will be shared between two or more different groups of guests to help minimise the wait at the door.  It all contributes to what we hope will be an enjoyable if perhaps unconventional eating experience.  Actually we have many stories of people who met for the first time at Edamame and became great friends, others who went on to get married and now return here for their anniversary meals !

8. Why do you not move to larger premises ?
We love being on Holywell Street, one Oxford’s more charming locations, hidden away from all the bustle, noise and smells of elsewhere.  Although a larger premises might relieve us of many of the challenges we currently face we fear Edamame might lose much of its personality if we were to move and expand into a bigger operation.

9. Do you have wi-fi ?
There is no wi-fi service.  Also, the mobile phone signal for some carriers is quite poor inside the restaurant area.
As Edamame is very small and enclosed we would ask that you keep the use of your phone to a minimum and speak at a low volume in order to avoid disturbing or annoying other guests.

10. Is service included ?
Service is not included in our prices, though a discretionary 10% service charge is added for groups of 5 or more. All tips are gratefully received and shared equally amongst the kitchen and restaurant staff.

11. Why do you only serve sushi one night a week ?
Edamame opened as a "Japanese home cooking" eatery in November 1998, serving home cooked style food at lunchtimes, and a more varied dinner menu on Friday and Saturday evenings only.  This menu schedule was the full extent of our intended operation at that time.  It continued as such until the summer of 2001, when after repeated requests from our regular guests we started to consider offering a sushi menu as well.

We concluded it would be best to prepare the sushi away from the 'normal' cooking environment of frying pans and fryers etc.  We decided to introduce an additional time slot into our menu schedule, to offer a sushi-only menu and temporarily reconfigure the kitchen to achieve this.  Thursday evenings seemed a natural choice, and they evolved into the "Edamame sushi night" which is now firmly established in our weekly schedule.

We do not claim to be a specialist sushi outlet, with a wide ranging sushi menu.  That has never been our intention.  However the modestly sized sushi menu that we offer is enjoyed by many people, and we are grateful for their continued support.  Maybe in the future we will serve sushi on an additional evening, but for now it is a one night a week commitment.

12. Are you "child friendly" ?
We love children, and we often go out of our way to make children feel particularly welcome.  We have two high chairs and we can prepare child-sized portions on request at reduced prices.  We are very grateful when parents and carers of younger children clear up any mess on their table and floor around them before they leave, as a matter of courtesy and respect to our staff and more importantly to our valued customers sitting close by.

It should be noted, regrettably, that as Edamame is such a tiny place it is often very difficult to accomodate large push chairs.  If you have such large items with you we would always recommend that you come here at less busy times -  the first hour immediately after opening is often the quietest time.

13. Is there wheelchair access into Edamame ?
Yes, it is possible to access the dining area in a wheelchair, though this is more easily done at quieter times, as Edamame is small and can often be rather busy !  However, regrettably, the toilet and washroom areas are too small for wheelchair access.

14. Do you do takeouts ?
Yes, we offer takeouts of most of the dishes, but only from the menu that is operation at the time you wish to pick up your order.  You can also call in your order, refering to the on-line menus, and we will prepare your food shortly before an agreed collection time.  For more details please select the “Takeaways” link at the top of our web-site.

15. Why do you close so early in the evenings ?
Edamame is located on a residential street.  We are obliged by the terms of our lease to close at 9pm, and so we aim to take last orders at 8.30pm.  We politely ask guests for their understanding of this restriction by vacating Edamame as close to 9pm as is reasonably possible, and for that reason we always recommend that you arrive at Edamame well before 8.30pm in order to enjoy a more leisurely meal.


Food related questions

1. I am vegetarian/pescatorian/allergic to ......, so what can I eat ?
Each menu item has a label showing if it contains meat (M), or is suitable (V) for vegetarians, or if it is suitable for pescatorians (P) (fish eating vegetarians), or (P)* if it can be made suitable for vegetarians
An item labelled (G) is gluten free.  An item labelled (G*) indicates it can be made gluten free on request.

Our staff have access to detailed information about the content of each of our dishes, with special reference to gluten, soy, eggs, fish stock, onions, garlic, dairy products, peanuts, and sesame (oil or seeds), and our waitstaff are therefore able to talk through with you about any allergy concerns you may have, and make those concerns clearly known to the chef after you have ordered.

Please note that while a particular dish may be stated not to contain a certain allergen, our food is prepared using the same equipment and in the same kitchen area as other ingredients that do contain the allergen.  The chef takes great care in the food preparation.  However, regrettably we cannot guarantee that cross contact with allergens will not occur, and therefore we cannot assume any responsibility for a person's sensitivity or allergy to any food item provided from our kitchen.

2. Does the fish stock used at Edamame contain any shellfish ?
No, it does not.  Many kinds of fish stock do indeed contain shellfish but the only fish content in our fish stock is bonito (smoked skipjack tuna).  Edamame's fish stock does not taste or smell of fish.  However, it is a vital ingredient in our recipes to create authentic Japanese flavours.  To prepare the
 vegetarian  dishes use konbu dashi instead of fish stock, and our vegetarian miso soup has become a very popular choice - even amongst our non-vegetarian guests !

3. Do you use MSG in your cooking ?
We do not add MSG to our food.  However some ingredients we import from Japan contain MSG as part of their constitution.

4. What is miso ?
Miso is a paste made of fermented soy beans, rice and salt.  Some types of miso can also contain barley or other grain. 
Edamame’s miso contains only soy beans, rice and salt, and so it is completely gluten free.

5. Why do you not serve noodles in the evenings ?
This is so we can provide the wider variety of stir fried food that is available on Friday and Saturday evenings.

6. Do the main dishes come with rice and soup ?
Lunch Menu - the main items ARE served with rice and soup (except the noodle dishes).  You may request "no rice" or "no soup", in which case we reduce the price by £1.00 for each of these items subtracted from the set.

Dinner Menu - rice and soup is NOT included and may be ordered separately from the "side orders" section of the menu.  We recommend for dinner that each person orders their own bowl of rice (and soup), and then chooses to share a selection of other dishes in order to enjoy a wider variety of flavours.  We now offer vegetarian miso soup, made with konbu dashi instead of fish stock.

7. How spicy is spicy ?
What is spicy to some people may not be spicy to others !  Japanese food is generally not very spicy, and we serve only a few dishes that could be labelled "spicy".  In our judgement we prepare them to be spicy only to enhance the depth of flavour rather than to dominate it.  The miso ramen on our lunch menu for example can be prepared "spicy, mildly spicy, or plain".  These variations satisfy most peoples' taste buds, though we do also have many regulars who request an "extra spicy" version !

8. What is the difference between the shoyu and miso ramen noodle dishes ?
Shoyu ramen has a clear soy-based soup with chunks of chicken or seasoned pork with a few vegetables.  The stock contains extract of chicken and pork, so we cannot offer a vegetarian version, though we can exchange the chunks of pork (or chicken) for chunks of tofu if you so wish.

Miso ramen is made with a miso-based vegetarian soup.  Our miso ramen contains seasoned minced pork or chicken, a large amount of stir fried vegetables, and can be made spicy or mildly spicy on request.  A vegetarian version with tofu chunks instead of meat is a popular option, which can also be made spicy or mildly spicy if so requested.

If you are particularly hungry we suggest the miso ramen might be the more satisfying of the two ramen dishes !

9. Why do you not serve spoons with the miso soup ?
Miso soup is traditionally drunk straight from the bowl, so we do not automatically serve spoons with it. 
Spoons are available of course, so if you would prefer to use a spoon please do not hesitate to ask for one. Similarly, knives and forks are available for people who would rather not use chopsticks.

10. Do you serve vegetarian miso soup ?
YES we do !!  Although our regular home-made miso soup contains fish stock suitable for pescatorians (and gluten free), we now also offer vegetarian miso soup prepared with konbu dashi instead of fish stock - it's equally delicious !!

11. Do you offer desserts ?
We do not serve desserts, though in the summer months we often offer takeaway-only individual portions of green tea ice cream (and other flavours).  The ice cream comes from the popular local George and Davis parlour.