Harajuku kitchen has just received a coveted AA rosette for Culinary Excellence. For those with long memories, the premises were once Scot’s Deli where we went on a regular basis. Today, it is a bright, attractive restaurant dedicated to authentic Japanese cuisine.
We visited Japan a few years ago and found that the restaurants tended to specialise in one type of cooking. Here in Britain, you find many restaurants whose main focus is sushi. At Harajuku, you can try many different dishes in one evening including sushi should you so desire.
The menu includes a selection of small dishes, main dishes and special sections for noodles and tempura. It’s best not to think of the small dishes as starters. We had two: the pork was a large portion, the aubergine much smaller. We could see this really working well of a larger group and an excellent way to sample a selection of dishes. It was pleasing to note that local produce is used where possible, despite the recipes being Japanese.
Being a big fan of slow cooked pork, I chose Pork Rafute cooked Ryukyu style (from the Okinawa islands). The sauce was rich and flavoursome, alas the pork itself was rather dry. The Agunasu Kuomi Dare (warm aubergine with aromatic kuomi sauce soy sauce based) was soft and yielding and savoury.
Whilst we were enjoying our small dishes, the restaurant filled up. By the time we left, there was a queue at the door.
Our main courses both arrived with a very flavoursome miso soup. I chose the mixed tempura which came on a bed of rice and beautifully presented. The tempura batter was lovely and crisp. I struggled with the size of slices of vegetables – a huge wheel of sweet potato and enormous slice of pepper – not so easy to tackle with chop sticks! Served with a tasty teriyaki sauce, the portion was very generous and I regretfully had to leave some of the rice.
Mr E F chose the Tonkatsu Curry – Panko breaded pork (which is what Tonkatsu means) with rice and Japanese curry sauce. Again a substantial portion with a nice crunch from the panko breadcrumbs which married well with the curry sauce.
Mr EF enjoyed a Japanese wheat beer unusually containing orange juice. My Kitsch soda went perfectly with my dishes.
For dessert, we were tempted by a non-Japanese special rhubarb panacotta. A fitting end to a lovely meal. You can eat very well for a low price. Just make sure you book in advance!
About Harjuku Kitchen
Harajuku Kitchen’s Chef Patron Kaori Simpson was born in Hong Kong and learned to cook in her mother’s restaurants after her great-grandfather established one of the most famous fine dining restaurants in Japan: His guests hailed from political and business backgrounds enjoying the traditional food and geisha experience on offer. After moving to the UK Kaori continued her chef training, including working at Edinburgh’s Michelin starred The Kitchin, to gain experience in the European repertoire. She then decided to concentrate on Japanese cuisine and was appointed private chef to the Consulate General of Japan, in Edinburgh. Kaori’s entrepreneurial side was unleashed when she was given the opportunity to host a stall at the Stockbridge Market in Edinburgh. Together with her husband, Keith, they started with Japanese Gyoza dumplings and Udon noodle stir fry and from that went on to open Harajuku Kitchen, a Japanese bistro in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield in 2013.
Harajuku Kitchen on Twitter
Follow Harajuku Kitchen on Instagram At time of writing, Harajuku Kitchen are running a competition. Simply upload a picture of your meal to Instagram and tag them for a chance to win a dinner for two.