Peter Morrell is highly impressed with this Spitalfields restaurant which serves a veritable feast of Pan-Asian flavours
As the City of London moves forever eastward so the demand for good restaurant in the newly developed areas grow. A restaurant that is well placed to meet this increasing demand is Yuu Kitchen. It’s just celebrated its first birthday and recently a friend and I had lunch there.
Yuu Kitchen is a stroll from Spitalfields Market, the Whitechapel Art Gallery and Aldgate East tube, so it’s close to East End attractions and transport links. The bright, airy dining space has a very contrasting décor with rustic high tables and chairs, and stunning modern Asian art on the walls which had been produced by a friend of the owner.
Many of the beers and wines on offer are conveniently on tap, so my friend started with the Yuu white and I had the Fubar, a craft beer. Although we could have chosen from an intriguing list of cocktails with an oriental twist and bottles of red, white or rose we happily drank our choices throughout the meal. My friend’s white wine was fresh and dry with fruity tones while my IPA style beer had strong floral aromas with subtle hints of spice.
The concept of Yuu Kitchen is to order a number of small plateseach and share them with your dining companions. The menu is split into categories offering Bites, Crunch, Grill and Wok, and Fish. Star billing goes to the house speciality bao, Taiwanese steamed buns filled with delicious fillings. The staff are very friendly and can talk you through the menu if any of the dishes are unfamiliar.
The recommendation is for each person to choose three or four dishes for sharing, we had three each. On the enthusiastic recommendation of our server we both chose a bao bun. Fillings of Waygu beef and soft shelled crab were tempting but we eventually had one pork and one chicken. Our other dishes were pork chicharron, Thai chicken larb, grilled duck hearts, and crispy rice and salmon.
The chicharron was perfectly puffed up pork scratching served with chilli and vinegar. The individual pieces had lots of flavour and a satisfying crunch. We then tried the crispy rice dish, this was crunchy little cakes topped with a mix of salmon and avocado and dressed with spicy jalapeno. These had some really punchy flavours and an interesting combination of textures.
The bao buns arrived and were everything that was promised, pillowy cloud like buns were folded and packed with intense flavours, One was filled with twice cooked 7UP braised pork belly with a BBQ sauce, cucumber pickles and peanuts. The other had soy and buttermilk crispy chicken with a Carolina reaper chilli sauce and daikon pickle. Both buns were delightful.
Our penultimate dish was another popular choice from the menu, the Thai larb. This was an aromatic salad of minced chicken with rice paper crisps and peanuts. Again the mix of tastes and textures was excellent. Our final dish, which had been a shot in the dark was the duck hearts. These had been grilled and had an intense flavour, they were accompanied by pickled red onion and a BBQ sauce and are now on the ‘must order again’ list.
Before finishing we had one last treat, although tempted by the ice cream bao, we shared a matcha semi freddo with cashew nuts, it was fresh and light and a fitting end to a highly enjoyable meal.
The semi freddo dessert was also a clue as to the nationality of chefs. The head chef is Asian but the sous chef, the second in command, is Italian. So two of the world’s greatest cuisines meet in the kitchen to create this unique and innovative food.
I can thoroughly recommend Yuu Kitchen, the service is friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed and the food is very different and extremely good. Why not consider Yuu Kitchen for your Christmas party, visit the website for details.
29 Commercial Street
London E1 6NE
020 7377 0411