JAPANESE RESTAURANT KANPAI, EDINBURGH

Kanpai is an understated little Japanese restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh and this is where I chose to dine on my recent trip there. I have always been a big fan of quality Japanese cuisine ever since my father introduced me to it whilst we were living in Singapore.

Arriving at Kanpai with my husband we were very excited for what lay ahead. We were ushered to the bar area for a drink where we could enjoy watching the itamae chef’s who were busily slicing up gorgeous fresh pieces of tuna and salmon. It felt like we had front row tickets watching the gentle masters preparing the succulent raw fish, with barely a word spoken to one another.

There was a lot on the menu that sounded fantastic so we ordered as much as we possibly could without breaking the bank.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

To start, we had a comforting miso soup quickly followed by the very beautiful crowned tuna tartare.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

A colourful dish that was truly a work of art which made me feel guilty having to cut into it. The edible flowers not only looked brilliant but added a wild tasty tang to the soft subtle flavours of the fresh tartare.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

For good measure I ordered some greens in the shape of a very special wakame seaweed salad. Salty neon noodles with their chewy crunch were a great addition to the carb heavy sushi we were ordering. 

A two piece spicy tuna gunkan arrived next and was lovely although I’d have preferred there to have been a little more spice.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

It was also hard not to compare this to the immaculate tuna tartare we had just consumed.

Not only was this food great in taste, but it’s presentation was highly impressive, not to mention dramatic.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REIVEW EDINBURGH

A soft shell crab rolls with its claws pouring out of the front landed on our table. Beautifully crispy soft shell crab packed in with refreshing avocado and rice topped with sparkling roe balls that delightfully burst on your tongue. This was most definitely my favourite dish of the evening.

We also had some deep fried bean curd topped with strips of seaweed, a great and comforting side dish in a sweet yet light sauce.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

Next came the dragon rolls in the shape of a wonderful tail, with a tempura prawn tail dangling out the end. A really delicate blend of tempura prawn and thinly sliced avocado, all expertly executed. 

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

I should mention that all of the above was washed down with a bottle of the casse noix 2016 chardonnay which I was really impressed by. It’s fruity (peach and pear) and buttery sensation was a fine accompaniment to our fish and seafood meal.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

To finish we ordered a very creamy and nutty scoop of the black sesame ice cream to share. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this ice cream but it was sensational and I would have had one to myself had I not been so full. A brilliant end to a fabulous dinner packed with lots of surprises.

KANPAI RESTAURANT REVIEW EDINBURGH

To finish we ordered a very creamy and nutty scoop of the black sesame ice cream to share. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this ice cream but it was sensational and I would have had one to myself had I not been so full. A brilliant end to a fabulous dinner packed with lots of surprises.

Kanpai
8-10 Grindlay St,
Edinburgh
EH3 9AS

Bookings: +44(0)131 228 1602