22nd November 2015 1.30pm
I was invited along by Emma from Edinbug, who had in turn had been invited by the PR company for Harajuku Kitchen. This Japanese bistro had been on my list for a little while so I jumped at the opportunity to be her plus one. Harajuku Kitchen is situated in Bruntsfield, in a small corner position. We were welcomed warmly and given a choice of tables. The waitress was particularly concerned we didn’t have the sun shining in our eyes and adjusted the blinds for us, which made it all the better for ogling the menu. There was so much to choose from and I could pretty much devour the whole menu (which will become apparent that I actually tried to do). I decided to make the most of the set sushi platter and then a set main of tonkatsu curry. Emma went for a selection of sushi and dumplings and we both had Japanese lemonade. The waitress suggested having some as a starter and some as a main which we thought was a great idea and very good of her to suggest. Emma busied herself by taking lots of amazing photos (see her review here), so I took a moment to take in the setting. The bistro was relatively busy for a Sunday lunchtime and had a mix of old and young, some who were nipping in for a quick bite and others having a more leisurely Sunday lunch. The dining area is modern, with simple, clean lines. Japanese murals and paraphernalia adorn the room. I also had a taste of the Japanese lemonade, which was refreshing albeit a little too sugary compared with my usual preferences.
Once Emma was settled, the vegetarian gyoza dumplings arrived. They smelt phenomenal and I was more than a little jealous and whilst Emma offered to share, I really had to show some sort of restraint! Emma initially thought they had meat in (she wanted vegetarian) but upon further inspection it was veggie but they just had a meaty texture. At least this meant the vegetarian food was offering something substantial. Then our first set of sushi came out. There was beautiful plating of both dishes, although that didn’t stop us from diving in. The platter had a mix of 4 salmon futomaki, 6 tuna hosomaki and a couple of mixed nigiri. This was very generous for the price and the fish good quality. On the side was a portion of wasabi and ginger. The rice stuck together well to make it easy to eat. This was certainly some of the best sushi I have had. There is a vegetarian version of this but it is set at the same price as the fish version, so unless there is more on offer, a veggie might feel a bit miffed about this. On the other side of the table, Emma had tamago nigiri. The omelette was a little large atop the rice and might have been better as four smaller pieces rather than two large. However, she still enjoyed it immensely and took the eating challenge in her stride. The avocado hosomaki rolls were easier to tackle and again, Emma really enjoyed these. It was at this point the waitress offered to take a photo of us, which was nice of her to offer. It became apparent later that she hadn’t realised we were in reviewing and must have assumed we were tourists. This is a testament to the good level of service.
Onto the ‘mains’. The smell of my tonkatsu curry was amazing. It was served with pickled veg, rice and a side of miso. The miso was very nice and not too salty, which I occasionally find with miso soup. It was a substantial portion of curry and generally it was very good but I did find some of the pork a bit gristly in places . However, this was not enough to stop me eating it as it was quite small. That said, the curry sauce was good and the pickled veg tasty. However, I came unstuck at this point as my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I couldn’t finish. Emma had garden inside out rolls, which she had chosen as a veggie alternative to her beloved California rolls. These were presented beautifully again. The attention to detail is lovely here. Each mouthful was enjoyed more than the last.
Overall Harajuku Kitchen offers an enjoyable experience. The choice is excellent, but make sure you at least try some sushi!
Lots more photos (usually posted within 24 hours of dining) can be found on my Instagram feed here.
Food – 8/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 7/10
Overall – 32/40
Cost – this was complimentary but likely to cost around £50 for two if you order as much as we did!
Please note that whilst this event was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Emma from Edinbug for inviting me.