Harajuku Kitchen Edinburgh

Harajuku kitchen edinburgh

Japanese anyone? OK then. In Edinburgh? Easy peasy lemon squeezy as Harajuku Kitchen in Bruntsfield ticks all the boxes. We dined there last week and this is what we thought…

In a nutshell
Authentic Japanese cooking and then some. An independently run restaurant nestled in cosy Bruntsfield that’s so popular with locals far and wide that you definitely have to book.

Who’s cooking?
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.

After meeting her husband whilst studying in the UK 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, which we love and frequently visit…read ‘EVERY WEEK’ to get our fill of their amazing Japanese Gyoza dumplings… and from that she went on to open Harajuku Kitchen, a Japanese bistro in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield in 2013.

Menu know-how and must orders
You want raw fish, you can have it. We did. The tuna sashimi was fresh fresh fresh. Don’t expect it to fill your boots, no chance, but it tastes great and we could have eaten more.

Harajuku kitchen edinburghGyoza, you’d be a fool not to order these. Apparently they sell 3,000 portions a month (both in the restaurant and on their market stall), $ signs roll before your eyes. They are GOOD, you’ll be annoyed you only ordered one portion. Don’t worry, order more. It’s the kind of place you can easily order more dishes if you haven’t eaten enough. No sweat.

We also ordered, in no particular order - 
Salmon Nanban – fried salmon dipped in soy and vinegar glaze, sake, chilli, onion and carrots,
Karaage Chicken – crispy and succulent deep fried chicken with daikon dare sauce,
Aubergine curry – pan fried tempura aubergine with rice and Japanese curry sauce,
Tuna sashimi,
Dragon roll –  Tiger prawn tempura with avocado and mayo,
And a side portion of cucumber for mini monkfish, he likes his greens….
Harajuku Kitchen Edinburgh

Harajuku Kitchen EdinburghWhat we’ll order next time
We like Gyoza….
And then more sushi and sashimi. We didn’t really touch the surface to be hones, how can you in one visit, impossible. Any excuse to go back and sample more.

What’s the room like
Cool graphics designed by Kaori herself then created by an artist on the wall in the restaurant. Furniture is simple, the place has a tranquil calm feel about it. Perfect.
Harajuku kitchen edinburgh

Nothing as far as we know from this visit just not enough capacity to try everything out that we wanted to!

What we liked
Hard to know where to start! So nice to be dining in a local neighbourhood restaurant that really knows it’s stuff. We’re not experts in  Japanese cuisine by any stretch but we just felt that what was being served up was the most authentic you can get in town.

Fun fact
Prefer to eat street food rather than a sit down meal? No problem, join the orderly queue (as there is ALWAYS a queue) at Stockbridge market every Sunday and a portion of gyoza will be yours. We also enjoyed yet another portion ourselves at The Pitt in Leith last weekend. Addicts.

Harajuku Kitchen EdinburghThere’s those gyoza again….

The detail:
Email kaori@harajukukitchen.co.uk
Website www.harajukukitchen.co.uk
Harajuku Kitchen
Order with Deliveroo

Harajuku Kitchen Edinburgh, we’ll be back. And in fact we’ll be back sooner than we thought as Kaori is running a sushi masterclass on Monday 30th May, 6-9pm, and Mrs Monkfish is going along.

For just £50pp join Kaori and her right-hand chef Rui for an evening set to educate you in the basics of sushi history, from the bare ingredients to the final dish. Kaori will teach you how to conjure the classic sushi dishes and the dexterity that goes with it.

After you’ve artfully crafted your own sushi, revel in your success by enjoying your dishes alongside your fellow sushi lovers, accompanied with complimentary miso soup and traditional Japanese green tea. There will be plenty of sushi leftover so you’ll be able to share your delicious dishes with your family and friends too.

Spaces are limited in these classes in order to provide aspiring sushi masters with an attention-grabbing, informative showcase, so book yours quickly.

To book call 0131 281 0526.

Harajuku Kitchen Japanese Bistro, 10 Gillespie Place, Edinburgh.



favourite food bloggersFAVOURITE FOOD BLOGGERS

Where do you start when you’re asked to talk about your 5 favourite food bloggers? There are so many it’s very difficult to know where to begin. For me, it was easy. I headed straight to my Instagram feed to see who I followed because although the writing is obviously crucial to developing a great food blog it’s the photographs that draw me in. If you can crack that then you’re on your way to food blog super stardom!

The following 5 blogs are ones that I love, primarily as the content really interests me and secondly the photography is above and beyond brilliant. The writers are passionate about their subject matter whether that’s cooking the latest Hemsley and Hemsley recipe or  recreating their Granny’s apple crumble. Anything goes. Grab a coffee and a snack of choice and indulge yourself in these lovely blogs.

favourite food bloggers



If pictures speak a thousand words then Kellie Anderson has written several books already.

An ex-pat American living and working in Edinburgh her blog is informative on all sorts of levels – nutrition, advice, recipes, alternative ingredients, vegan and gluten free all feature and she takes the most amazing photographs too. Kellie is a nutritionist working closely with Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres.

She’s a fantastic person who glows with positivity which comes across so well when you read her blog. She draws you in with her writing style so you never want to leave and while you’re reading and drooling over her pictures you’ll actually learn something too. It’s all about ‘feel good food’ and food which does just that once you’ve eaten it. Hop over to her Instagram feed for even more spectacular photos and get a glimpse of her on her travels too.



A new kid on the food blogging scene, Alessandra (just turned 17) already has a book coming out and is friends with David Loftus, Jamie Oliver’s photographer.
Diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2012 she taught herself how to cook using real food from scratch and became a total geek about nutrition. I guess you could say she’s the new Deliciously Ella in some ways even but 8 years younger!

A brilliant photographer and recipe writer but be aware, only venture into her world if you’re mad about nut butters, prefer cacao to cocoa and are keen on grain free dishes. And you should check out her Instagram feed too, she’s a busy girl with thousands of followers who love what she’s all about.


It’s all about the cakes. And more cakes. Joy the Baker is somewhat of an institution in the States and she has plenty of followers all over the world. With a couple of books already published, a YouTube channel and 340k Instagram followers she’s a food blogger done good. What I like about her though is she is exactly that, she started the blog back in 2008 due to her obsession with brownies and cakes. A self taught baker turned professional baker turned food photographer and now author. Originally from California but now settled in New Orleans her inspiration comes from her location, she lives and breathes the culture around her and her writing and recipes reflect that.

There’s decadence, lots of smoky, salty, sweet treats, cheesecakes, ice cream, doughnuts but then there’s also a lot of good humour, an insight into her lifestyle and one of the best travel guides to New Orleans you can get. ‘Let it be Sunday’ her weekly newsletter email is an email to look forward to, unlike the other 50 you get over the weekend which you really should unsubscribe to!



This type of blog makes me very jealous. For me it’s perfect. Great photography, great layout, fantastic content. Nina lives just north of Amsterdam close to the coast. She’s originally from Sweden and the Nordic influences come over in leaps and bounds in her blog. Her diet is plant based so meat eaters may click away but they shouldn’t.

This blog proves that vegan and vegetarian diets can be the most colourful, nutritious, mindful food that you can eat. They will make you feel better and live longer. Fed up of hearing the phrase ‘eat clean’? You shouldn’t be as the trend for cooking from scratch with the best possible ingredients is here to stay. Nina calls it ‘mindful eating’ as the feeling you have from eating food that’s full of health and happiness is a positive one. It’s food that’s best for you, best for the environment and let’s face it, it looks brilliant on Instagram. LIKE.



favourite food bloggersWhen I dipped my toe into the world of serious bread making earlier this year it was this blog that was my main source of inspiration. Can you really just make a loaf using only flour and water? Yes you can! And a mighty fine loaf at that. If sourdough is your ultimate bread of choice then click through and be inspired.

‘How to’ videos are there to guide you every step of your bread making way so you’re never alone on your intrepid journey. And what a journey it can be. Ed & Marieke, based in the Netherlands, will help you to make the best bread you’ve ever ever made. They will explain the health benefits of sourdough, how to look after your ‘starter’, feed it, nurture it, and share tips on ingredients, flour, temperatures, what equipment you need, and much more. A great starting point for anyone who wants to start or improve artisan bread making at home.


favourite food bloggers

So that’s my current top 5 favourite food bloggers. It’s a moveable feast, literally. Next month I’m sure someone else will make the list but I really love all of the ones mentioned above so will continue to cook their recipes, eat their amazing ideas and drool over their photographs.

This article was written for the May 2016 issue of ION magazine and is the unedited version.



UPDATE! THE EDINBURGH POP UPS 2016 DIRECTORY has just had a refresh. This year we’re including a few other ‘alternative’ dining experiences too as they are on an upward trend and it’s what we are all wanting…something a little bit different.

The awesome Edinburgh Food Studio which opened last year features at the top of the list and The Pitt Street Market in Leith, which, for us is the street food happening to go to in Edinburgh, there’s nothing else like it. Real, gritty, street, music, booze, doughnuts, pizza and fire pits, just ace.

If you know of any other things going on then should be on our list then please CONTACT US and we can add them pronto. In the meantime, here’s Mrs M about to tuck into her very own supper….a Monkfish no less…with a side of sauv blanc…
HILARYSTUZAKER_4photo credit Luigi de Pasquale 2015


edinburgh secret spotsSecret herb garden, photo credit Teresa Dickson, April 2016


It’s great having secret places to go to that you think no-one else knows about but then they pop up in guide books, blogs, top tip lists and you think ‘darn it’, now I’m going to have to share that little corner with a few hundred other people from now on. Never mind, be grateful that it was, at some point, just your secret.

When you’re asked by an Edinburgh newbie to give them your ‘top Edinburgh secret spots it’s hard to know where to start. Do you share them or not? If you’re writing a food blog then you we guess you have to share these things…? So here it is, a list that we’ve literally just written today which covers off ALL the major food groups and the locations where you can eat said food groups. Ding dong.

OK, so they’re now at nearly 7k followers on Facebook so a few of you out there know about the Secret Herb Garden but we think we got there first. Think we were follower 127 or something like that.  If you need a quiet cuppa and a slice of cake or two to contemplate life, chill out, have some R&R, peace and quiet, that kinda thing then this is probably the perfect place. And the gingerbread cake? Life would be far too short without a slice of that in your life.

Not too far out of Edinburgh but far enough to be away from the buzz of the city it’s a perfect haven of tranquility that’s been created by Hamish and Liberty Martin. For them it’s a dream come true. A specialist herb nursery with a great cafe, a few bit of vintage furniture, plants for sale and plenty of open spaces. It’s also a boutique wedding venue and has some really exciting events planned over the Summer too such as the Full Moon Dinners with chefs including Brian Grigor (Balmoral Number One), Neil Forbes (Cafe St Honore) and Ben Radford (Timberyard).

There’s going to be a queue. That’s the bad news. Yep, it’s not that much of a secret anymore but it’s definitely a top tip. Harajuku Kitchen based in Bruntsfield are doing a roaring trade by popping up at the weekly Stockbridge Market. So much so there’s usually a queue up the market steps for their awesome pork gyoza. It’s the dipping sauce that makes these the best gyoza we’ve had. My mouth is watering just typing this! 6 for a fiver, you’d best go to the cash point first as one box just isn’t enough.

Mrs M loves eggs. Her eating clean and #girlgains gym life of the last 12 months means she’s probably consumed 416 eggs since 1st May 2015, now that’s a lot of protein. Not everyone can cook the perfect poached egg – you order, you wait patiently, your dish arrives, you slice into the eggs with a nervous excitement, will it be runny yellowy lovely goodness or…… And O, M, G, if it’s not runny are you the most disappointed person in the world right at that moment? WE ARE!

But discovering the poached eggs at The Pantry in Stockbridge has been a revelation. Never ever ever are the eggs overdone. They are, for us, the ultimate poached eggs. Give that chef a medal, he rules.

We guess it’s not much of a secret if you know your street food vans but the Big Blu Van doesn’t show up that often in the Berg which is why it’s made our list. Thankfully the new and brilliant Pitt Street market has found all the best street food vans around and brings them together once a month (the last Saturday of the month, next one being 30t April) and the Big Blu Pizza van is one of them. Authentic, fresh, thin, hot, crispy pizza with a hint of wood smoke, pretty much the perfect pizzas in our book. Keeping it simple means the best results. Try one, or two…


Well, this is a recent find for us although it’s been open a couple of months. Mrs M has just reviewed New Chapter for OLIVE mag and gave it a huge thumbs up. Not far from Stockbridge or Canonmills it’s doing a roaring trade as quite frankly the food is fantastic. We’ll leave it to you to decide what you think but when you can get a two course set lunch for less than a bucket of latte and a cardboard panini ‘up the town’ then it’s really a no brainer. Book now.

EDINBURGH SECRET SPOTS, you heard it here first.


Hilary Sturzaker

Step away from the Monkfish! The time has finally come to tell you a little bit more about me, Hilary Sturzaker. I love writing under my pseudonym Mrs Monkfish but sometimes I quite like being me too.

I love food – creating it, eating it, talking about it, taking pictures of it (a lot) and writing about it. So much so that I’ve actually carved a career out of it. Amazing!

A career in the sunny world of Financial Services had its positives (just a few) but 16 years of it was enough for anyone. I actually hung up my adding machine and filed my spreadsheets back in 2012 when Mini Monkfish was born.  I saw a glimmer of hope on the horizon that I could potentially make food a much bigger part of my life. So I did. And I have.

HILARY STURZAKERMymonkfish.com was born in 2009 from a love of food photography and wanting to share my creations from the kitchen. This was waaaay before Twitter turned up and way way waaaaay before Instagram, iCloud, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Pinterest, and the rest! The blog has been (and still is) great fun and my love for food photography continues to grow. I literally can’t put down my iPhone when I’m out and about much to the annoyance of others who shall remain nameless….Mr Monkfish…! Snapping the next #flatwhite (of which there are many in Edinburgh, lucky us), finding the next best dish on the next best menu of the next best eating place in Edinburgh is my life. And I love it.

In between snapping the next #flatwhite (and usually while slurping one) I’ve met the most inspiring and creative people – you know who you are! Some of whom have become my clients and most of whom have become my friends. They’re the ones that don’t have time to shout about what they’re doing as they’re too busy doing what they do to the best of their ability for you!

Food. Drink. Craft Beer. Wine. Gin. Coffee. Cakes. Sourdough. Herbs. Brunch. Food trucks. Small plates. And that’s just the short list.

The last 3 years+ have been a blast, the best is yet to come. If you see food differently, want advice on business strategy, online presence, social media, content, how to position yourself online, and more, then get in touch.

Hilary Sturzaker

Thanks to the awesome photographer Luigi di Pasquale for taking snaps of me last year in Timberyard, he did the best he could with the subject matter :) Me and a monkfish, what else?! And the odd glass of wine, goes without saying really…