How does a new restaurant in London shine when there are numerous new openings every week? Isn’t that the million dollar question?
One of the best ways is to knock their socks off with an interesting South East Asian menu and very well executed cooking. At Yuu Kitchen, they have delivered this with style.
The dining space is dominated by these enormous Manga art by Hong Based artist Lunatic, which tells a story BTW. There is a bar on the left which serves stylish cocktails, beer and sparkling wine on tap. There is of course a selection of good sake, like that you would find on Nobu’s menu. A long wooden bar seating overlooks the partly open kitchen. All the tables are bar height and seating is on high bar stools.
If you like to share in the thrills of the kitchen watching chefs prepare your food, sit here. It is also the best seat in the house if you are food geek like me. You get to spend the meal chatting to the chef about his recipes, his innovative menus and give him direct feedback on the dishes as you taste them.
Yuu Kitchen is a collaboration between Aussies, Jon de Villa and Stephen Lowe and backed by the founders of ICEBAR. Chef Jonny is a Filipino Aussie who has spent a long stint at Nobu and also Zafferano. His menu has been shaped by his food influences from his own culture and his training. You can’t call it any one nationality but sort of Asian based, and all our favourite flavours too.
He is adamant that his produce is sourced well from using the same fish suppliers as Nobu to getting the newly trendy Colbia (Google’s fish) fish from Panama. Essentially at Yuu, you are getting top quality fine dining food at casual dining prices. Jonny made us a plate of (off the menu) Sashimi Colbia which is his take on the popular Nobu Yellowtail Jalapeno. The fish has a great meaty texture which works well served as sashimi.
The small plates concept if great on a night out with friend and if you all like to lots of different dishes. Don’t expect big main course sized dishes. You would probably need about 4-5 dishes between 2 for a meal, depending on how hungry you are.
These are the dishes we had and I can highly recommend each one.
The Wok Fried Miso Aubergine as seen on many Japanese menus but done differently, it’s pan fried. The deep Miso flavour is truly addictive and only £5.50. My favourite dish of the night.
Especially loved that he put his Mum’s Adobo chicken wings on the menu and it is very good too. Sitcky, sweet and fragrant and not as vinegary as other Filipino Adobo I have tried. If yoou order the extra spicy chicken wings, spiked with Carolina Reapers, be prepared to cry.
The special Bao of the night was Steak (£5). Tender beef slices in the soft steamed buns. The twice cooked 7-up braised pork belly tender and addictive. Both terrific. There is a soft shell crab bao on the menu which we well try on our next visit.
Hawaiian Poke, loved the fresh flavours and the different textures of fish in the bowl, especially the addition of octopus. Although the chips were a bit redundant.
We also had the fish tostada which we could have skipped as our taste buds by then had been a bit overwhelmed by the preceding dishes.
As we were sitting in front of the 2 Big Green Eggs and kept smelling and seeing these racks of ribs being delivered, we ordered some too. The meat was falling off the bone as these ribs had been slowly braised in a master stock before grilling basted with the deeply flavoured signature sauce. (Note to self: must try making ribs like this next time.)
Ssam here is served in the form of spring rolls instead of a lettuce wrap. There is a choice of vegetable or chicken. Generous filling, crispy and fresh, served with a sauce. You can up the spice by adding some of the home made chilli oil.
Not one to be defeated, we had to have the grilled bananas with home made ice cream, which didn’t disappoint.
On the mid week night we were there, queues were at the door. Service was very effecient and friendly but there was a bit of a wait between dishes as they are suffering from their success by being understaffed. They are frantically recruiting to expand their team as I write. Since their opening a few short months ago, they have climbed the rankings to the top of TripAdvisor. No mean feat and well deserved too.
I hope Chef Jonny continues to innovate and keeps delivering the kind of food that he is serving at Yuu. There are plans to replicate Yuu Kitchen across London and I am looking forward to seeing that. Casual dining, approachable prices with dishes that will make you coming back for more. Worth queueing for.
London E1 6NE
Tel: 020 7377 0411
EatCookExplore was a guest of Yuu Kitchen