190 Park Street
South Melbourne, VIC 3205
I had heard of KUU Cafe + Japanese Kitchen a long time ago, but it was only recently that I had managed to pay this little spot a visit.
Although I’ve always known KUU for having an intriguing, Japanese-inspired brunch menu, it was actually dinner that I came for, after deciding that salad is no longer an option for dinner in the recently descended Melbourne winter.
Set a little bit off the bustle of the main South Melbourne strip, KUU is as cute as a button with its whitewashed brick walls, fresh flowers, and wooden tables and chairs that wouldn’t look out of place in a primary school. The overall result is endlessly cute and endearing – an image helped along by our bubbly, enthusiastic waitress.
For those used to the kind of Japanese food you get in restaurants, KUU comes as a bit of a surprise. This restaurant, along with others such as BrimCC, serves up a more homely style of the cuisine we all know and love. The dishes are healthier and more balanced than your usual katsu curry, and often incorporates a bit of an international spin.
But first, Miso Soup ($4.5, large)! Served in a hefty, huggable bowl, this savoury and umami broth was a perfect antidote for the cold weather.
The Tsukune Chicken Balls ($15.5) made for a hearty meal. Although there was the option to have the meatballs with teriyaki sauce and a raw egg yolk, we decided to get them slathered in a mild tomato-based sauce, and topped with a grating of parmesan. Served alongside a mound of perfectly cooked brown rice and a crisp salad drizzled with beetroot dressing, this was simple yet satisfying.
The Teriyaki Salmon ($18) was exactly the same as the meatballs, except for, well, the salmon. And what a fine piece of salmon it was! Slightly brown and crispy at the bottom, yet pink and flaky all the way through, this was a delicious way to get your omega-3s. It was unfortunately on the smaller side, but it was made up for by the creamy scoop of mashed potatoes – if you ask me, anyway.
Despite not having overly amazing food, and prices a few dollars more expensive than what I’d expect to pay, I was rather taken with KUU cafe and its unique charm. With that said, I think the real drawcard of KUU lies in their daytime menu of trout ochazuke and matcha affogatos. Because after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Rating: 13/20 – too KUUte.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.