Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Coo, lumme!

Coo is a little Japanese restaurant on East Row, up the London Circuit end. It's run by the same people as Iori, and they seem to have maintained their tradition of hiring sweet, friendly but vaguely confused Japanese students as staff. They also share a website - here is Coo's section.

The routine here at lunchtime is that you rock up to the front counter, order and pay. The menu is posted all over the wall, and there's a lot more to choose than is shown on their website's lunch menu. You can have your lunch to take away, or eat in with no price difference. If you choose to eat in, you then go through the curtain, clutching a card with your table number, and also any bits of your lunch that have come out of the cold storage at the front. Behind the curtain there's a lot of small tables, a licensed bar with sake and Japanese beer and some odd fruity slushy mocktails. There's also more menu items on the wall, and a TV playing bizarre Japanese shows - while we were there it was Tokyo shock boys, pretty autumn travelogues, and sumo wrestling.

The sushi and sashimi plate ($8.50) is the normal variety you'd get from many a takeaway place. Tuna, salmon, some white fish, a couple of cucumber rolls, a cooked prawn, a piece of California roll. It was all good, and to my surprise a small cup of light green tea and a styrofoam cup of white miso soup turned up to accompany it. My friend had a white pork noodle soup - there are many to choose from, with ramen, udon or soba and a bewildering variety of stocks and accompaniments. To add to the difficulty of choice, you can have combos - a half serve of soup and something else like a tonkatsu, tempura, or sushi selection. Large bento boxes, whether eat in or take away, run at about $12.

The food is very good, and the lunchtime service very quick. We will definitely be back for more. I'm pleased about this, as I love Japanese food. Last year, when they had recently opened, we had a bad evening with ridiculously slow service. We tried to grab a quick bite of sushi before a show, but nothing arrived for 45 minutes! I can now hope that this was just teething pains - this lunch experience bodes very well.

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