Kura Kura, which is a nice contemporary dining area behind a defunct pub, was reassuringly busy but we got one of the two spare tables for two left. The pub used to be the Tap and Spile and then the White Horse and it is closed down but not fully closed off. It was depressing to see the gloomy insides with the glow of the streetlights casting shadows over spare tables and chairs, and other items the management had decided to store in there. In my opinion they would benefit from building a partition to hide it from view but judging from the state of the unheated toilets they don’t have the money to spare. On the floor of the mens room was a puddle I didn’t want to examine too closely and one of the two sinks was out of order. I wondered how long it had been like that.
We had visited Revolution and the White Hart for some ‘very cherry’ blank canvas (build your own) vodka cocktails and some Heineken respectively and perhaps due to the alcohol Siggy said we should go back to Kura Kura so that I could blog about it. Taking one for the team it seems. A previous visit in 2015 ago gave rise to this review on TripAdvisor, but Siggy was left very much underwhelmed and so this constituted our first visit back there.
Apart from the phantom limb of the dead pub the other negative was the slow service. This I think was mostly due to them only having four serving staff on, they maybe needed one or two more given how busy it was.
A positive (please man give us a positive!) was the good vibe in the restaurant with a good mix of old folk, students and ethnicities. The food was well presented on nice plates and bowls, and the staff that were present were friendly once we had their attention. They also, perhaps because they were able to piggyback the pub system, had a few beers on draught. I opted for Guinness for a change and found that it well down very well indeed, Siggy opted for Singapore Tiger so called on the menu to perhaps avoid confusion with a local brew popular in this neck of the woods also called Tiger and brewed by Everards.
So onto the food. The menu had changed since last and I feel not for the better. It seemed longer and leaning more towards traditional Chinese, Singaporean and Thai dishes that you can mostly find in a lot of other restaurants in Loughborough. So no unique selling point imo. There was a good selection of noodle, rice, seafood and noodle soup options on the menu. But like I said, less Japanese stuff than previous leaning towards Chinese.
The Thai crackers were on a par with the Thai Grand. I had the hairy prawns for starter as they were recommended to me a while ago by a work colleague. The menu has something like this to say about them ‘These will redefine how you look at Kura Kura’ A bold claim, but actually correct as Kura Kura has dropped down in my opinions. For me there was too much of the kateffi and a little too much prawn shell hidden inside. It was very dry and quite greasy – in need of a sweet chilli dipping sauce. Why have shell hidden underneath the edible coating and also I noticed that the black spinal line of the prawns had not been cleaned away properly from at least three of the prawns.
For my main course I chose the Pad Thai with optional spicy sauce. The vermicelli noodles were overcooked and therefore rather glutinous but the sauce was tasty and had a good chilli kick to it. However, The Basin (also in Loughborough) wins the prize for the best Paf Thai because of the freshness and good proportions of ingredients they use. At Kura Kura I only noticed that they had included little dried prawns on my last mouthful. Also serving the king prawns with their tail shell still on was an unnecessary pain.
Siggy opted for a chicken and butternut squash dish which I assumed would be stir fry but came looking more like a shallow soup. She said it was tasty with a nice kick to it. The sticky rice was not hard or chewy to begin with but got tougher as it cooled and wasn’t a patch on the rice at the Thai Grand.
The desserts menu was uninspiring almost like an afterthought so we didn’t bother. Perhaps we had made some poor choices but really shouldn’t every dish be as good as the next? This was really disappointingly mediocre.
We went across town to Sonny’s Street Food for pudding – a couple of big satisfying slices of carrot cake with light filling, some desiccated coconut in the mix and a hint of ginger. I had an iced green tea with milk and Siggy had a tall latte to wash it down. Before I started this blog I also reviewed Sonny’s Street Food on TripAdvisor. Despite it’s inauspicious setting, after tonight, I’d probably recommend Sonny’s over Kura Kura. However, we then popped along to the Thai Grand to book for Valentines and that really should tell you all you need to know about where my heart lies in terms of this kind of food.