A fusion of Japanese and Hawaiian food at new Lancaster restaurant

Koko, the new Japanese restaurant in Common Garden Street, Lancaster
Koko, the new Japanese restaurant in Common Garden Street, Lancaster

Lancaster’s newest restaurant has brought with it a unique fusion of exotic tastes unlike anything seen before in the city.

Koko, in Common Garden Street, describes itself as a ‘fast, casual eatery’ which specialises in Japanese and Hawaiian cuisine.

The downstairs area at Koko in Lancaster.

The downstairs area at Koko in Lancaster.

The restaurant was opened last month by business partners Kumiko Hotta and Eveline Houlden.

Kumiko is Japanese but has lived in Lancaster for 13 years, while Eveline is from Indonesia, and has lived in Lancaster for six years.

Kumiko said: “We wanted something quite casual, somewhere for people to come after school or before the theatre.

“We want it to be relaxed, rather than somewhere where people feel they have to dress up to come out to eat.

The upstairs dining area at Koko.

The upstairs dining area at Koko.

“We didn’t want something which was too Japanese-looking, but something quite modern looking.”

Kumiko describes the restaurant as offering a fusion of tastes.

“My background is mostly in sushi so the Hawaiian food is a new experience for me,” she said. “But when we tried it we decided it was something that people in Lancaster would want.

“It’s something different for Lancaster and we hope people will like it.”

The Mochiko chicken curry at Koko.

The Mochiko chicken curry at Koko.

A large focus of Koko is the traditional Hawaiian Poke dish.

Poke (pronounced as poh-kay) is the Hawaiian verb for ‘section’ or ‘to slice or cut’.

A traditional Poke dish is essentially deconstructed sushi, and usually includes a bed of rice along with a selection of protein, vegetables, toppings and sauce.

At Koko there’s a wide choice of options to pick when you make up your own Poke (which comes in two sizes), starting with rice or noodles, followed by a layer of (mostly salad or vegetable) toppings, protein (fish, chicken, tofu and halloumi) and sauces.

One of the large Poke bowls at Koko.

One of the large Poke bowls at Koko.

It’s a healthy and filling way of eating, and the bowls are huge!

Main dishes on the Koko menu include a selection of Japanese curries and hot donburi – simple one-bowl meals with meat and vegetable toppings.

Finger bites include chicken dumplings, chips, miso soup and seaweed salad.

There’s also a set menu list for those who either can’t decide or want to share.

Prices are more than reasonable, with Poke costing £7.95 or £9.95 depending on bowl size, while the curries and donburi are up to £9.95. Set menus are only a few pounds more.

Koko is open Monday to Saturday, 11am until 9pm.