Silom welcomes another ramen restaurant, this time from the Water Library group.
Boring and tasteless, KuKu is our least favorite place to go for a bowl of ramen around Silom.
Go to Ramentei, where the only thing better than the spicy tonkotsu is the massive, buttery curry. Go to Ippudo, where the mall setting is a small price to pay for that miso-and-garlic broth. Go to half a dozen other spots from Thaniya to Soi 6 that have more charm, tastier food and, since KuKu did away with its 3-for-1 beer deal, cheaper booze than this wannabe izakaya-meets-ramen joint from the Water Library Group.
The space has all the charm of somewhere dreamt up between marketing heads and some corporate interior design firm. It must have been a quick meeting. Water Library: “Ramen’s hot right now, we want to do ramen.” Design Firm: “OK.” Then, off they went, plucked the “izakaya” theme from a list of templates and, hey presto!, 150 sq meters of floor space were peppered with knowingly rickety blond-wood screens, red lanterns and menu posters bearing Japanese font.
Dishes start at around B150 and lunch sets from even less (B145), which makes it cheaper than most places in the neighborhood, and you can taste why. Their tonkotsu broth has the uniform appeal of Campbell’s soup, while the slices of pork are tough and tasteless. Then there’s the karaage (B110), which is like chewing on empty husks of batter. The fusion tomyum gyoza (B90) are actually the tastiest thing we’ve eaten in this place—something we never thought we’d hear ourselves say about any restaurant, ever. “Ask the staff for the chef’s special dessert,” reads the menu. “Finished,” says the staff. On our last visit, this was at 1pm.
Are we being too harsh here? Nothing at KuKu is exactly wrong or inedible, it’s just bland. And in an area where you’re basically tripping over charismatic, lively, tasty Japanese restaurants, that simply makes Kuku a nonsensical proposition. Redeeming features? The oolong tea’s quite nice (B35, free refill).
This review took place in July 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.