Kulu Kulu, London — best time for a group?
I'm planning to herd a small group of friends to Kulu Kulu, a conveyor belt sushi place on Brewer Street, on a Tuesday evening next month. I've not been there before, and I've heard it's pretty small. Would people recommend that I try to get everyone there earlyish (say 6:30pm) or lateish (say 8:30pm) for the best chance of avoiding the rush (and with any luck all being able to sit together)?
i think you will find that anytime at Kulu Kulu will be bad for a group ( unless you go just as they open)
It is tiny and there is little likelyhood of you being able to
a) all get in
b) sit together.
Kulu Kulu is not bad and I like popping in there for a snack, but hardly groundbreaking even in the limited terms on London's Kaiten offerings.
I have not eaten there for years, but Gilu Gulu on Monmouth St could be a better bet. It is larger, so you can take a group ( I think you can even book ) and they charge a set price offer of £13.95 which will avoid much of the "X ate twice as many Y as me why should I pay the same?" unpleasantness that spoils so many group meals.
Someone else will have to chime in and tell you if the food is up to scratch.
re: Simon Majumdar
Thanks for the reply. I chose Kulu Kulu because I'd heard it was one of the better conveyor belt sushi places in London, and wanted to see if this was true. I have tried Moshi Moshi (the Liverpool Street branch) and liked it a lot better than Yo Sushi. I've also tried Itsu (the Canary Wharf branch) and liked the cocktails but thought the sushi wasn't overly exciting (but I did quite like the scallops with beetroot salad).
I've been to Gili Gulu and thought the food was pretty awful. I only managed about four plates because the quality of the rice was so poor, which makes it rather less of a bargain.
Not sure what we'll be doing in terms of bistromathics, but I don't really want to make it be a major factor in the choice of venue.
They always used to open evenings but maybe only until 9pm so definitely worth giving them a call. Can't vouch for current quality but their best items were (and hopefully still are) some of their creative, "new style sashimi" offerings. Plus a green tea mousse I used to enjoy for dessert.
Btw l made it to Umu a few weeks back and have also checked out Sakana-Tei, Chisou, Edokko, Hiro, Donzoko, Soho Japan and Atari-Ya in recent weeks. I need to post separately with my findings and am getting a much better feel for the current London sushi scene.
If you're still looking for a place for great sushi and Japanese food in general, after a very long search including Kulu Kulu and having had the good fortune to visit Japan, I'd say Soho Japan (http://www.sohojapan.co.uk/) is the best we found (make sure you have the katsu temaki).
Not a converyor belt job but you will be able to get a booking for a group and it really does blow away the likes of Itsu and Yo! (after a visit there last month I swore never to go again...)
Plus they have an ace range of Sake!
jimmytee, you got there first with your rec for Soho Japan. It's very good and 70% Japanese clientele, always a good sign. It's actually more of an izakaya than a sushi bar but the sushi I tried was perfectly good (even if it was made by a Malaysian American, rather than a Japanese, sushi chef - he was actually a very nice guy and I had a good chat with him). I was also very pleased to see that they had chawanmushi with uni on their menu (it's normally made with prawns rather than sea urchin) and the egg custard part was very good although the uni wasn't great (Canadian variety not sweeter Santa Barbara or Hokkaido varieties). I had something else, I can't remember exactly what but that was good as well. Sake list and quality definitely impressive ("izakaya" roughly translates as "place to drink sake") and food and drink are well priced overall.
One other feature is that the venue used to be an Irish pub and they retained a lot of the pub features and decorative items. Hence the old bar has become the sushi counter. All in all gives the place plenty of character.
Thanks to all for the input on this. We went this evening and it worked out very well. After Simon's warning, I did make a Plan B, but it turned out not to be necessary. There were only four of us in the end; we got there shortly after 8pm, and only had to wait for about 10 minutes to be seated together.
No, the sushi was not unusually out-of-this-world, but I felt it had a lot more character than both Yo Sushi and Itsu. There was more interesting stuff, and a wider range. You do have to be quick to decide, sometimes — oysters came out at one point, and I thought "mm, oysters, will grab some of the next batch" because I already had a bit of a queue; needless to say, they didn't come out again while we were there. I like this, though; it makes it feel a lot less samey, a bit more of an adventure. I do wish they hadn't kept the salmon roe gunkan back until I was already full though; I love that stuff :)
I think the highlight for me was the deep-fried tofu with spring onions in a soy-based sauce. I wish I wasn't so easily sated, because I could happily have eaten more than the two plates of this that I actually managed. I also very much liked the seaweed with sesame seeds and chilli (actually, Bob picked this one out because he was curious to find out what it was — when he discovered it was seaweed, I stole it from him).
In summary: will go again. Liked it a lot. No, it's not somewhere for a romantic date, and they do have notices up stating that the maximum stay at busy times is 45 minutes, but if you're after somewhere to get some interesting food with friends who live in disparate corners of London, you could do a lot worse.
Kulu Kulu Sushi
76 Brewer St, London, Greater London W1F 9, GB