Japanese restaurants have been crowding the scene in Amsterdam for many years now. It started with local Japanese restaurant here and there. The first Japanese restaurants here started as small local businesses in Amsterdam, mostly catering to Japanese expats. Sushi, teppanyaki, kushi, although expensive, you could be sure it was authentic. When the sushi trend started a decade ago, Japanese restaurants started popping up everywhere. They didn’t always serve the same level of quality of the authentic kitchens, but they were dirt-cheap (for Japanese food at least).
Ku Kitchen & Bar doesn’t belong to either but is instead sailing its own course. The restaurant serves a modern Japanese cuisine, often with a twist. Oysters are served with ponzu and spring onions, a fresh starter and delightful way to start any evening. In the sushi section we find the temari ball sushi trio, a dish that beautifully showcases the combination of east meets west. The trio consists of a salmon temari, torched slightly, with Japanese mayonaise and a scoop of caviar, a tuna temari, torched slightly, with jalapeño and saffron strings, an avocado temari with a crispy lotus root. Every temari as pleasing as the other.
The avocado, grilled on a Green Egg, and served with ponzu is another favorite of restaurant regulars. The sight of it alone makes your mouth water (it’s definitely Instagrammable). The dish doesn’t consist of many components but the charred streaks on the fruit, scooped up with a bit of ponzu send you straight to umami heaven. For meat lovers, the menu offers the King Ku burger, a hearty wagyu and beef burger in a rice flour bun, served with sweet potato chips (who doesn’t love sweet potato chips!).
In the mean time bartender and manager Hiro shakes you a mean cocktail. From a yuzu caipirinha to a sesame ice cream espresso martini, cocktails are mixed with a variety of sake, shochu, and plum wines. To top off the night, head over to the dessert section. Macarons may have ruled the world for some time now but it is slowly making way for the latest trend: eclairs. E’Clair sushi from the desserts section is a dish that features a vanilla eclair by My Little Patisserie, made with Madagascar vanilla and cheekily served in a sushi maki style.
Ku Kitchen & Bar is a cozy and unpretentious restaurant that celebrates food. You go here for new and interesting flavors and delicious cocktails. The site states that everything that leaves the kitchen is made with lots of love. Cheesy as it may be, in a world of mass-produced and consumed sushi, this may just be what we need.