We have a love affair with Edinburgh here at 610. It was where we had our small, intimate wedding, so it will forever be one of our favourite cities. One of our more recent loves is Japanese food in part thanks to a delicious restaurant serving all manner of tasty treats back home. So on our last visit to Edinburgh, we heard that Harajuku Kitchen on the Bruntsfield/Tolcross border of the city had won a number of awards and we were super keen to get tasting to see if it really could match the best Essex has to offer.
Harajuku Kitchen is no more than a 15-minute walk from Haymarket train station, so around 30 minutes from Princes Street. It’s nestled within Edinburgh’s own theatreland so there are plenty of reasons to visit Harajuku Kitchen, but none more so than the food, the cocktails and the kitsch. Let me explain.
I’m a bit of a chopstick moron. They are my kryptonite, my Everest. My chimp brain seems to struggle to work out how to use the pincer-like tools and I’ll admit I envy those who can pick them up and eat with ease. So even before I arrived, I knew it would be a bit of a challenge. But we’re all about authenticity, and as soon as I arrived it was clear the restaurant is pretty, pretty authentic.
Did you know Japan produces its own gin? No. Me neither. So a Jinzu and tonic was the first thing I wanted to try, and it blew us away. It had a sweetness that a lot of London dry gins just miss, and was a refreshing drink despite the Baltic weather outside.
As for food, I went for the Dragon Roll, made with tempura prawn and topped with avocado and opted for some sushi too. The Dragon Roll was delish, as the photos can attest to (notice the silky smooth chopstick usage). Although it wasn’t exactly the same, the feel of the restaurant and the food felt like I was in a back street café in Thailand. It just felt fresh. The restaurant itself was quite stripped back, and noticeable by the absence of Japanese paraphernalia many restaurants are full of. No geishas, no dragons, no tack. To me, that’s what authentic is.
Eight pieces of sushi later, we were pretty impressed. Sushi isn’t an easy dish to perfect and even harder to please with, but we give top marks to the chef. Given how yummy that was, for dessert we decided on the Apple Gyoza with Green Tea Ice Cream and a Plum Royale – prosecco with a Japanese plum syrup – to finish. As a fan of any apple-based dessert, the Gyoza wasn’t a letdown. The cocktail was like a sparkling dessert wine, another touch we loved.
So who would best be suited for a night at the Kitchen? In our opinion, it’s great for a number of diners. The quick, healthy, fresh lunchtime eater, looking for something that isn’t pre-packed. We didn’t wait long for the food, so you can easily pop in for a nibble over lunch. The sushi-cravers who need their fix. The first time daters and the long time lovers. And of course, it’s perfectly placed for fans of a good play. And that’s the beauty. The menu is brilliant. It caters for everyone from the casual diner to someone looking for a sit-down meal.
It’s little wonder Harajuku Kitchen scooped a number of awards. We’ll definitely be back.
Harajuku Kitchen | 10 Gillespie Pl, Edinburgh EH10 4HS | 0131 281 0526 | Website