Edinburgh’s most authentic Japanese restaurant, Harajuku Kitchen is celebrating today after being awarded a coveted AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence.
Revered AA Inspectors award rosettes to “the best restaurants serving food prepared with care, understanding and skill, using good quality ingredients. These restaurants will be achieving standards that standout in their local area… guests should be able to eat in with confidence and a sense of anticipation.”
Harajuku Kitchen specialises in authentic Japanese cuisine from small dishes, ideal for sharing, such as classics like Beef Tataki and Chicken Karaage to more unusual delicacies such as Salmon Nanban – fried salmon dipped in soy and vinegar glaze, sake, chilli, onion and carrots, Gomadare salad with seaweed, lettuce, glass noodles, sesame, miso dressing, cucumber, carrot and edamame or Takoyaki – dough balls with octopus and cabbage in katsu sauce. They also offer a range of noodle and Japanese curry dishes and a wide variety of freshly made sushi, sashimi and maki.
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, even 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. And, even with an AA Rosette you can still occasionally find Kaori helping Keith out at the markets on the weekend.
Kaori has said “We are so delighted to receive this fantastic accolade from the AA. I’m so proud of my team for all the hard work and dedication they have put in to make it happen. We have just started to open now for lunchtime during the week – so they are working doubly hard and really deserve this superb accreditation.”