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Kukoos Reviewed

Ruth Allan enjoys Oxford Road's standout 'streetfood' addition

Published on February 18th 2013.


Kukoos Reviewed
 

STREET food is to Sunday roasts what Bolt is to Farrah, all moreish little samosas, droolsome burgers and spicy noodles, perfect for popping in the mouth on the go.

Traditional South Indian dosas are a thrill, cooked to order on a round, pancake-style griddle plate as you wait 

Bars and cafes touting this trend have recently sprung up in the Northern Quarter alongside Manchester’s own streetfood fair, Guerrilla Eats, which takes place just opposite Salford Central Train station this coming weekend (@Guerrilla_Eats).

KukoosKukoos

The latest gang member is Kukoos, a new street food take away from revered Indian and Pakistani curry house, Zouk. But this time we're a mile or so south of the Northern Quarter on Oxford Road opposite the old BBC studios.

It’s a lively Lebanese/Moroccan/Indian takeout from a restaurant that’s famous for succulent lamb curries, fresh naans and sumptuous service. So they’re going a little off piste with menu of dosas, kebab-wraps, biyrianis, salads and pressed juices with an interior that breaks the design mould too. 

Kukooz

Down one wall, wooden blocks etch out patterns in oak and copper as a madly oversized bench runs the whole length. Lights that would look at home in Ian Simpson’s Beetham Tower penthouse swing serenely overhead. This is a takeaway as the W hotel chain might conceive it. Alice in Wonderland meets Mumbai we thought. Apparently Manchester's coolest interior designer Ferrious has been involved which explains a lot.

The man who had the idea for Kukoos is Mudassar Bashir, of Zouk. He's teamed up with chef John Farrer, latterly of Teacup, to deliver the new 'concept'. 

The boys, Bashir left, Farrer, rightBashir left, Farrer, right

Certainly, the traditional South Indian dosas are a thrill, cooked to order on a round, pancake-style griddle plate as you wait (£3). Made from fermented, ground lentil and rice batter, ours came stuffed with spiced potato curry and two chutneys. A rare tick for authenticity here, the thick, coconut and mint spread and soft, spiced carrot chutney were just as you’d find them in the deep southern Indian states.

Accompaniments were fresh and ungreasy, the pancake ever so slightly flaccid. My friend recommended Withington’s Dosa Express for a crispier slice, while others I have asked since will not be swayed from Sindhoor in Burnage (click here). I thought it was all grand, big earthy flavours and complementary textures. 

Wraps (£3 or £5 with salad) were mostly on the money too. The bread was that thick, kebab-house stuff. But as you’ll see from the pics, it was exceptional value with buckets of fresh, chilled and spicy salads to choose from.

Our spicy chickpeas with chilli, a smoky babganoush and fragrant red cabbage coleslaw were magic with the lamb, spiced spinach and hummus wrap. The tender hunks of meat reminded me of Zouk’s lamb schwarma and the cute wooden tray was a nice touch. There are none of those elephant doner legs at Kukoos either. 

Kukooz

Unfortunately, the Indian lemonade wasn’t so hot. We visited in January, shortly after opening, and I suspect that the salt and the sugar jars in the kitchen had not yet been labelled.

Cue one hell of a bitter purgative for £1.95. It was just one of those things though, as my pal’s just pressed apple juice (£1.95) was a marvel worthy of the most hardcore of yogi - and a fraction of the typical price. 

Overall, the only genuine bum note was a cauliflower and paneer wrap (£3) which was too much bready and not enough sauce. The situation was aggrevated by the fact that our meat samosas (£1 a piece) remained locked behind the glistening glass, eye balling us suggestively. I would have asked for them again but portions are a good size, and we were struggling to get through what we had. 

A month down the line opening kinks like effective order taking, an operational card machine and that all-important salt and pepper labelling will have hopefully been ironed out.

Kukooz

It could be an issue for the owners that Kukoos doesn’t look like your 'real Indian streetfood' deal. But authenticity is hard to pin down at the best of times (let alone during a horse meat crisis) and what you’ve got here is an imaginative takeaway, offering something more healthy and flavoursome than other like-minded joints in the area.

It's certainly very popular with Confidential people already, Schofield, fellow Confidential writer, and the editor, loves the place. Just as much as he loves Ashiana on Upper Chorlton Road in Old Trafford.

Certainly try it. Kukooz is a late night friend for the figure conscious, and very welcome. You suspect it will only get better. 

You can follow Ruth Allan on Twitter here @RuthAllan.

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE. 

Kukoos, 12 a Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 5QA Tel: 0161 236 7989. You can follow Kukooz here

Rating 14/20
Food 7/10 (dosa 7.5, lamb kebab 8, cauliflower and paneer kebab 6)
Service 3.5/5
Ambience 4/5

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

Kukooz

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

RobbsyFebruary 18th 2013.

I live pretty close and have been a few times - its OK and fair value (so often rammed at lunchtimes with studenty types) and I do like their samosas - mind you one of their falafels nearly choked me (dry and powdery - not great)

Overall its a better option than the nearby Greggs and a decent stab at something different.

DottyFebruary 18th 2013.

Ashiana only rated 2 for food hygiene .....not good!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 18th 2013.

This is a review of Kukoos you mug

Jonathan SchofieldFebruary 18th 2013.

Dotty, have you been waiting for the right moment to say this? 1) This is a review of Kukoos. 2) We've eaten twice a month in Ashiana for seven years and none of the family has been ill because of the food. Au contraire we've found it delicious. Unless you have evidence to the contrary I think bad-mouthing a business publically is bad form.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
GadgeFebruary 18th 2013.

Well Dotty didn't random choose the business, it is in the article. I've never been and I've no opinion either way but you would really expect a long-standing professional business to be hitting 4 & 5 regularly. And 2 is really rather rubbish.
Admittedly, I see, that Trafford Council visited at the end of March 2012, so hopefully they'll pass with flying colours at their surely imminent follow-up survey.
ratings.food.gov.uk/…/10…

StephFebruary 18th 2013.

Bloody hell Jonathan, calm down dear. What Dotty said was true. S/he hasn't bad-mouthed a business they've just reported a piece of information which is available on an official government website.

The confidential story about the police call outs where a load of bars were bad mouthed even though the trouble had nothing to do with them was bad form.

Poster BoyFebruary 18th 2013.

So now a 'takeaway' is being dressed up in the Emperor's New Clothes...

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 18th 2013.

Nah as the article hints the dress code is 'smelly student'

AnonymousFebruary 18th 2013.

Popped in the other lunchtime and most of the queueue was office workers and builders. It's a bit posher than your typical kebab shop/chippy. Mango and mint Lassie was sublime.

AnonymousFebruary 18th 2013.

Indian lemonade can be sweet or salty, or a mix of both - just back from Delhi where it became my favourite curry-taming drink!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Hero
Ruth AllanFebruary 19th 2013.

I'm with you Anon - but this was no regular salt load!

John EdwardsFebruary 19th 2013.

I for one look forward to checking it out. Zouk is the best spot in Manc for North Indian/Pakistani grub - shame they put the prices up quite a lot - but when it opened it was mega cheap! Anyway if this has the same standards as Zouk it will be a winner.

And as for the 'smelly student' quoting dickhead, Manc Uni goes from strength to strength both in terms of its research and league table position. It is a globally esteemed centre of learning and attracts some of the brightest young minds in the world. Oh and the first computer was invented there... So go fuck yourself, you knuckle dragging Paul Calf throwback!

Ps - I am an older proud Manc with no affiliation with the Uni!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 19th 2013.

Usually people who bring up the "smelly student" stereotype are the ones who were too thick to get into uni

MissMFebruary 19th 2013.

I have my lunch here every Friday and it's always spot on! Recommend the chicken biriyani for £4.50 and the wrap with meze (choice of 3 salads) for £5. So far everything I've tried has been delicious. Also tried a sample of the lemonade last time I was in and it was fab.

Mr NottyFebruary 19th 2013.

To continue the dosa discussion - another excellent bet is Chaat Cart, part of the Guerilla Eats group

Andrew MoorFebruary 21st 2013.

Thanks for bigging up students there JOHN EDWARDS. The city's students are one of its assets!! I'd add that MMU is every bit as good as Manch Uni, even if it's doing a slightly different job, with its students constantly praising the teaching there as the best in the north west of England. But this is a piece about Kukoos, where the lassi is indeed lovely!

MissMMarch 8th 2013.

What a shame - just been to Kukoos for my lunch and it appears the portion sizes have decreased DRAMATICALLY but the prices remain the same as before! Don't think I'll be continuing my Friday lunches here - no longer great value for money.

JonnybgudNovember 29th 2013.

Agree with MISSM my work colleagues and I have been going most Fridays for lunch as a weekly treat, I ordered a meal deal and the salad, that the previous week had come in a reasonable sized cardboard box, now suddenly comes in a miniature pot that fits in about 2 tablespoons of salad and the lamb shoulder and spinach wrap should have been called spinach wrap with a hint of lamb shoulder. If you have the Biriyani you have to ask them to fill it up, as they will fob you off with just over half a pot. Lovely food here, but the ever shrinking portion sizes at the same cost and the fact they are always trying to short you out on your already smaller portion have put me off. I'm not going back. A real shame, this is great food sold by a miser.

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