Kloof Street’s restaurant scene got a boost of energy with the appearance of YUZU Kitchen & Bar, an inventive restaurant blending a myriad of foods from the Western and Eastern hemispheres. The restaurant was inspired by the vast adventures and cookery influences of Rikku Ó’Donnchü, the Michelin star trained chef who conceptualised and runs it.
Similar to its namesake Asian fruit, YUZU Kitchen & Bar breaks the barriers between artistic styles and cultures to bring forth a truly distinctive dining experience. Ideas for its decor were gathered by looking to Rikku’s passion for rock music and martial arts. The space’s fundamental design was based on that of a dojo, a room where various martial arts are learnt, to simultaneously allow for a cosy vibe and open environment. The tiles on the floor were collected from old dojos, and burnt by carrying out an old Japanese technique known as Shou Sugi Ban’d.
Other Japanese accents include an imported samurai sword, much like the one bought by actress Uma Thurman, from a sushi chef in the movie ‘Kill Bill’. The popular motion picture is the work of Quentin Tarantino, a director whose quotes are scattered all across the restaurant. Adding to its eclectic trimmings, is a beer dispenser crafted from previously fatal weapons, and abandoned lighting equipment from American merchants’ ships, which docked in Cape Town in the 1960s. Overall, YUZU Kitchen & Bar offers Instagram-worthy photo opportunities in every nook and cranny.
In spite of its striking aesthetic, its coup de maître is without a doubt, the irresitible food. The menu is reflective of the eatery’s lively yet relaxed atmosphere and under Rikku’s watchful eye, takes the concept of melding cultures to a whole new level. After being a part of the culinary team at Michelin star kitchens such as The French Laundry in the USA and Merchants in the UK, Rikku’s goal is rather straightforward. He strives to whip up meals so sumptuous, that they’ll make his patrons’ mouths water.
You can look forward to a broad selection of bold and flavourful foods like the ‘Danger Dumplings’, a sweet and sour pork treat infused with spices. The menu also features ‘Kung Fu Katsu’, a crispy chicken katsu burger dished up with wasabi mayo and chips. Not salivating yet? How about ‘That Ol’ Cow’, a sesame coated wagyu short rib with a whisky and molasses glaze, masala mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus? To honour South African heritage, tuck in to the ‘Snoek Maki Roll’, a pudding called ‘Jou Ma se Malva’ and the ‘Bain’s All-day Breakfast Shake’.
When Mondays – Thursdays 4:30 pm – 11 pm, Fridays 4:30 pm – 12:00 pm, Saturdays 12 am – 12 pm, Sundays 12 am – 11 pm
Where 75 Kloof Street, Gardens
Cost Sushi R50 – R156, Starters R39 – R79, Mains R95 – R199, Desserts R35 – R49
Contact +27 65 346 1792, yuzu.co.za
Photography Michael le Grange