Kuma Izakaya is located in Yaletown close to the Skytrain. They serve up Japanese and Korean dishes with a hint of French influence. At first it can seem confusing how all 3 types of cuisines would come together.
We were invited to try out their signature dishes and learn more about the restaurant and their chef/owner – Hyun Woo Kim.
Chef Kim has worked at various restaurants around the world like The French Laundry in Napa Valley, the prestigious 3 Michelin star restaurant. You can see this influence penetrate the menu with French, Japanese and Korean.
The interior is pretty nice and cozy with a dark feel. They also have a patio so you can eat outside during the nice Summers. I can see this place bring very popular during that late evenings as they have a good range of Korean liquors.
They have soju imported from South Korea, which is awesome since it’s hard to find the flavoured soju bottles.
Their flavours include:
My friends and I love finding restaurants in downtown with flavoured soju, its pretty hard to find because it gets sold out quite easily. I know I’ll definitely be back for these flavoured sojus.
They also have peach makgeolli, which is a flavoured rice wine. Also really good. It makes it super easy to drink.
Kuma Salad with Tomatoes was piled up high and presented nicely. A good use of different textures in this salad.
Kuma Signature Salad has fresh greens topped with sliced avocado, sliced tomato, pickles, house-made ricotta cheese, and crispy yam. It is drizzled with balsamic and house dressing.
Mango Ebimayo comes with 5 pieces of the deep-fried prawns with mango sauce. The mango added a bit of sweetness to it. You should eat it right away as it loses its crunch quite quickly due to the sauce.
Crispy Chicken has crispy deep-fried boneless chicken with pan-fried veggies and a Korean-style sauce. A good dish for sharing among friends. With all the sauce in this dish, the skin wasn’t as crisp when it arrived on the table.
Osso Buco uses premium AAA beef ribs simmered in house made soy sauce. It is also served with rice.
They also have it as in a spicy version. The beef was super flavourful and tender.
Kuma Chirashi Tartare has balsamic spicy aburi tuna, assorted sashimi served on sushi rice, avocado dressing and garnished with tenkatsu and yam flakes. Taking the first few bites, I didn’t wow me like how Miku’s chirashi tart. The heaviness from the spicy tuna sauce over powered the rest of the layers underneath.
Assorted sashimi was served in an ice cold bowl. Chef Kim chose an assortment from like ika, tuna, hamachi, and sockeye salmon. Very cool presentation and the sashimi tasted great.
Kuma Seafood Champon has noodles in hearty tomato seafood soup. Simmered with assorted pan-fried vegetables, chilli oils, and chilli powder. A good amount of seafood inside and the broth was very good and flavourful. Not too spicy. It’s a pretty big portion, so it can be sharable.
Assorted Aburi Nigiri has Hamachi and Amaebi. The assortment was all presented on one plate.
The aburi amaebi is seared with some sauce on the top. A good sear
The deep fried shrimp heads were ok
The aburi hamachi was pretty good, but could have used a but more char to it.
Overall, a very diverse menu, but still their aburi doesn’t hit the mark as Miku does. Kuma does make it their own style and doesn’t compare. The dishes I thought were pretty outstanding are the dishes with more of a Korean flavour profile like the Kuma Seafood Champon and the Osso Buco.
We Rate Kuma Izakaya:
233 Hamilton Street, Vancouver