I should KOKO
Exposed food blogger Pickled Pair checks out KOKO Japanese restaurant.
New kid on the Sheffield block, KOKO on Ecclesall Road, is well worth a visit.
I felt compelled to give KOKO a try for a few reasons – it’s an independent on a strip of Eccy Road dominated by chains; they get their fish from my favourite fishmonger (JH Manns on Sharrow Vale Road); and some customers in Porterbrook Deli recently told me what a great lunch they had.
We called in fairly early on a Saturday evening and were pleased to see plenty of tables already reserved. A good sign. It’s not a big place – room for 28 to eat – but the tables aren’t jammed in and the decor is simple, stylish modern Oriental. The plates are nice. You get proper chopsticks. And their wall art is a splendid display of Japanese whiskies.
The sushi and sashimi are excellent – beautifully presented, fresh as you like, with a fiery wasabi and some tasty pickled ginger on the side. I’d come again for them alone.
Salad was good, really enjoyed the pickled beans. Miso soup was salty-savoury (reminiscent of the flasks of Oxo my Ma used to pack us off with as kids). The tempura was nice – prawns and pepper excellent, aubergine a bit on the chunky side, and the squid was tasty but ever so slightly chewy. Lovely dipping sauce to go with it.
Being greedy, we also ordered the miso pork to share. Whilst it lacked the finesse of the other dishes, that didn’t prevent Mr D from polishing the whole lot off.
Quantities are definitely more Northern than East – the mixed sushi plate would be ample for two for lunch.
Service was excellent. Don’t be fooled by the sweetness – this girl knew exactly what was on the menu, food and drink. I like that. And even the chef gave a friendly wave and smile. Quite charming.
We’d over-ordered so not even we could manage Yee’s green tea ice-cream (a first for Mr D as puddings figure high on his Feed-Me agenda). The bill came tucked in a silk purse with a little thank you written on it. Small touches which show someone is thinking about the experience (high on my Please-Me agenda).
So here’s the picky stuff
- A couple more cocktails wouldn’t go amiss – a grown-up Old Fashioned made with a Japanese Whisky and Sheffield Honey, maybe.
- I’d like to see suppliers on the menu, and when you are proudly using other independents, why wouldn’t you?
Would I go again? Yep, most certainly.