Last weekend I ate probably the best vegetarian meal I’ve ever had at a restaurant. And no, that isn’t overstating it. This cosy yet modern Japanese restaurant is killing it in every way! From birthday treats, a vegan & vegetarian menu to skilful sushi, Koko has got it spot on.
We have been to Koko, on Ecclesall Road Sheffield, once before when we were still meat and fish eaters. Augustinas is a huge sushi and Japanese food fan, but hasn’t had chance to eat any since we’ve transitioned to a veggie diet. So with his birthday looming and his family coming over to visit, I thought I would book us all a table at this Japanese gem for a special birthday dinner.
I thought it would be great for all, as they had options that would keep everyone happy (we could choose from an entire vegan/veggie menu!). But what I wasn’t expecting was how special they made the evening for us. I had let them know that it was a birthday surprise and they organised complimentary prosecco 🥂 and brought a gorgeous starter plate with ‘Happy Birthday’ written across it. Nice touch.
Stylish, Cosy and Modern
The space isn’t big at Koko and everything is very chic, stylish yet warm. The tables are close to one another and when it is full there is atmosphere without it being noisy or annoying. The staff were really attentive and nothing was too much for them.
The only thing that we didn’t love was that if you are sat closer to the bar, you can see into the kitchen and behind the bar, which looked a little untidy. I think if you can see into the space where the chefs are cooking, it has to look as pristine as the rest of the restaurant. Try and get the front table by the window if you can – that is much more romantic!
Sushi & Noodles
Options for everyone
Between the five of us, we had a variety of options from the menu. We had:
- The Midori vegetarian sushi platter – 18 pieces for £16 (vegan or vegetarian option)
- Yodofu – a hot bowl of tofu in an aubergine sauce and choice of rice or noodles. £16 (vegan or vegetarian option)
- The Koko sushi platter – 19 pieces for £19.50
- The grilled pork steak main with choice of rice or noodles. £18
The sushi, both the vegetarian and fish platters, were presented beautifully. It really is a visual treat as well as a foodie one. You get an amazing selection of fillings and ingredients. And you’ll definitely be full after eating 19 pieces of sushi!
All the platters were empty by the end of the evening, which I can only take to be a good sign. Asta, Augustinas’ sister, said that the fish could have felt a little fresher, but that was the only slight complaint. Everything else was brilliantly made.
Just look at the vibrant colours! With the Koko platter you get salmon, avocado, cucumber, tuna, prawn, seabass and much more.
The meat mains are a great option for those who aren’t quite as inclined towards sushi. Again, the presentation was great and the food was flavoured well.
And now, last but not least! My tofu dish. Seriously, even if you don’t like tofu, you’ll love this. Everyone round the table tried it and said it was definitely the dish of the night.
The tofu itself had a crispy skin but was soft inside. The creamy aubergine sauce was silken and salty and packed full of flavour. The udon noodles were coated in some smoky, spicy sauce that contrasted the creaminess of the aubergine sauce. Holy crap, I’m hungry even just writing about it. I want to go back and eat it again! The plate itself looked simple but every aspect of the meal had such a depth of flavour. We loved it – well done Koko.
A surprisingly good place for a birthday meal. They really spoiled us and made the night special for Augustinas, which I greatly appreciated. For fish-eaters and vegans/vegetarians alike, this place will leave you full, happy and wanting to come back again soon. Best tofu and noodles ever.
Review of Koko, 503 Ecclesall Road, S11 8PR