Aldgate and Brick Lane has long been the preserve of curry houses but those days are quickly going. A short stroll from The City and Shoreditch, it’s no surprise that gentrification has come knocking with a raft of new eateries. Yuu Kitchen is the new kitchen on the block promising “the fun, and freshness of flavours of South-East Asia and the Pacific Rim.”
The team behind Yuu Kitchen, Jon de Villa – headchef and Stephen Lowe, general manager, are two old friends from Sydney with 20 years experience in London. Their track record includes stints at some of London’s hottest spots including Nobu, Zafferano and ICEBAR.
The interior inspo is graphic novels and mango pop-art. Lunatic, a Hong Kong based artist was commissioned to create the illustrations that grace the walls. There’s an open kitchen and the vibe is lively and fun. Yuu Kitchen is somewhere to hang out with friends or a for date where you won’t be pestered by the dude selling roses.
On to the food. Aussie chefs brought Pacific Rim fusion to our shores so I had high expectations. I adore the mix of fresh herbs and veggies, spicy yet light flavour-packed bites that dishes from that part of the world bring to the table.
The menu leans slightly to fish and seafood which suits me just fine. There’s a good selection of vegetarian options in all parts of the menu. You’ll have to check which are vegan and they’ll happily cater to any special dietary requirements.
Portion sizes are of the small plate variety that everywhere in London seems to serve these days. Three to four dishes per person is recommended and that was about right, even for a greedy guts like moi. Bites start from £3.50, plates are £5 – £8.
Stand out dishes flavourwise for me werethe BBQ octopus, marinated in sake and mirin and oh so tender, zero chewiness and the fresh ceviche-like poke. My pal described the chicken wings and BBQ ribs as “food heaven”. There were a couple of dishes which didn’t quite rock my taste world. The soft shell crab baos buns were suitably soft and fluffy but could have done with a teeny little more zing in the filling. The sticky eggplant, which is one of their star dishes and everyone in the known cosmos and the rest of my party loved, just dialled the sweetness a tiny bit too much for my savoury loving palate. Anywhere else I would have been perfectly satisfied but my expectations had been raised by everything else I tasted, I’m just being picky.
Overall the food was scrumptious, tastebud tantalising, foodgasm stuff. Just remembering my mouth is doing a happy dance. All in all I’d say “Yuum” to Yuu Kitchen! They’ve just updated the menu so I’ll be heading back to savour some new delights.
Yuu Kitchen, 29 Commercial St, London E1 6NE yuukitchen.com