KOKORO opened up their latest branch on Exchange Walk in Nottingham recently serving Japanese hot food, sushi and snacks. They are located on the snicket between the Church and the Old Market Square about half way up and pretty easy to spot.
It might be unkind to describe them as a slightly posher version of other Asian takeout shops like Chopsticks but that was kind of the feeling I had when I walked in through the door to check them out
Anyway I do like a bit of Asian street food action and love anything sticky or spicy in a pot with rice and noodles so I had to pay them a few visits for takeout.
On the counter they have warming trays of all the hot food and you can select to have a bowlful with either rice or noodles.
Options included Chicken or Tofu Katsu Curry, Sweet & Sour Chicken, Sweet Chilli Chicken, Beef Bulgogi, Spicy Pork, Spicy Tofu, Spicy Chicken Curry, Salmon or Chicken Teriyakim and a Vegetable Yakisoba.
Soup noodle wise you could get udon noodles in broth with either Seafood, Chicken Katsu, Chicken Gyoza, or Kaki
So much to choose from, so here is just a taste of what we tried so far
SWEET CHILLI CHICKEN
First up was a portion of the SWEET CHILLI CHICKEN with rice described very simply as ‘Batter-fried chicken thigh mixed with sweet and chilli sauce‘ and to be honest that was a more accurate summary than the wordy prose on their website where they say the dish is “a beautiful balance of pleasantly sweet, savoury and succulent flavours with every bite”
SWEET CHILLI CHICKEN with rice
You do get a good portion, it’s more spicy than I expected, slightly sweet but the chicken is indeed tender and moist and most importantly to me nice and sticky. Essentially though it is a two note dish hot and sweet, the main joy being that texture of the batter coating on top of succulent chicken.
There is an option on the menu where you can mix two toppings together, I would suggest a half and half mix with the Sweet and Sour Chicken just to take some of the heat away as that would be a more pleasant eating experience.
CHICKEN KATSU CURRY WITH RICE
CHICKEN KATSU CURRY with rice is apparently one of their most popular items and I can see why. ‘Panko breaded chicken thigh paired with our exquisite curry sauce‘
When it comes to Japanese food this is a classic dish and one I often consider to be a gateway introduction meal tastes and textures familiar to most. There is nothing too scary here, crispy chicken with a safe rich thick curry sauce.
There was a really good portion of crispy fried chicken, very generous in my opinion, and a lot of that steamed jasmine rice. Once small criticism could be that there was perhaps too much in the pot as the rice quickly became a bit soggy and sticky. A big dollop of curry sauce helped to sort that situation out but thinking about it maybe serve the rice in a separate dish?
The accompanying pot of curry sauce was way more than I needed. Perhaps if you wanted to make a Katsu soup it was fine but really it was overkill. Not that I was complaining I was happy with it all, you could easily share this between two people
Whatever my slight gripes I liked it well enough and would happily munch my way through a few more bowls of this
CHICKEN GYOZA UDON
I do love any kind of noodle soup and I love dumplings so I was really hopeful when I saw that they had a Udon soup with gyoza on the menu.
First off the gyoza they were excellent soft delicate casing with a tasty well seasoned filling, I was sad to only get three dumplings as they were so good.
The udon broth within which they floated was lightly flavoured and quite eminently drinkable. It was just the thing for a cold day or one when you are slightly under the weather, did I say hungover? maybe those days too 🤣
The udon noodles were thick, like really thick, and had a strange grainy texture so I didn’t finish them all. I wanted to love them but I just couldn’t find it in my heart so in the end I have mixed thoughts on this dish
CHICKEN GYOZA SET
As the best part of the noodle soup were the dumplings I went back and just got a portion of gyoza and that worked out just fine for me. I was very happy with those on their own.
They had Chicken, Vegetable, and Shrimp as classic offerings and I picked Chicken purely as they were 5 gyoza in the portion as opposed to 4 for all the other flavours.
I did really like the dumpling and this is one that I most certainly would order again.
All in All this place seems like a decent spot for a bit of takeout Asian food. It seemed a bit pricey but the portions were quite large with plenty of rice as a filler in the pot.
I would be more careful with my orders in future now that I have tasted a few things.
Sticky chicken and Juicy Gyoza are likely to feature in my lunchtime plans if I pass by 🤣🤣
KOKORO are Located at 7-8 Exchange Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2 NX