Well, this was a surprise, and what a lovely one. Not often you can say that in these times of over-priced and under-achieving restaurants. YUU Kitchen is a little beacon of delicious accessibility.
This casual restaurant is just around the corner from Aldgate East Underground station, so within easy reach of most of Central London. It’s a vision of Japanese Anime-style walls, high tables and kitchen counter. One can watch chefs grilling and garnishing while one enjoys a cocktail and pores over the menu, which is pan-Asian with a focus on Pinoy cuisine. That’s the food of the Philippines and its trending right now in both London and New York.
YUU Kitchen serves small but perfect plates of dishes that might well be new to some diners. They are a thoughtful collection offering something for almost every taste. There are vibrant flavours, comforting textures, and all at reasonable prices.
Spicy Tuna Tostada was a crispy tortilla topped with fish, pickled radish, spring onion and spicy mayo and just right as a partner for a calamanci lime cocktail. But for those who fancy a more substantial bite with their beverage of choice then the signature Crispy Soft-Shell Crab with wasabi mayo, lettuce, red onion and radish pickle has got to be the first order. This is a classic, and a vision of fluffy indulgence at the end of a long workday. In fact, YUU Kitchen is the perfect spot to meet friends and colleagues and share food.
A culinary lexicon which is only now being noticed in the West
Bistek and Sisig are both traditional Filipino dishes, served here as small tasters of full-on flavour from a culinary lexicon which is only now being noticed in the West. Cheese Ube Puto will be recognised, even at a distance, by anyone from that string of islands. The bright purple steamed bun is made of a purple yam which is often found in desserts, too. Here it is made into a miniature sandwich filled with chorizo Bilbao, caramelised onion, avocado and garlic aioli. Delicious and moreish. A must-try at YUU Kitchen.
Grilled Broccoli here is outstanding. Yes, I know, that must sound like some kind of sales pitch from someone trying to shift a truck-load of this oft-abused green vegetable. This really is worth ordering: the char from the grill adds so much to both the flavour and the texture. It’s a perfect partner to the celebrated (it is now) Lechon Kawali. This 12-hour-braised pork belly is rich and melting with enticing aroma. This is a real show-stopper.
Great interaction from the serving staff
YUU Kitchen has a bill of fare stuffed with savoury temptations. I have tried just a small selection of them and none turned up short of the mark. The chefs here are skilled and lots of fun, the ambiance is friendly and there is great interaction from the serving staff. Do I have a complaint? Yes! Why don’t they serve those Crispy Pig’s Ears in buckets instead of mugs? The three-hour slow-cooked pig’s ears with honey soy glaze are for which to die. Sure, go ahead and enjoy those other dishes to share, but have a portion of these to eat alone. A delightful evening can come to such an acrimonious end when one begrudges one’s companion the last morsel of porcine crunch. Order the extra mug and then there might still be some chance of a future together.
YUU Kitchen has a convenient location, a well-priced menu and a long and successful future on its culinary horizon.
Monday and Tuesday:
Closed for lunch. Dinner 17.30 till late
Wednesday to Friday:
12noon till 14:30. Dinner 17.30 till late
12noon till 16:00. Dinner 17.30 till late
29 Commercial Street
Nearest Tube: Aldgate East
Phone: 020 7377 0411