Hello Kuku, Pleased to eat you
Cast your minds back to the mayhem of Christmas. Whilst we were all gorging on stilton and cocktail sausages and tottering out of bars a little bit piddled after the work Christmas do (I saw you), something pretty special happened in Plymouth; a brand new sushi and Japanese restaurant quietly opened its doors, limbering up, ready to do a number on us all come “healthy season”.
Fast forward to Feb and Kuku has elbowed its way to the top of people’s must-visit lists and provided some new energy about town. And jeez, were we ready for it.
Personally, I’m not big on sushi (hey, don’t judge!) but I recently dug deep and took myself along for lunch so I could give you the Muddy heads-up.
First to note is how refreshing it is to find a new restaurant right in the centre of town. Kuku is a just a few streets across from Royal Parade in one of the smarter-looking old listed buildings. Tis true, there’s a hell of a lot of water surrounding Plymouth, making it all too tempting to set up shop on the Barbican or the Royal William Yard, for the view. And let’s face it, the city isn’t the most beautiful post-war construction we’ve ever seen. But what that means is that, apart from one or two exceptions, there isn’t really a spot to easily retreat to on foot after a day of shopping. Hey, now there is! And the whole prospect is made all the more tempting by the early evening set menu and rather fab champagne and cocktail bar. You can unwind with a drink and some sushi for a mere tenner.
I really liked the interior, simple with quite muted grey and earthy tones, lots of wood, brushed gold and waiters in braces gliding up and down. It feels smart and, *whispers* sexy, and not like anything I’ve seen before in Plymouth. For a Wednesday early doors lunchtime, there was a little buzz about the place. Business types clearly out to impress their clients; shoppers eeking out the last pickings of the sales and me, ready to eat my own hand after naughtily skipping breakfast.
And so to the menu, rather big and a teeny bit daunting for a non-sushi eater. Happily, my server would have pulled up a pew and walked me through it, dish by dish. But there was a very decent set menu for me to make my choices from (a main and a side for £9). I felt a bit of a wuss for wimping out of the sushi, which would have been a dream to photograph for you, Muddies, but there was actually plenty more to choose from and, with a bit of a hangover, I just needed a big plate of fat noodles.
Well, I got them. But first came a delicate and delicious plate of seared scallops with a ginger and yuzu dressing, served on a melty bed of shredded filo pastry.
And then came the enormous chicken yaki-soba. I was very impressed indeed, with the flavours, the presentation and the service.
As I was with the whole set-up, actually, though I’m not surprised. The people behind Kuku know what they’re doing and they should know what Plymouth wants. As the owners of the waterside casual dining spot The Dock at King Point Marina and the more secluded Mission restaurant, this is a family who are moving with the times, which they need to be doing, because times are a-changing in this city.
Kuku is just what Plymouth needs, a glam city restaurant, taking advantage of its coastal location, with a fresh and contemporary take on using the catch of the day (and the sushi did look fab, by the way!). I’d highly recommend it for a glass of the fizzy stuff, a natter with some girlfriends and the chance to try something a little different. It’s a vigorous Muddy nod from me!
Kuku, 19 Princess Street, Plymouth, PL1 2EU. kukuplymouth.co.uk, Tel: 01752 255579