Today we are speaking with restaurateur Alex de Pommes from Yuu Kitchen, the popular and highly rated Asian fusion restaurant from Whitechapel.

Alex, welcome… tell us about Yuu Kitchen what can diners expect?

Pan Asian tapas style dishes served informally as Wagamama but with the quality of Nobu. I think having one of the owners (Jon de Villa) as a head Chef who comes from Australia with a Filipino mother and Nobo experience says it all. Our eating environment is chilled out and the food delicious and affordable.

You recently opened Yuu Kitchen at ICE BAR London in Mayfair, tell us about that?

A match made in heaven. ICE BAR has been established in Mayfair London for 15 years and famous for its iconic ice designs and Yuu Kitchen has now been established in East London for 3 years and is already ranked 75 out of 20,000 restaurants. No better place for a one stop night out. Its all about giving the customers the ultimate experience; visual with the ICE BAR experience on the ground floor and culinary with dining at Yuu in the basement.

We are very proud and excited to show off the interior which has been designed by the famous Hong Kong street artist ‘Lunatic’ with the centre piece being a 25 foot long back lit dragon mural.

So you have not moved into frozen foods then?

Well, not as a general rule but if you don’t ask you don’t get. Recently a private party of 60 in the ICE BAR requested if Yuu could provide food-not in the basement restaurant but actually in the ICE BAR. Queue Jon de Villa-he took the entire cold section of the Yuu menu and presented it on crystal clear ice platters which was served waiters mingling around the guests in the ICE BAR. Absolutely surreal, an amazing effort.

What music do you like to listen to in your restaurants?

It’s important that the music doesn’t overtake the dining experience and the type of music is important. Yuu stands for informal and quality. The playlist here is vast-think about all the easy listening quality classics of Motown for instance or the laid back lounge/bar music of Café del Mar, throw a bit of Pink Martini (the band not drink) and probably you see my thoughts – I hope!

Interesting, can you name your top 5 albums if forced to pick?

I need to skirt round this one a little. Even with my ‘preferred’ artists, there is not one album where I honestly want to listen to all the songs without skipping to another artist and then skipping again. So I want to give you my top 5 songs one from each decade starting from the 60’s and a brief reason for choosing. I would ask all your readers who need a ‘pick me up’ at the end of the day to listen to them all in a row. It’s a free recipe tonic from me to them.

1960’s – Day Dream Believer by the Monkees, a song that you simply can’t not sing to.

1970’s – Until You Come Back to Me by Aretha Franklin, so many to choose from in the 70’s but Aretha simply incredible and probably one artist whose albums I could nearly listen to in full.

1980’s – Careless Whisper by George Michael, well simply putting it, everlasting memory of my first proper snog at a party. From his cheesy days of Wham he developed into one of our best performers. I also had the pleasure of meeting George as he was a good friend of a good friend.

1990’s – Loaded by Primal Scream, surely the best driving track ever, you are holding the steering wheel and rocking your whole body, not mention a bloody good track.

2000’s – Song for Lovers by Richard Ashcroft, a lot of bad songs and one off artists in 2000’s but this one just slipped in bang on 2000 by a great artist formally of The Verve. Not many songs in this era I liked straight away but I did with this one and love hearing it.

there is not one album where I honestly want to listen to all the songs without skipping to another artist and then skipping again

Do you have a musical nemesis, who do you really not want playing to your customers?

Yes Rick Astley. Quick, next question.

If you could invite 5 artists for dinner at Yuu Kitchen who would they be?

  1. Kurt Cobain, a cool guy and  I would try  swap my jumper for his.
  2. Stevie Wonder, ask him how he learnt all those instruments.
  3. Luciano Pavarotti, saw a documentary film about him and he seemed such a nice humble guy wanting to make people laugh all the time. I was also ask him to knock out a couple of classics to the whole restaurant which would put us on the map globally.
  4. Mick Jagger, a localish lad who would no doubt tell all his mates about the brilliant food.
  5. Amy Winehouse, needed to have at least one woman and a pretty good choice I feel.

What is coming up next for you?

Tonight is a big night for us with a Halloween White Party at ICE BAR. We have a 7 foot tall White Walker trapped in the -5º bar and are looking forward to receiving scared customers once they escape the bar!

Please may you recommend a track for our playlist?

About The Author

David Farrer

David Farrer

David is the founder of EAT HEAR and co-founder of food and drink communications agency Fourteen Ten. Previous to launching a food and drink agency David spent a decade working in music publicity and had the idea for EAT HEAR in the notion that music and food, arguably the most important things in life, should be explored together.

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