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Harajuku Kitchen
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Harajuku Kitchen
10 Gillespie Place
0131 281 05 26
Mon-Fri 12 noon- 3pm, 5pm-10pm; Sat & Sun 12 noon-11pm
Catering / private functions available 24/7

From Tokyo with love

Harajuku Kitchen is a wee bento box of an eatery handy for  The Kings and Cameo and serving authentic Japanese cuisine. 

Sushi seems to divide people in a marmite like way. However, when it is expertly conceived and executed I feel there is no better food and my companion for the evening Lesley seemed to agree as do Michelin who have awarded Harajuku one AA Rosette. 

She chose the starters, agenasu koumi dare, warm aubergine with aromatic koumi sauce (£5.95) a dish I never would have opted for (boring aubergine) but would order again in the swipe of a Geisha’s fan it was so meltingly soft and sumptuous. Black and cream toasted sesame seeds for garnish and a sea of sauce. 

Lesley’s other choices comprised chicken yakatori, poultry and spring onion, skewered, with yakitori sauce (£6.95) and pork gyoza dumplings - Scottish, outdoor reared, minced pork, lettuce and nira (£5.95) served with vinegar soy with chilli oil. Both were distinguished by being ultra fresh and juicy and substantial portions would allow a cheap nutritious lunch at Harajuku. 

My choice for main course was a staple of mine as I simply can’t resist a show stopping rainbow roll (£11.95). Sushi is a very theatrical food; full of colour, taste, texture, skill and ritual and the beauty of tuna, salmon, cucumber and avocado in a long dragon like roll is never lost on me; it’s both dramatic and delicious. Fresh orange and pink flesh, vinegar soaked rice and jade and green veg; a rainbow indeed and one that I could eat all day. 

Harajuku manages to pull off two other things directly designed for a western clientele. Firstly drink, we had a glass of plum wine royale, aka, choya umeshu plum wine topped up with Prosecco. I am not a fan of Prosecco (preferring cava or champagne) but this was lovely; the bubbles given an intense stone fruit edge from the plum wine. And if you are one of the millions of Prosecco lovers out there it is good to know it is on offer alongside wine, beer and cocktails. 

The other Western thing Harajuku manages is dessert. The special of the day was a real chocolate coca mousse with fat sweet blueberries which we washed down with endless floral green tea served from beautiful earthenware.

Recommended for sushi lovers and potential converts.  (S. Wilson)

An imminent trip to France with its fabulous regional cooking but a rarity of other cuisines had me keen to go global while we could. With this excuse I enticed Mr Fussy, who has long been a Japanese-food-avoider, tosample this peaceful retreat on a busy main road.

Luckily owner/chef Kaori Simpson hails from a dynasty of Japanese restaurants since the time of her Samurai grandfather, with the experience to produce many of the varied types of Japanese cuisine & AA rosettes to prove it, so we decided to pick & choose rather than just going for the 2 course special available for lunch & pre-theatre at £12.95.

We accompanied our lunch with Japanese Kimanu lemonade – a novelty to try this colourful bottle but, containing a high percent of corn syrup, more like an American cream soda. Much more to our taste was Bon Accord rhubarb & apple juice, made in Edinburgh with all-natural goodies such as home-made rhubarb syrup & coconut nectar and red in colour from natural anthocyanins. Very pleasant with a fruity flavour and clean finish, not clashing at all with the gentleness of our ‘bottomless’ Gennmai green tea.

The Agenasu Kuomi Dare (£5.95) had warm, meltingly soft, sweet cubes of aubergine with tasty scraps of tempura batter providing texture in a chilli, honey & garlic sauce. Mr Fussy enjoyed his tuna takaki (carpaccio) which had been rolled in sesame seeds & barely seared, served on pickled carrots & rice noodles (£5.50)

We also enjoyed traditional gourmet futomaki, nori seaweed rolls containing a little bit of everything, including fine strips of sweet egg omelette, king prawn, calabash, salmon & crunchy cucumber. At £12.45, like our soft shell spider crab rolls coated in mixed sesame seeds, these came with a gratifyingly generous amount of pale, pickled ginger plus a dollop of flower strewn wasabi that wasn’t too hot for my dining partner.

 A minor disappointment was that the sweet potato tempura, rather than battered & fried puree as I expected, were rather undercooked slices that would have been sweeter had they been cooked softer. However we chose to share Apple Gyoza (dumplings) with green tea ice-cream and the delicate ice-cream was delightful, pairing well with cold & crispy crimped pastry shells, bursting with fine, deliciously sweet apple filling. (The Go-Between)


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