Kaori Simpson opened her bijou restaurant Harajuku Kitchen in 2013 on a corner spot where Tollcross turns into Bruntsfield.
She combined the Japanese family recipes of her childhood with a knowledge of Scottish produce gained by working for Tom Kitchin and created a unique restaurant boasting a roll-call of awards not least an AA rosette.
Now, Kaori has opened a concession in the food market Edinburgh Street Food. Sushi rolls, poke bowls and salad bowls slot in easily to the street food concept. A point of difference however, is the inherently healthy nature of such dishes. Colourful, tasty, nutritious ingredients are a very welcome change from the ubiquitous bread-based, on-the-go meal options.
I meet up with my friend Vivian to sample the food; it’s her first visit to the market and she is wooed by the buzzy, casual, friendly vibe.
There is water readily available at the bar next to Harajuku (good to know) and we pour ourselves some hydration, order food and sit down at one of the long wooden communal tables.
We choose a Salad Bowl with Salmon, and a Poke Bowl with Tuna and Salmon, from the menu that also includes miso soup, seaweed salad, rice bowls, noodles, and sushi burritos. We feel very virtuous with all the vegetables and essential fatty acids we are consuming but it is easy to be healthy when food tastes this good.
Viv’s Salad Bowl contains cabbage, salmon, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, carrots while my Poke Bowl has sushi rice, lettuce, carrot, cucumber, avocado, tomato, sesame and spring onions. We share lashings on teriyaki sauce and kimchi mayo too.
Street food is a sociable way of eating and we get chatting to our servers Robyn and Callum. Callum tells us that he worked for Yo Sushi “when it was good” and was run by founder Simon Woodruff. It turns out he is a bit of a sushi guru and passionate about the craft.
Harajuku may well become my go-to place for a quick bite. (S. Wilson)
Edinburgh Street Food
7 days a week from midday – 11pm. Food served until 9pm on Sundays -Thursdays and until 10:30pm on Fridays & Saturdays. In August & December they serve food until 11pm, seven days a week.
Check the website for Christmas and NY opening times.