Cheap sushi, you say? Must be horrid.
Actually, no. Kulu Kulu (the Covent Garden branch anyway – there’s another in Soho and South Kensington), is a cheap place to eat AND does decent sushi.
Tucked away from the bustle of Neil Street and Long Acre, Kulu Kulu is hidden just off Endell Street on Shelton Street. With its strip lighting and bare decor, it doesn’t look very inviting. But then, looks can be deceiving. How many times have you gone to a fancy restaurant only for them to overfuss what should be a seemingly simple dish. Kulu Kulu is less slick, vibrant and in-your-face than places such as ‘Yo Sushi’, with subtly-patterned plates and a simple, pretty much non-existant menu – most of what’s on offer glides past at perfect nose height. Perhaps though, it doesn’t need all that brashness to tempt customers in.
I went on a Tuesday evening at around 8.30pm. About half the restaurant was filled. However, it was a good sign that fresh dishes were still being prepared. Kulu Kulu has all the typical dishes – miso soup, hand-roll prawn tempura, edamame (which is hard to get wrong), California futo-maki, unagi (eel sushi), and the usual tuna / salmon sashimi. Three dishes that particularly stood out were:
Inari – rice wrapped in fried bean curd. This was slightly sweet and by the time I got round to having a taste, the bean curd was clammy and cold. A bit like the texture of dead skin. Definitely recommend getting this one hot!
Nasu Dengaku – aubergine in soy bean sauce. Delightfully sticky, sweet and chewy. Probably one of my favourite Japanese dishes.
Teriyaki Chicken – chicken grilled in a sweet soy sauce marinade. The chicken was a little over-cooked but the teriyaki sauce was tangy which made up for it. One of the more filling dishes.
Prices range between £2 – £4 for little dishes with bowls of noodles available to order separately for between £8 – £10.
It’s not amazing, but it’s a great cheap eat for London and the food is well-prepared and fresh.
Top Tip: Get the seat closest to where the conveyor belt starts for all the freshest choices.
51-53 Shelton Street, London WC2H 9HE
Price: £26 for 2 with no alcohol
What to wear: Casual
Best for: A gossip with old friends after work
Best bit: Nasu dengaku & free green tea