Pan Asian flavours find favour out East.
Unable to book a table at Yuu Kitchen (groups of 6 or more only), we felt confident that, arriving at 6.30 on a Monday, we’d be able to quickly secure a table.
Instead, we were told that if we returned in an hour, we might be able to get a table. As home was only 10 minutes away, E and I set off, somewhat frustrated that there was no text booking system or plain, old fashioned taking a number and calling. I should note, this was the last day of soft launch and the text system wasn’t working but they will have one.
An hour later, the very efficient front of house seated us at the kitchen bar, I love sitting at the bar.
Our order was taken by one of the founders, Stephen, and he seemed slightly concerned we had ordered too much food. We removed one item and assured him we’d be fine. The menu is made up of lots of small plates, split into sections like raw, hot and grill.
And the food started coming, in fact, it all came very fast, too fast. A little pacing would have helped us immensely and stopped us looking like complete gluttons with the dishes piled around us at the counter.
From the bites, we had pork chicharron, something like the lovechild of a prawn cracker and a pork scratching.
The fried chicken wings were sweet, sticky and delicious.
Of the sides, we only tried the sweet potato fries, solely because I have a problem and can’t not order them. These were the only disappointment of all the dishes and the one thing I wouldn’t order again. The coating had a great flavour but they were soft.
Spicy tuna tostada came from the raw section, homemade tortilla chips piled with fresh tuna and spring onion in a creamy dressing. Excellent flavour and texture.
Next up, grill and wok where we had peanut chicken with house pickles. This was like chicken satay on speed. Incredibly moist, the punch of the peanut sauce rich and creamy. On this plate, the carrot pickle was really underwhelming and it would be great if it had more punch to offset the richness of the sauce.
The opposite can be said of the sweet soy, glazed beef with pickled red onion. This was, probably, my hero dish. Tender, juicy beef, a hint of sticky sweetness and brilliantly offset by the pickle.
In hot, we had the scallop, prawns and chive potstickers or dumplings. These were great; the wrapper nicely cooked and with a delicately flavoured filling.
Because we wanted to try as much as possible, we didn’t order from the large section but we couldn’t miss out on the boa. Ah boa, the KFC bucket for the hipster generation.
We went for crispy, softshell crab with wasabi mayo and house pickle. The mayo and pickles were excellent, as was the crab, but I can’t help but feel it all got a little lost in the thick, fluffy bun.
Twice cooked, 7up braised pork belly, smothered in BBQ sauce and cucumber pickles, melted in your mouth, just as it should.
Finally, the soy and buttermilk, crispy chicken with schezwan mayo and kimchi slaw was moreish with a lovely flavour of white pepper in the batter.
If we hadn’t had the fries, it was actually the perfect amount, if you were hungry and we were. With 50% off for soft launch, it was a very reasonable £35. At full price, however, that’s £70 for two, without booze, which feels like it’s starting to be a bit too expensive.
The lady who looked after us was brilliant and seemed to do a great job managing the dining room, but she told us she didn’t work there. Yes, we were confused too and assume she was helping out during soft launch. The staff were pleasant but not terribly efficient, water and bills were asked for several times before they arrived.
The space itself it very cool. I love anywhere you can sit at the bar and the food was great. Definitely recommend if you are in the area.