Former Nobu Chef Jon de Villa has added an exciting selection of Filipino favourites to the menu at Yuu Kitchen. Peter Morrell and his wife taste the new dishes
Yuu Kitchen was created by experienced restaurateurs, long-time friends from Australia, Stephen Lowe and Jon de Villa. Head Chef Jon’s menu is inspired by his travels across South-East Asia and his experience from Nobu London.
I have eaten in Yuu Kitchen before and the food was delicious so was interested to hear that Chef Jon has drawn on his heritage and introduced an inventive new range of Filipino dishes to the menu. Filipino or Pinoy food is regarded in the UK as one of the last culinary frontiers as little is know about the food from a country made up of more than 7500 islands and a population of 100 million. So visiting Yuu Kitchen again to try this new food was a must.
I was just as impressed with the décor as last time. Bold images on the walls created in collaboration with Hong Kong based artist, Lunatic have been strongly influenced from Manga, Asian fashion, comic-books and pop culture. On the ceiling there are quirky light fittings made from bird cages. The upbeat atmosphere of the artwork is reinforced by the large number of young, hip diners who were all having a great time. Judging by demand I would strongly recommend that you book in advance.
The introduction of the new menu has prompted the creation of two new Pinoy inspired cocktails, the rum based Drunk Calamansi, flavoured with calamansi juice, a citrus fruit native to the Philippines and the Pandan Fan featuring pandan syrup with rum and yuzu bitters.
The new menu looks highly exciting, we started with Sisig Lollipops made from pig’s head which had been braised for seven hours in pineapple juice. The meat had been minced, seasoned, made into balls and covered in panko breadcrumbs. This was an exceptional start, we enjoyed the very precise flavours which were enhanced with an adobo mayo dip and pork scratching dust as a condiment.
The next dish was a must try for me and I wasn’t disappointed, Crispy Pig’s Ears. They had been slow cooked for three hours, cut into strips and served in a honey soy glaze with pickled radish and chives. This was the a marriage of tastes, flavours and textures made in heaven.
The Bistek was steak served in a lemon soy sauce on a crispy rice cake. The meat was ultra tender with lots of flavour which, combined with the sauce, gave it a punchy taste.
With a nod to the Spanish history in the Philippines the next dish was Empanada. These little vegetarian pies with light pastry were filled with shitake mushroom, sweet potato and ancho chilli spiced veg, they were served with a pineapple salsa. They were delicately delicious.
Next up was the very inventive Cheese Ube Puto, this was a steamed bun with chorizo bilbao, caramelised onion, avocado and garlic aioli, rather like a mini burger. It was really something quite unique with the pillowy bun featuring a rainbow of taste sensations in between.
Our penultimate dish was Chicken Inasal, ancho grilled chicken thigh with a green papaya acharra sweet pickle. The chicken was moist and succulent with the spicy ancho and the sweet pickle providing a good contrast with each other.
The finale was Lechon Kawali, 12 hour braised pork belly with mama sita’s sauce. It had amazing crackling, was meltingly tender and so full of flavour, a fitting end to our journey of discovery into the new world of Filipino food.
As well as cocktails there is a good range of wines and beers. Beer and wine on draught is also available, my wife chose the white and I drank the red. These were both good quality Italian wines that worked well with the food.
There was an exotic range of desserts with temptations like Pandan Suman Malagkit, a glutinous rice and coconut milk cake served with coconut caramel and Rich Coconut Bread Cake with ice cream and cashews. I just had enough room for scoops of Nougat ice cream with a toasted coconut topping which was light and refreshing.
Chef Jon has done a great job in devising these new dishes which are an admirable showcase for the sheer diversity of new taste experiences offered by Pinoy food. It was a unique and memorable dining experience from every perspective.
29 Commercial Street
London, E1 6NE
020 7377 0411