Ukkō: The Hottest New Spot to Add to Your Eat-Out List in Jozi
Ukkō is a welcomed new addition to the Nicolway Bryanston’s Restaurant Strip. Offering Tapas, Sushi, Wine and Mixology Bar. Ukkō, is a stylish Mediterranean restaurant that brings a sense of tranquillity and style to the upmarket Bryanston suburb, through its calming and natural elements and design. Mun Manal is a seasoned restauranteur, he developed this restaurant as his most recent solo venture. He previously operated Mezepoli and Plaka Group and has over two decades worth of experience in the restaurant industry. The name Ukkō was inspired by the word ‘’Ukkonen’’, a Finnish mythology referencing the god of the sky, thunder, weather, and harvest.
In the same mythology, people would come together to consume food and alcoholic beverages as a sacrifice. This celebratory tradition was believed to guarantee good weather and harvest for the year ahead. The emblem which is an “anchor looking hammer” represents the weapon Ukkō used to strike lightening. The restaurant promises an exclusive dining and culinary experience, with memorable service and a perfectly balanced tapas style offering. All dishes are prepared with quality ingredients, meticulously put together to deliver mouth-watering flavours, paired with the finest South African wines and crafted cocktails. Once your drink order has been taken, you’re served complimentary edamame beans as a delicious start to the dining experience. They are lightly seasoned with salt and chili and they’re delicious.
We recommend dining meze style, as there’s a range of tapas and we know you’ll want to try a range of dishes and flavours. Menage reviewed this restaurant, and this is what we thought below. We started off our date night evening with an Onion bloom (R55). This dish tasted like a delectable, giant, deep-fried and well spiced onion ring. This dish was seasoned with lemon & paprika. It came with a wasabi aioli that complimented the onion well. This dish was quite big and rich, so it can definitely be shared. Warning, it’s very moreish.
Moving on to the fresh mussels (R95). These were steamed in a white wine, tomato, and herb sauce. To be honest, we aren’t usually fans of mussels cooked in a tomato-based sauce, however this specific recipe was absolutely delicious. Very different to what we’ve tasted before. This dish was distinctive, and we highly recommend you try it out. We would’ve licked our bowls if we weren’t out in public – that’s how good this sauce was. This tapa was a generous portion size and great value for money. The dish was rich and bursting with flavour. It would’ve gone well with a citrus based cocktail or mocktail, to cut through the acidity of the tomato-based sauce. Honestly, I could’ve eaten this as a main.
Next up were the beef riblets (R85). These were lightly basted, juicy, not too fatty, and had loads of flavour. A fan favourite for meat lovers. We tried the squid heads (R90). These were deep fried and lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and paired with a wasabi aioli. This was a little rich considering the onion bloom was also deep fried, so I would recommend having one and not both on the same evening. When we go back again, we will pair the squid heads with some sushi dishes for a well-balanced tapas experience. To finish off the evening we enjoyed a baked chocolate (R75). This was so simple, yet it was one of the best desserts we’ve experienced of late. This was a Lindt chocolate fondant, with vanilla ice cream & berries. It was scrumptious and baked to perfection. The interior was soft and gooey, and the smooth Lindt chocolate, gently flowed out of the centre, which was soft, yet a little crisp. We could’ve had four of these to ourselves.
Some acknowledgements must be given to the staff, who were unbelievably well trained and knowledgeable about the menu. All waiters and waitresses that we encountered that evening were well mannered, fast, and attentive. An empty glass, or dish, didn’t sit on our plate for longer than 60 seconds before it was swiftly removed from our space. We felt like VIP’s all night long. And honestly, that’s the experience that you want to have, when dining out in this upmarket part of town. The food was delivered expeditiously which was an unexpected surprise!
If these offerings are not what you would usually order, then consider the signature Mediterr-asian Raw Bar. Offering Salmon, Tuna and Beef as a Crudo, as well as Tataki, and Peruvian Ceviche. The Tapas style serving is a focal point, and is well-crafted to cater for all pallets, through extensive offerings of Mediterranean small dishes. Such as Fish and Prawn Croquette, and Roasted Bone Marrow Pangrattat. Asian influence dictates the Sushi offering on the menu with a modern twist, teriyaki brushed, ponzu drenched and torch seared finish. At the mixology bar lookout for the signature cocktails. there’s the aptly named Akka (female deity of Ukkō), featuring vodka, strawberry and rose essence and lime, as well as Ether (God of Air) featuring Gin, Fresh passionfruit, elderflower, prosecco, and aromatic bitters. The restaurant’s interior has a modern Med-Asian feel, with warm wood tones and natural stone finishes, in a relaxed setting, giving the space a cosy yet trendy feel that transports you to a tranquil space. Ukkō is the perfect place to share the simple joy of great food with family and friends.