Bao Buns at Yuu Kitchen, London*
Whenever I’m dining out (a.k.a always, ‘cause have you tried my cooking??) I try to visit somewhere new and, ideally, independent. So with an open invite to the newly opened Yuu Kitchen, I grabbed my gal Karis from Shy, Strange, Manic and headed to check it out. A nosey at the menu was enough to get me dreaming of bao buns and satay skewers. It’s full of small plates meant for sharing, so you can try a bit of everything, which is handy when everything looks and smells so blooming good…
The venue itself is split into bar and table seating, with the walls covered in quirky comic book art – a nod to their South-East Asian influence. The menu is split into six sections, so we started off with one from each, then ordered extra plates for good measure. The team at Yuu are happy for you to order a few plates and see how you get on, then order more later (trust me, you’ll want to). Start off with the Pork Chicharron to nibble on. A cross between prawn crackers and crackling, they pop when dipped it into the fiery chilli sauce – the chef recommends holding them in for a few extra seconds and it really does add another layer of depth to the flavour.
Catching up with the owners, Stephen and Jon (the head chef), we got a great insight into the concept behind the place and the dishes, with recipes inspired by Jon’s Filipino mother (who sounds like a seriously sassy lady). There are plenty of bao buns on the menu and you simply must try them. They really are special; delicate, fluffy buns encasing blooming delicious fillings like twice cooked 7up braised pork belly and soy & buttermilk crispy chicken. The pork bun was easily the best I’ve had in the UK.
After recommendations from just about everyone and the owner pretty much offering to pay for anyones dish if they weren’t impressed, we tried the sweet and sticky aubergine… No matter how delicious you think it might be, times it by a million and you’ll start getting close to how good it was.
Despite the relaxed dining set-up, the service was incredible attentive. I love an open kitchen vibe too and the bar seating gave us a great view of what to expect. The chicken skewers arrived, swimming in rich satay sauce and sprinkled with chopped peanuts. We tried the beef skewers too, which came with a soy glaze. I wasn’t sure how these would compete with the incredible chicken satay but I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite between the two – so order both, obviously. I really wish we had room for dessert but we were just too full of food and fizz.
Thanks to Jon, Stephen and the staff for a wonderful evening.
Yuu Kitchen is on Commercial Street, E1 6NE. I was invited to taste and review the menu. All opinions are my own.