SUSHI-SOO JAPANESE RESTAURANT
By Virginia Chege
I am crazy about Korean food and when that crave came knocking, Sushi Soo Japanese Restaurant in Kileleshwa, along Oloitoktok Road became my pick for lunch on a Saturday afternoon. I have to say it was a pleasant experience. From the CBD it took about twenty minutes to get there. The restaurant is located in a serene environment, perfect for one to relax and take a breather. On arrival we were greeted by a kind waiter who then directed us to our table. It was around 1:00pm and most tables were fairly empty. Nonetheless the setup and décor, from the lamp shades to souvenirs lying on shelves, gave a welcoming Asian-feel. The soft music playing in the background allowed for light conversation as we went about our meal later.
The restaurant offers a wide variety of foods both Japanese and Korean, and at a fairly affordable price. The range starts from 700 Kenya shillings to around 6000 for family packages. We opted for the buffet since it offered a wide selection of Korean delicacies. One tray carried steamed rice with veggies accompanied by fried rice and eggs. Another held Kimbap (a rice roll with fried egg fillings, crab meat, radish, carrots and some greens, all wrapped in dried sea weed). This is a personal favorite given the many different textures offered in one bite, and its fluffy rice and crunchy vegetables. There was Tofu on a different tray, marinated in a sweet sauce, and then kimchi. Kimchi, a spicy pickled fermented cabbage is Korea’s national dish. Fun fact; a good number of Kenyans that dine at Sushi Soo tend to enjoy kimchi a lot, especially fried kimchi which is not that spicy. We tried out Bulgogi and it tested well. (Bulgogi is a dish of grilled and marinated thin beef slices) This one was made with vegetables and dipped in a sweet sauce; it might have been honey. We also tried some spicy potato pancakes and a variety of seafood. Japchae (Stir-fried noodles with vegetables) was on offer too.
Korean food is generally healthy by their way of incorporating vegetables into dishes. We dug into Korean styled chicken to boot, prepared in two forms: deep fried and battered, then in a sweet sticky sauce. It was so tender and juicy, but the sweet and sticky sauce was the winner. Generally, the meal was well put together but I would have appreciated if they had a wider selection of fruits. The dessert menu too was a bit slim; a slice of cake or some pastries would do well after such a great meal. One can also enjoy a gamut of fruit juices, smoothies, shakes, coffee drinks, teas and alcoholic beverages. Their lemonade is especially refreshing. It was a bit disappointing though that some of the waiters did not know much about the different foods on offer. This could be a bit discouraging for the new adventurous souls with the urge to find out more about the foods as opposed to just sitting pretty and minding their meals.
Having been in business for 7 years, the restaurant is gaining popularity among adventurous locals who are eager to try out different cuisines. As a result of this surge they have opened a new branch in Westlands. According to our waiter, Kenyan people lean towards Korean food because of its spicy nature. They especially relish the Korean barbeque and kimchi. Sushi Soo is a perfect fit for family get-togethers or group dinners owing to its wide space. With the mini playground in the yard, the kids will definitely have a great time. For reservations, one can call the hotline provided on their website. Smoking in the premises is prohibited and is punishable by a fine of fifty thousand Kenya shillings.
I was particularly impressed with their decision to have a mini store within the premises, stocked with Korean foods, snacks, beverages, cosmetics and souvenirs. At least in this way, diners can carry a little of their Korean experience home.
If you are looking for great Korean food in town, pass by Sushi Soo Japanese Restaurant any time between 11:30am and 10:00pm everyday.
Photos: Joshua Nyantika